See Bryan Cranston From Breaking Bad In A ’90s Commercial For Headache Relief

Before he was angrily insisting he was the one who knocks on doors, Bryan Cranston did a lot of commercials, including for Excedrin.

By Vic Medina | Published

Bryan Cranston Excedrin

In that magical time known as the 1990s, Bryan Cranston was just another struggling actor. He had a number of tv and film credits on his resume, but he wasn’t a familiar face – yet. Like most actors, commercials provided a steady paycheck in-between gigs, and Cranston relied heavily on them before finding steady work playing Malcolm’s dad and meth kingpin Walter “Heisenberg” White. One commercial in particular, from 1994, is now circulating on the internet, and features the Bryan Cranston pitching Excedrin. See the commercial for yourself, and we’ll leave you to make your own jokes about getting headaches from cooking meth in RVs.

The now-66-year-old actor was a scruffy 38-year-old in 1994, but you could already see hints of the gravitas that Bryan Cranston would eventually bring to his Breaking Bad role and subsequent dramatic films. At the time, Bryan Cranston was actually fairly busy with TV roles and voice-over work, and it’s surprising he was able to squeeze an Excedrin commercial into all of it. According to his IMDb page, in 1994, Cranston appeared in episodes of Walker, Texas Ranger and Viper, and did voice-over work for Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie and the Macross Plus animated TV series. However, that same year, he also made his first appearance as Tim Whatley in Seinfeld, and went on to become one of the show’s fan-favorite minor characters. Six years later, he hit stardom with his role in Malcolm in the Middle, and 14 years later, he achieved pop culture immortality as Walter White. His commercials, however, remain largely unrecognized, but you can sample many of them here.

Cranston wasn’t the only Breaking Bad actor to rely on commercials to pay the bills before a breakthrough role came their way. Aaron Paul, who played meth dealer and cook Jesse Pinkman, did a number of commercials before co-starring with Bryan Cranston. His ads, however, pitched Corn Pops, Clearasil, and X-Box, as opposed to Excedrin.

It seems that interest in Bryan Cranston is peaking once again, as AMC has begun airing the final episodes of the Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul. Both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have confirmed that they will appear in the final episodes, which would provide the perfect opportunity for Excedrin to pull the Cranston commercial out of the archives and buy some ad time during the episode. In fact, the Breaking Bad characters remain so popular, that the city of Albuquerque, New Mexico (where both shows are based) recently announced they would erect bronze statues of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman. The city of Albuquerque even provides information on their official tourism website for fans who want to visit the show’s locations (or take tours around the city in an RV just like the one in the show).

These days, you won’t be seeing Bryan Cranston or any other A-list actors pitching Excedrin, but the headache medicine doesn’t need them. In fact, they’ve found a new customer base to appeal to: gamers. It’s an ingenious marketing pitch, and their Twitter account even features popular Twitch gamers promoting the product. Excedrin even set up shop at their first gamer convention recently, ready to provide relief to sleep-deprived video game connoisseurs.