Frozen Peas is the colloquial term for a blooper audio clip in which American filmmaker Orson Welles performs narration for a series of British television advertisements for Findus. The clip is known informally as In July, or Yes, Always, based on several of Welles's complaints during the recording.
The British Film Institute database lists the titles "Findus: Lincolnshire (Peas)", "Findus: Sweden" and "Findus: Far West", all dated 1970, and attributed to the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. It can thus be presumed that the session took place in 1970, at a British recording studio.
BFI also lists four more 1970 Findus advertisements with place names: "France", "Highlands", "Normandy and "Shetland". These may be part of the same series, and possibly also voiced by Welles.
It is not known whether a complete recording of the session exists (since, for example, the "multiple takes" Welles alludes to are not contained on the circulated recording, and the recording transitions between different commercials). It is also not known whether film copies of the final advertisements exist in the BFI National Archive.
Part I: In July
Orson Welles: "We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire, where Mrs. Buckley lives. Every July, peas grow there." Do you really mean that?
Director 1: Uh, yes, so in other words, I—I—I'd start half a second later.
Welles: Don't you think you really want to say "July" over the snow? Isn't that the fun of it?
D 1: It's—if—if you can (laughs) if you can make it almost when that shot disappears, it'll make more—
Welles: I think it's so nice that—that you see a snow-covered field and say "every July peas grow there." (jump cut) "We know a remote farm in Lincolnshire, where Mrs. Buckley lives. Every July, peas grow there." We aren't even in the fields, you see? (pause) We're talking about them growing and she's picked them. (clears throat) What?
D 1: . . . in July.
Welles: I don't understand you, then. When must—what must be over for "July"?
D 1: Uh, when we get out of that snowy field—
Welles: Well, I was out! We were onto a can of peas, a big dish of peas when I said "in July".
D 1: Oh, I'm sorry, Orson.
Welles: Yes, always. I'm always—past that!
D 1: You are?
Welles: Yes! Wh—that's about where I say "in July".
Director 2: Can you emphasize a bit "in"? "In July".
Welles: Why? That doesn't make any sense. Sorry. There's no known way of saying an English sentence in which you begin a sentence with "in" and emphasize it. Get me a jury and show me how you can say "in July" and I'll . . . go down on you. That's just idiotic, if you'll forgive me by saying so.
D 2: (indistinct chatter)
Welles: That's just stupid. "In July"?! I'd love to know how you emphasize "in" in "in July". Impossible! Meaningless!
D 1: I think all they were thinking about was that they didn't want to—
Welles: He isn't thinking.
D 1: Orson, can we just do one last time—
D 1: . . . and it was my fault. I should—I said "in July". If you could leave "every July"—
Welles: You didn't say it. He said it.
D 1: . . . I said "every July".
Welles: Your friend. "Every July"?
D 1: . . . so after this shot—
Welles: No, you don't really mean "every July"?
D 1: . . . it is, but it's—
Welles: But that's—that's bad copy. It's in July. Of course it's every July! (jump cut) There's too much directing around here.
Part Two: Fish Fingers
Welles: Norway. Fish finger, nor, Findus, Norway. "We know a certain fjord in Norway, near where the cod gather in great shoals. There, Jan Stan—Stangdilan." Shit!
D 1: A fraction more on the—on that shoals thing, 'cause you rolled it round very nicely.
Welles: Yeah, roll it round and I have no more time. You don't know what I'm up against. Because it's full of—of—of things that are only correct because they're grammatical, but they're tough on the ear. You see, this is a very wearying one, it's unpleasant to read. Unrewarding. "Because Findus freeze the cod at sea and then add a crumb, crisp . . ." Ooh, "crumb, crisp coating."
D 1: (indistinct chatter)
Welles: Ah, that's tough. "Crumb, crisp coating."
D 2: (indistinct chatter)
Welles: I think, no, because of the way it's written, you need to break it up because it's not—it's not as conversationally written. What?
D 1: Take "crumb" out.
D 2: (sounds like) That's the word.
Welles: Take "crumb" out. Good.
Part Three: Beef Burgers
Welles: Here under protest is "beef burgers." (jump cut) "We know a little place in the American Far West, where Charlie Briggs chops up the finest prairie-fed beef and takes . . ." This is a lot of shit, you know that? You want one more?
