News / Arts & Entertainment

'Breaking Bad' Ends, but Albuquerque Hopes High Lasts

Limousine tour guide Harold Davis is dressed as "Breaking Bad" character Walter White, as Albuquerque tourists officials get ready for an event celebrating the premiere of the final season of AMC's TV series, Aug. 9, 2013.
Limousine tour guide Harold Davis is dressed as "Breaking Bad" character Walter White, as Albuquerque tourists officials get ready for an event celebrating the premiere of the final season of AMC's TV series, Aug. 9, 2013.
Reuters
As fans readied to see how chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin Walter White would meet his end in the tense finale of “Breaking Bad” on Sunday night, one Albuquerque donut maker had a rush of customers on her hands.
 
“It was insane,” said Carrie Mettling, the co-owner of the city's Rebel Donut chain, which sold $10,000 worth of its blue frosted and crystal rock candy-slathered “blue sky” donuts in the hours before showtime. “Our sales were probably quadruple what they are on a normal Sunday.”
 
The local business is among many in the wake of the runaway success of AMC's “Breaking Bad” - a show both set and produced in Albuquerque, New Mexico - whose profit margins have been so good lately they are almost criminal.
 
The chain, whose donuts are named for Walt's top-notch “blue sky” methamphetamine, is among several Albuquerque businesses that have felt a rush to their bottom line with the success of the Emmy-winning show
 
The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.
x
The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.
The cast from AMC's series "Breaking Bad" poses backstage with their awards for Outstanding Drama Series at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, Sept. 22, 2013.
“Breaking Bad” has enjoyed a surge in viewers in the past year, as an average of 5.2 million people tuned into the last half of the fifth and final season to see cancer-stricken Walt complete his metamorphosis from a mild-mannered high school teacher to the murderous drug kingpin known as Heisenberg.
 
Love for the gritty drama triggered a tourism surge in Albuquerque and has helped several niche businesses.
 
Bakers, candy makers, tour operators and even a spa that produces bath salts in the city have done a roaring trade in products they have cooked up to meet the growing demand from an influx of “Breaking Bad” fans from across the United States, Europe and Asia.
 
“Business now is crazy good,” said Albuquerque spa products firm owner Keith West-Harrison, who began manufacturing Bathing Bad bath salts with his partner to pay for the renovation of the vacant building they bought for their skin products business.
 
“In order to pay for this renovation, we asked ourselves 'What would Walter White do?' We decided meth probably wasn't good for us, because we're not chemists, we know that it blows things up and smells bad ... so we decided bath salts were better,” he said.
 
After a tentative start turning out bath salt batches in a gallon bucket, the partners now use a cement mixer to churn out batches of 50 pounds (22.7 kilos) at a time, which sell well across the United States and in 19 countries, in show-themed plastic baggies.
 
Limo tours
 
Also cashing in on “Breaking Bad” is Debbie Ball, the owner of the Candy Lady store in old town Albuquerque. Ball made rock candy that was used as a stand-in for Walt's meth during two seasons of the show, and which she now sells to tourists in “dollar dime bags.”
 
“We like to have fun with it; it's such a bad subject,” said Ball, who reckons she has sold 35,000 to 40,000 bags in just over a year. She also runs a limousine tour taking fans to locations from the program, including White's home, although she said the owner has now tired of the procession of visitors beating a path to the front door
 
Sunday's final episode was watched by 10.3 million viewers as Walt, played by Bryan Cranston, tied up the loose ends of his crumbling drug empire and died from a bullet wound just as the police finally caught up with him. But while Walt's death spelled the end of the hit show, local business owners are optimistic the commercial high will last.
 
“We still watch 'The Sopranos' reruns, we still watch 'Sex and the City.' Those have been going on for years,” said West-Harrison, who now has three generations of his family churning out bath salts upstairs at the business. “So I'm thinking it's going to have a staying power.”
 
Mettling first baked the blue donuts as a gift for Aaron Paul, the actor who played Walt's drug partner Jesse Pinkman, at the show's wrap party last year. She now sells them at an Albuquerque building used as a location for the Drug Enforcement Administration office in the show, and is also upbeat despite the show's conclusion.
 
“Albuquerque fell in love with that show, and I will not have a problem keeping that donut on the menu,” she told Reuters. “It's got some longevity.”
 
Ball agrees, pointing out that the final series has not yet aired in all global markets and that a spinoff series is in the works.
 
“The business is not going to go away just because the show has ended. There's too many fans, and it's not going stop any time soon. I'm going to continue

You May Like

Ebola Death Toll Nears 5,000 as Virus Advances

West Africa bears heaviest burden; Mali toddler’s death raises new fears More

Jordan’s Battle With Islamic State Militants Carries Domestic Risks

There are Western concerns Islamic State militants soon may unleash offensive in kingdom that could create upheaval - though nation has solid intel, grip on banking system More

Asian-Americans Enter Public Office in Record Numbers

A steady deepening engagement in local politics pays off for politicians like Chinese-American Judy Chu More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Joe Taylor sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his distinction as New York’s “Subway Idol,” and how he beat out thousands for that title. Joe performs several songs from his new CD, “Anything’s Possible.”