Orson Welles

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Orson Welles

Signed Bank Check to Brown Derby Restaurant - 1956

Signed bank check drawn on Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles, deposit-dated December 26, 1956, payable to the Brown Derby Restaurant for $35.00. The famed Brown Derby Restaurant was the place in Hollywood to see and be seen. Orson Welles, indeed most of Hollywood in its golden era, spent much time doing both. The walls of the restaurant were adorned with hundreds of caricatures of movie stars and other celebrities, many of them signed by the subject. Check is entirely handwritten by Welles. In excellent condition.

Brown Derby Welles and Chaplin
Orson Welles at the Brown Derby with Charlie Chaplin in 1947

The Brown Derby was the name of a chain of restaurants in the Los Angeles area. The first and most famous of these was shaped like a man’s derby hat, an iconic image that became synonymous with the Golden Age of Hollywood. Opened in 1926, the original restaurant at 3427 Wilshire Boulevard, across the street from the popular Hollywood hot spot the Cocoanut Grove at the Ambassador Hotel, remains the most famous due to its distinctive shape. Whimsical architecture was popular at the time, and the restaurant was designed to catch the eye of passing motorists.

Brown Derby Restaurant

ORSON WELLES (1915-1985) was an Academy Award-winning American director, writer, actor and producer for film, stage, radio and television. Welles first gained wide notoriety for his October 30, 1938, radio broadcast of H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Adapted to sound like a contemporary news broadcast, it caused a number of listeners to panic. In the mid-1930s, his New York theatre adaptations of an all-black voodoo Macbeth and a contemporary allegorical Julius Caesar became legendary. Welles was also an accomplished magician, starring in troop variety spectacles in the war years. During this period he became a serious political activist and commentator through journalism, radio and public appearances closely associated with Franklin D. Roosevelt. In 1941, he co-wrote, directed, produced and starred in Citizen Kane, often chosen in polls of film critics as the greatest film ever made.