PETER SELLERS FOR TWA

The great Peter Sellers picked up a little bread and butter cash doing a series of ads for TWA in the mid-seventies and the first of the above posted ads, where he plays an Italian ‘Via Veneto or Bust’ swinger, was one of my favorite ads of my childhood. This was around the time of the re-emeregence of the ‘Pink Panther’ as a movie series beginning with 1975s ‘Return Of The Pink Panther’–hard to understand why the series had lain dormant for a decade. Also at this time Sellers, who’d been appearing in increasingly obscure European films over the previous few years and had developed a rep for seriously bizarre behavior, started appearing more frequently on talk shows and in public. Perhaps he emerged from a depression of some sort. Or perhaps a good manager had his ear and convinced him to make himself a little more accessible, more user-friendly. I don’t know. But this was the Sellers that delighted me as a kid, though he was apparently just as menacingly strange and mercurial in private (and to work with apparently) as he’d always been. ‘The Ghost Of Peter Sellers’, a documentary about the making of the catastrophic ‘Ghosts In The Noonday Sun’, is a must-watch for both Sellers fans and for anyone interested in the filmmaking process–it’s impossible to explain how wrong things can go on a movie without witnessing it either firsthand or hearing it from the mouths of the filmmakers themselves. The doc was directed by Peter Medak, the director (and survivor) of ‘GITNS’, and the emotional toll the whole disaster took on him is still all too evident fifty years afterward.

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