Ceiling Unlimited

Orson Welles completed more projects before his thirtieth birthday that most of us ever will. And his endeavors were quite varied in scope. In addition to creating a series of travel documentaries on South America, Hello, Americans, Welles got in touch with the airplane manufacturer Lockheed and Vega and developed a series of radio vignettes to be sponsored by the company.

The resulting series was Ceiling Unlimited, which focused primarily on the role of airplanes in the war effort. Welles hosted the series from Nov. of ‘42 ‘til Feb. of ‘43. After that, a long series of guest hosts took their turn: Ronald Colman, Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant and more.

In all, Welles hosted thirteen episodes. During rehearsal for one, an account exec from an advertising agency dropped in. Witnessing Welles dashing around in a near-fury, barking orders at everyone, the exec asked Welles’ business partner, Jackson Leighter, “how do you handle this man Welles?” Orson’s reply was “young man, you handle horses!”


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