Before she ever worked on a feature film, Julianne Moore -- star of the upcoming horror/supernatural thriller 'Shelter' -- had a major role in the soap opera 'As the World Turns.' From 1985 to 1988, she inhabited the dual roles of Frannie Hughes and her mysterious British identical half-sister Sabrina, winning a Daytime Emmy for her work. She also appeared in a few TV movies.

So, the actress wasn't completely new to the small screen when she was featured in a commercial for Time-Life Books' 'Mysteries of the Unknown' circa 1988 (the 33-volume series was published from 1987 to 1991). The wildly popular books each tackled some aspect of the paranormal, including 'Alien Encounters,' 'Hauntings' and 'Mystic Places,' long before ghost-hunting reality shows became common television fare.
Unlike most mail-order ads, these commercials were serious in tone and artfully composed, with swooping camera angles and dramatic piano music twinkling in the background. In the spot below, ostensibly "regular" people speak about their brushes with the paranormal or skepticism about unseen forces. A young, fluffy-haired Moore begins by recollecting an out-of-body experience and closes it with the classic line, "I never thought I would believe in it until it happened to me."

The ads obviously worked, as 'Mysteries of the Unknown' broke all of Time-Life Books' previous sales records. As for Moore, after a few more TV movies, she would break into features with a small role as a real estate agent in 1992's 'The Hand That Rocks the Cradle' and never had to shill as an unknown actress again. (Her more recent Revlon spokesmodelship is a whole other story.)
categories Features, Cinematical