Do you want to check out some of the earliest, most obscure work of your favorite television and film stars? If so, don’t bother tracking through old sitcom cast lists or movie credits from decades past. Some of the biggest stars that Hollywood has to offer actually got started, or made early advancements, by plying their skills in TV commercials. Here are some gems that you might find highly entertaining.
Tom Selleck, Right Guard
Before he put on his patented Hawaiian shirts during “Magnum, P.I.”, Selleck had to make sure that his pits stayed dry. Enter Right Guard and this classic commercial from the early 1970s.
Brad Pitt, Pringles
Pitt doesn’t really seem like much of a potato-chip eater, and significant other Angelina Jolie almost certainly wouldn’t pop open a can with him, but Brad turned out this nifty little Pringles spot before he became a sex symbol. Maybe that vacuum seal is good for your abs!
Steve Carell, Brown’s Chicken
Steve Carell wasn’t always Michael Scott, you know, and long before he hit it big, Carell hawked products like many others before and after him. In this spot, he extols the virtues of Brown’s Chicken, who specialized in cholesterol-free chicken for the fast-food set.
Keanu Reeves, Coca-Cola
In a prelude to his role in “Speed,” Keanu Reeves took advantage of the ergogenic properties of Coca-Cola for this 1980s commercial. The syrupy brown stuff apparently kept Reeves’s bicycle moving fast enough to reach his goal of becoming a big box office star.
Matt LeBlanc, Heinz Ketchup
LeBlanc became famous for playing the slow-witted Joey on “Friends,” but he got his first taste of glacial speeds in a 1987 commercial for Heinz Ketchup. Coming just on the cusp of LeBlanc’s rise in Hollywood, this ad ran well into the 1990s.
Sharon Stone, Seagram’s
Stone was just a pretty face when she filmed her Seagram’s commercial in 1987, still several years away from morphing into the full-blown bombshell that she was destined to become. Her partner for the spot was Bruce Willis, who was already well-known and on his way to becoming a blockbuster movie actor.
Ben Affleck, Burger King
Although Affleck has had it his way for most of the past two decades, he was just a fresh, unknown face when he shot an ad for Burger King in 1984. Although this commercial belies the hip image the Affleck has cultivated since, it nevertheless serves as a reminder that we all have to start somewhere.
The next time that you’re crashed in front of the TV, take note of the actors in the commercials that break up your favorite shows. Maybe someday you can look back on them, as we have here, and laugh about how corny tomorrow’s big stars seemed way back in the 2010s.