If you grew up wanting every sugary cereal advertised in between Saturday morning cartoons, you might be surprised to learn that you were actually in the presence of future celebrities. It turns out A-list stars once promoted some of your favorite breakfast foods, and thanks to YouTube, you can uncover a goldmine of old-school advertisements.
Way before Breaking Bad, Aaron Paul was an angsty teen who needed his Corn Pops. And guess what? Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s true talent may be in the world of breakfast commercials. Before working with Spielberg, Drew Barrymore hung out with Snap, Crackle, and Pop. You’ll also get to see a pre-sad-performance-artist Shia LaBeouf. Read on for clips of celebrities from a much simpler time. If anything, it’ll make you appreciate how far they’ve come. And crave a big bowl of cereal, obviously.
1. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
With the briefcase and know-it-all attitude, this vintage clip of JGL promoting Pop-Tarts could double as an early audition for Inception.
2. Drew Barrymore
Important realization: Drew Barrymore wore flower crowns way before Coachella. Complete with a tiny voice and some nerves, she’s absolutely adorable in this old-school Rice Krispies ad.
3. Aaron Paul
This Corn Pops ad starring Aaron Paul is so ’90s, it hurts. He’s got frosted, spiked hair and totally ignores everything his parents are telling him. Such a rebel! But hey, he’s gotta have his Pops.
4. Keanu Reeves
The year was 1987 and a young Keanu Reeves wore a tie, danced around a dining room, and snuck a bowl of Corn Flakes off a long, fancy table. Sure.
5. Jodie Sweetin
This ad is chock-full of recognizable faces, but the Full House star stands out. And not just because she moves at hyperspeed upon learning the news about Cheerios.
6. The Jackson 5
The Jackson 5 singing about Alpha-Bits cereal is truly a match made in commercial heaven.
7. Melissa Joan Hart
Way before she was Clarissa or Sabrina, Melissa Joan Hart was Rice Krispies Girl. In a recent interview with National Monitor, she revealed, “I showed my kids [the video] and only two of them could guess that it was me. I was 6 when it came out and I was called the Rice Krispies girl for like three years.”
8. Megan Mullally & John Goodman
Will & Grace star Megan Mullally advertises McDonald’s breakfast sandwich with a sweet visor and expressive eyebrows. (And you can spot Roseanne alum John Goodman munching on a McMuffin.)
9. Jason Bateman
In case you’ve ever wondered what Jason Bateman looked like as a kid, mystery solved. This Golden Grahams ad from the ’80s features the Arrested Development actor with a bowl cut.
10. Shia LaBeouf
Before Even Stevens, a young Shia LaBeouf promoted one of the best cereals of all time: Oreo O’s.
11. Hayden Panettiere
Way before Nashville, a toddler-aged Hayden Panettiere was in this commercial for Banana Nut Crunch.
12. Tia & Tamera Mowry (+ Ben Savage)
Bringing together stars from two of the best shows from the late ’90s, Sister, Sister’s Tia and Tamera Mowry burst into song in this Frosted Cheerios ad, while Boy Meets World’s Ben Savage (a.k.a. Cory Matthews) also makes a cameo.
13. Mark-Paul Gosselaar
The Saved By the Bell actor chats with cartoon mascots in this Cookie Crisp commercial. Even early on, he had perfectly coiffed blonde hair, just like a mini Zack Morris.
14. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Part 2)
Another Joseph Gordon-Levitt commercial, you say? He clearly found his genre.