WASHINGTON — The porkpie hat worn by Bryan Cranston’s menacing antihero, Walter White, in the Sony Pictures Television series “Breaking Bad” has been donated to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. So you’d think Cranston would send shivers through the audience when he donned the “Heisenberg” Monday during a ceremony in honor of Sony’s gift.

Well, not exactly. “This character changed my life,” said Cranston with a smile.

He was joined by numerous members of the cast, “Breaking Bad” creator and executive producer Vince Gilligan, Sony Pictures Television Chairman Steve Mosko and other Sony executives for the occasion.

The props, which include the two Tyvek suits and gas masks used by Walt and Aaron Paul’s Jesse Pinkman in their lab, will join the museum’s extensive collection of showbiz artifacts that include Archie Bunker’s chair, Fonzie’s Jacket and Dorothy’s shoes. They will go on display in 2018 as part of a large exhibit on American culture at the facility on the National Mall.

“We approached Sony because we felt the show made a real impact on American society, especially with how it dealt with the issue of society’s ambivalence,” said Dwight Bowers, the museum’s entertainment curator. He said a three-year courtship of Sony execs ultimately convinced them that the items belong there.

“To come back here to be part of a gift to the Smithsonian is just incredible,” said Mosko, who visited the D.C. museums every year growing up and joined Sony’s contribution of the “puffy shirt” from “Seinfeld.” That comment was seconded by cast members Paul and Jonathan Banks, who savored the unofficial cast party.

Cranston, cornered after the event, said he is thrilled with his new project for Amazon, “Sneaky Pete,” which goes into production in February and air in August or September. Cranston, an exec producer on the project, said it hasn’t yet been determined how often his character, Vince, will appear in the series. But the character is the anti-hero, he said.


Sony Pictures Television Chairman Steve Mosko, Bryan Cranston, Jonathan Banks, SPT programming Presidents Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg, Aaron Paul, Vince Gilligan, Dean Norris, R.J. Mitte and Smithsonian Museum Director John Gray
Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Television