D 2: I do, actually—
Welles: More on (unintelligible)?
D 1: You—you missed the first "beef", actually completely.
Welles: What do you mean, missed it?
D 1: You—you're emphasizing "prairie-fed"—
Welles: But you can't emphasize "beef", that's like he's wanting me to emphasize "in" before "July". Come on, fellas, you're losing your heads! I wouldn't direct any living actor like this in Shakespeare! The way you do this, it's impossible!
D 1: Orson, you did six last year, and by far and away the best, and I know the—the reason—
Welles: The right reading for this is the one I'm giving it!
D 1: For the moment.
Welles: I spent twenty times more for you people than any other commercial I've ever made. You are such pests! Now, what is it you want?
D 1: Now, I think—
Welles: In your depths of your ignorance, what is it you want? Whatever it is you want, I can't deliver it because I just don't see it.
D 1: That was absolutely fine, it really was.
Welles: Here, you— (crumples script, stands up) This isn't worth it. No money is worth listening to . . . (leaves studio)
The tape has been parodied many times, often used in conjunction when parodying Welles. The most notable parody is from animated series Animaniacs; an entire cartoon featuring Pinky and the Brain was titled "Yes, Always" and featured a near-verbatim staging of the entire scene (all profanities replaced by family-friendly material, e.g., "...and I'll make cheese for you" in place of "...and I'll go down on you"), with Brain playing the part of Welles and Pinky as the director. This sketch can be found on the Animaniacs Volume 3 DVD collection. Brain's voice-actor, Maurice LaMarche, well known for his Welles impression, is known to parody the "frozen peas" tape before recording sessions as a warm up; his parody can be heard in the special features of Comic Book: The Movie.
Another version portrayed in The Critic features Welles, voiced by LaMarche, whispering "Rosebud" a la Citizen Kane before the shot pans out to reveal Welles at a table, with a plate of Rosebud Frozen Peas he is advertising. After reading his lines, describing the peas as "full of country goodness and green peaness," he becomes disgusted and walks off, taking a handful of peas with him and eating them. In another episode, Welles is upset over having to read a living will, and begins making endorsements for "Mrs. Pell's Fish Sticks" instead, eating them and declaring that "they're even better raw". He even appears later as a ghostly apparition to Margo Sherman to continue promoting and eating the fish sticks, declaring that "they're even better when you're dead".
Another parody of the tape appeared in a skit on the Canadian sketch comedy show SCTV, where Welles, played by John Candy, is hired by Liberace, played by Dave Thomas, for a Christmas storytelling. Welles is frequently distracted by the TV crew and finally, he gets up and walks off, quoting "You people are pests! No money is worth...!"
Yet another animated example portrayed by LaMarche comes from the 2010 Futurama episode "Lrrreconcilable Ndndifferences." Welles (as a head in a jar) agrees to recreate his famous War of the Worlds broadcast for Lrrr and the Planet Express crew, but complains on-air about obvious plot holes in the script.
Will Ferrell's bookend segments in the miniseries The Spoils of Babylon, as Eric Jonrosh (a Welles lookalike), feature Jonrosh breaking from the script frequently to complain of inane language and berate the unseen crew.
The experimental music group Negativland incorporated "frozen peas" in its entirety in the track "Jolly Green Giant", a collage also featuring sound effects and other archival recordings of commercials in production phase. The track appears on their 1998 EP Happy Heroes.
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: LINCOLNSHIRE (PEAS) (1970)
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: SWEDEN (1970)
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: FAR WEST (1970)
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: FRANCE (1970)
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: HIGHLANDS (1970)
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: NORMANDY (1970)
- BFI | Film & TV Database | FINDUS: SHETLAND (1970)
- "War of the Welles: Seven Actors Who’ve Played Orson". IFC. 2009-11-26. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Thompson, Luke Y. (2012-06-20). "Futurama’s Multi-Voiced Maurice LaMarche Gets Wordy with Us". Nerdist Industries. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Lawson, Tim; Persons, Alisa (2004). The Magic Behind the Voices: A Who's Who of Cartoon Voice Actors. University Press of Mississippi. p. 208. ISBN 1578066956. Retrieved 2014-02-08.
- Monty Python: The Bishop of Leicester