ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Everywhere you turned, Walter White was there.
White, played by Bryan Cranston, has captivated imaginations as the teacher turned mastermind meth cooker on AMC’s “Breaking Bad” for the past five seasons.
And 40 men, most of them donning a freshly shaved head, turned out to compete in the Walter White look-alike contest at the YDI Wool Warehouse on Tuesday. The winner will win a trip to the “Breaking Bad” set at Albuquerque Studios as the series films its final eight episodes, which will air in 2013.
For Albuquerque resident Michael Reese, there was a parallel between White and himself.
“I started my career as a high school chemistry teacher,” he said. “But I think that’s where the similarities end.”
Reese said he found out about the contest from his daughter, who is a big fan of the TV show.
While he’s not a regular viewer, he said he wanted to give it a go for her.
“I watched the first season and enjoyed how interesting a character Walter is,” he said. “It’s interesting to see how many people showed up and to see how this character has affected so many people.”
For the past five seasons, Cranston has made White into a character that has resonated with viewers.
Mike Chandross decided to enter the contest because he still had his Halloween costume.
Chandross donned a yellow hazmat suit, goggles and a few bags of the signature blue “meth” that White developed.
A fan of the show, Chandross said he likes the way White started off as a likeable character during the first season and has grown into a dark character.
“Walter has all of his rage and violence barely hidden beneath the surface,” he said. “If you push him, he’s going to come down on you.”
Duke City resident Joe Griffenberg, who was celebrating his birthday, said he wanted to enter the contest because he’s been told he looks like White.
“I’ve been an extra on the show, and it’s amazing to be in that atmosphere,” he said. “I actually shaved my head last night, and I can feel it’s a little colder today.”
Members of the James Douglas Show narrowed the field of 40 contestants down to 10.
That list was narrowed to five during the taping of the 100th episode of “The After After Party with Steven Michael Quezada.”
Cranston, who was the guest for the 100th episode, was to choose a winner during the taping.
Quezada said Cranston came up with the contest idea and was impressed with how many people showed up.
“Walter is a great character, and you are all standouts,” he told the crowd before judging.