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Bryan Cranston: Before He Was Famous

The Season 2 premiere of AMC's award-winning drama Breaking Bad is fast approaching, and with it comes a remarkable amount of publicity about leading man Bryan Cranston. Last year he won an Emmy for his role of Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and must turn to cooking and dealing methamphetamines in order to make big money for his young family before he dies, but Cranston's been gracing the small screen ever since he showed up on an episode of ChiPs in 1982. You probably know him as Hal from Malcolm in the Middle (for which he was nominated for multiple Emmys), or as Dr. Tim Whatley the questionable dentist from Seinfeld, or even as Buzz Aldrin on the 1998 HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. But there's one series Cranston appeared on early in his career that may surprise you...

Airwolf! That's right, the 1980s CBS series about the supersonic military helicopter crew and its wacky adventures. Bryan Cranston appeared in a 1986 episode called "Desperate Monday," in which he played a jilted lover who hijacks a sorority reunion cruise but is unable to handle it when the kidnapping plot results in murder. Though Cranston would go on to guest star in a huge number of series before finally landing a regular spot on Malcolm in the Middle, Airwolf certainly holds a special place in his heart. Why? He met his current wife, actress Robin Dearden, on the set! She plays one of the hostages, though not the woman with whom his character is romantically entangled.

Watch him explain the situation to his terrified hostages, with a very humorous but unidentifiable accent:

Of course, things go horribly awry after a helicopter chase involving the Airwolf helicopter herself (piloted by Ernest Borgnine!). Cranston is left to cradle his brother's body and await his fate:

Already caught up on Season 1 of Breaking Bad? Watch the entire episode on Hulu, and relive Bryan Cranston's younger days as a reluctant terrorist...fitting practice for his later career as a reluctant drug lord, if we do say so ourselves.

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