#2. Michael Vale Is ...
Sam Breakstone of Breakstone's Cottage Cheese and Sour Cream
I don't expect many of you to remember this commercial. Even though it carried into the '80s, it's still a hazy childhood memory to me, but the Sam Breakstone commercials were a big deal. This successful ad campaign went on for years and years -- actor Michael Vale portrayed a demanding dairy chef who would not compromise his principles. Check out this one (also featuring a young Jeffrey Tambor a good 25 years before Arrested Development):
Or this one, when the ad campaign was still going 11 years later:
So that's Sam Breakstone: super pissed off all the time, and so insanely Jewish that they show this commercial to recovering neo-Nazis convicted of hate crimes to test their rehabilitation before parole.
... But He's Also Dunkin' Donuts' Fred the Baker
So even though Sam Breakstone was first, when Michael Vale started portraying Fred the Baker in the insanely popular "Time to make the donuts" commercials for Dunkin' Donuts, new Sam Breakstone commercials were still being made. Think about that. He was portraying two commercial mascots simultaneously, and no one said, "Hey, what the fuck?!"
Do you think Flo from the Progressive commercials could also play like a sexy blonde stewardess for Virgin Airlines and make you forget about her other persona? It's a shockingly bizarre achievement, and it's not like Vale was some nondescript guy. He had a very distinct look. But somehow, by personifying wrath as Sam Breakstone and defeated integrity in Fred the Baker, no one got distracted.
#1. Joe Turkel Is ...
Lloyd the Bartender from The Shining ...
Stanely Kubrick's 1980 film The Shining is one of the most famous horror movies of all time. Of all the freaky images in this classic, one stands out:
OK, fine, yes, the intimation of ghosts having gay BDSM furry sex is probably it, but second on the list would have to be ...
OK, fine, yes, the shower witch, but everyone would have to agree that one of the creepiest iconic scenes is when Jack Nicholson has a whole delusional conversation with the ghostly Lloyd the Bartender. Lloyd scared the crap out of me as a kid. I think it's because, in the hands of Joe Turkel, the character seems simultaneously subservient and patronizing: "I will serve you, sir, but you know you're not fooling anyone, and if I so choose, I will end you."
... But He's Also Mr. Tyrell from Blade Runner
Even though I'd seen The Shining and Blade Runner multiple times apiece, I never realized that Turkel, our old friend Lloyd the Bartender, also played the world's greatest biogeneticist, Dr. Eldon Tyrell. And it's not due to any shocking makeup or costume change. The movies are only two years apart, and the only difference in wardrobe is a pair of thick prescription glasses.
The difference is all in Turkel's demeanor. While he is physically imposing vis-a-vis Jack Nicholson, he shrinks in the presence of Rutger Hauer. While he successfully conveys Tyrell's omnipotence intellectually, even as a child I remember feeling distinctly uncomfortable about how Tyrell was less than a man physically. He was a mere insect in the presence of Rutger Hauer's Roy, which makes sense, because Hauer certainly does crush him like one.
But it's a testament to Turkel's acting. With no difference in makeup, and just the addition of glasses, he is a whole other man, fully able to transform into two separate characters completely distinct from each other even though neither character is particularly over the top or extreme. Bravo. And the industry would reward Turkel for all his hard work by bestowing upon him the treasured role of "creepy janitor" in an episode of Boy Meets World!
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