10 celebrity cameos in classic video game ads

Before Breaking Bad returns on August 11, you owe it to yourself to watch Bryan Cranston hawk Mega Force for the Atari 2600.

Before many actors become world famous, they pay the bills with TV commercials. YouTube channel "DigthatBoxRETRO" has compiled a huge list of ads featuring celebrities and athletes pitching video games from the 1970s and early 1980s. We've compiled a list of our favorites -- subscribe to the DigThatBox YouTube channel to view the entire compilation.


This slideshow "10 celebrity cameos in classic video game ads" originally appeared on ITworld.

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Bryan Cranston - Mega Force Atari 2600

Long before he was Breaking Bad, Emmy Award winner Bryan Cranston can be seen here playing the new Mega Force game for the Atari 2600.

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Leonard Nimoy - Odyssey 2

Leonard Nimoy has done several commercial spots since playing Mister Spock on Star Trek, so it's no surprise to hear him narrate a commercial for the Odyssey 2 video game system (a competitor to the Atari 2600.

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Phil Hartman - Activision Ice Hockey

Phil Hartman is best known for his roles on Saturday Night Live and Newsradio, but before he got hi big break on TV he was doing many commercials, including this one for Activision's Ice Hockey. He also did an ad for the Philips CD-I console in the '90s.

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Paul Rudd - Super Nintendo

Actor Paul Rudd is known for being in movies like "Clueless" and "Anchorman", but as a young actor he appeared in this ad for the Super Nintendo video game system.

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Jack Black - Pitfall

Known for his crazy roles in "School of Rock" and "Kung Fu Panda", a very young Jack Black can be seen in this ad for the video game Pitfall by Activision.

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Joey Lawrence - Smurf for ColecoVision

Another child actor who got his start in TV commercials, Joey Lawrence ("Blossom") can be seen here at the end of this commercial for the Smurf video game for the ColecoVision game system.

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Peter Billingsley - Cosmic Ark

The "kid from A Christmas Story", Peter Billingsley was another child actor who did TV commercials (he was also very famous in Hershey's Syrup commercials as "Messy Marvin"). In this one, Billingsley plays Cosmic Ark for the Atari 2600.

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Christian Bale - Pac-Man cereal

Technically, this ad is hawking cereal and not a video game. But it's Pac-Man, so it counts. It also features future Batman actor Christian Bale as one of the dancers.

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John Madden - Wizard of Wor

Hall of Fame football coach John Madden is synonymous with video game culture - the Madden series of football games is the gold standard. But Madden also pitched other video games, such as this one for Wizard of Wor (he also appeared in classic Miller Lite beer ads in the '70s, too).

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Carol Channing and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - Atari

Atari had several celebrities appearing in a bunch of different ads. The most bizarre was this one, featuring Broadway star Carol Channing ("Hello, Dolly") and basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, although they don't appear together. Other Atari ads featured Pete Rose, Don Knotts and soccer star Pele.