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Way Back When: Bruce Willis

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Bruce Willis made himself a household name as the ass-kicking John McClane in 1988′s ‘Die Hard,’ and he’s been a presence on the big screen ever since. In today’s Way Back When, we take you back to a time before you knew Bruce Willis’ face.

Levi’s Jeans Commercial

Way back in 1984, Bruce Willis and ‘Seinfeld‘ star Jason Alexander were in this commercial for Levi’s 501 jeans — and it is perhaps the most bizarre commercial we’ve ever seen. It starts out reasonably: here’s a bunch of normal dudes of various walks of life, strutting their stuff in some Levi’s jeans. The song playing declares that if you’ve got a “hard to please woman” you should get some Levi’s 501 jeans and it will solve all of your problems. That’s silly enough. Then you see Bruce Willis in an obnoxious yellow jacket dancing down the street — hilarious! But then the last guy in the commercial, who is leaning against a street wall like some cool gangster or whatever, walks away from the wall as the music dies down and reveals this weird painting of what appears to be a shadow monster. Harmless jean commercial or horror movie? You decide:

‘The Twilight Zone’

In this 1985 episode of the ‘Twilight Zone‘ TV series, Willis plays Peter Novins in the segment “Shatterday,” directed by master of horror Wes Craven. No offense to Willis personally, but it’s not so much of a stretch to imagine him as a jerk — he plays the part quite well. The concept of the segment is creepy as hell, too: Peter Novins calls his house only to hear himself answer on the end — cue suspenseful music!

‘Moonlighting’

Of all of Willis’ early roles, ‘Moonlighting’ is hardly a hidden gem. If you’re of a certain age, or if you watched TV with your parents, or if you’re just a pop culture nerd, then you are totally aware of how awesome ‘Moonlighting’ was. From 1985 to 1989, Willis starred with Cybill Sheppard in this show about an ex-model and a wise-cracking detective who run a private detective agency together. Willis proved many things during his time on the show, namely that he’s a great dancer, an awesome singer, and though we might know him more as a bad-ass, the guy is great with comedy:

‘The Return of Bruno’

Speaking of Willis’ singing skills, how many of you remember that time in the late ’80s when he released an album and accompanying TV movie titled ‘The Return of Bruno’? From that era, we are pleased to present this music video for “Respect Yourself.” Yes, this is a thing that really happened:

Seagram’s Wine Coolers Commercial

And the singing doesn’t stop there. In 1987, Willis and his crooning starred in this commercial for Seagram’s Golden Wine Coolers — they’re wet and they’re dry! How can this be?! What alcoholic beverage sorcery is this?!

next: see seth rogen before he was famous

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