ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. » The government is shut down. There was a deadly chase in the nation’s capital. But the reason Albuquerque Journals are selling out across town has nothing to do with all that seriousness. Fans are clamoring for copies of Friday editions with a fake obit for Walter White.
Placed by "Breaking Bad" fans who said they wanted "closure" after the series finale Sunday, the notice appears on page A4 of today’s Journal. It’s headlined "White, Walter" and includes a photo of Bryan Cranston, the actor who played the chemistry teacher turned drug kingpin on the popular AMC drama filmed in Albuquerque.
The obituary says the 52-year-old "founded a meth manufacturing empire" and he died "after a long battle with lung cancer and a gunshot wound."
Journal Editor Kent Walz says his digital team reports online traffic for the White obit and a story explaining its origins is about 40 times that of a typical story, and the library says calls for copies of the paper have been nonstop.
"We won’t have single copy sales numbers until next week, but the circulation department says some locations have called saying they were out of copies and asking for more," he said. "I understand people are selling them on eBay for $7 or $8."
Walz said newspaper managers did have a discussion about whether to accept the ad.
"We decided to publish it, along with the story explaining how it came about and who submitted it," he said. "We also felt it should be not be published as part of the regular obituaries, both because it was of a TV character and out of respect for families that had lost loved ones. That explains the location on page A4."
The Journal did get one complaint, he said, "from somebody who says he had avoided knowing what happened to Walter and was going to watch the episode later. He said we ruined it for him."