Wellesnet looks forward to celebrating the Centennial of Orson Welles birth in 2015
While I've already personally thanked everyone who has contributed to the drive to raise funds to keep Wellesnet alive and well on the internet, I want to take this opportunity to publicly express my thanks to Jeff Wilson for starting Wellesnet in the first place.
I can't remember exactly how Wellesnet was born, but I do recall Jeff e-mailing me when the old "Touch of Welles" message board that was based in Spain, had gotten completely out of control.
Jeff told me he thought he might like to start a new message board and Orson Welles internet site and from that point onward, Jeff established Wellesnet all by himself, until it has now become the best site about Welles on the internet. That was certainly made clear to me by the range of the many contributions I received, both great and small, over the last two weeks. What I also found very gratifying is where these contributions came from. Places from all over the globe, and in many cases from people in cities that had meant a great deal to Welles, such as Dublin, London, Copenhagen, Paris and Rome. There were also many contributions from the good old USA as well, ranging from small towns in Virginia, Iowa, Maryland and Ohio, to California and New York, as well as Canada and even from below the Mason-Dixon line, although strangely enough, nothing from Wisconsin.
In any case, I think it is important to realize that Wellesnet has certainly helped further Welles scholarship in many important ways. Just recently a Russian publisher contacted me about reaching Oja Kodar about the rights for publishing THIS IS ORSON WELLES in Russia. I was able to direct the publisher to Oja Kodar and I have just heard that Oja has concluded an agreement for a deal for the book to come out in Russia!
Likewise, Criterion's Mr. Arkadin DVD might never have appeared in a 3-disc special edition, without members of the Wellesnet messageboard pointing out that there was a "comprehensive" restored version put together in Europe that they should include in their set.
Which is why I want to thank Jeff publicly here on the site, because although he wants to move on from dealing with the day to day chores of maintaining Wellesnet, I think in spirit he will always be the "Godfather" of the site. So on behalf of everybody who has contributed and sent along messages about how much the work Jeff has done over the past ten years means to them, I'm sure he has every reason to be very proud with what he has accomplished.
Perhaps the best tribute to Jeff's work on Wellesnet has come from Orson Welles's oldest daughter, Christopher Welles Feder, who reads the site and has offered her praise for what Jeff has accomplished.
So, to quote Mr. Welles, let us raise our glasses, to Jeff Wilson, "standing, as some of us do, on opposite ends of the river and drink together to what really matters to us all—to our crazy and beloved profession. To the movies—to good movies—to every possible kind."