Jim Henson Used to Make Very Violent Commercials

Rebecca OConnell

Prior to Jim Henson's Muppet gig, he was shilling coffee with these endearing-but-disturbing clips.

These 8 second commercials featured two characters named Wilkins and Wontkins. As per his name, Wontkins refused to drink Wilkins Coffee, so Wilkins the character responded with beatings, threats, and sometimes murder (all with a happy smile). The general idea is that turning down a cup of Wilkins Coffee is very, very bad for your well-being. What better way to sell your coffee than with intimidation and violence?

The commercials turned out to be a hit, and by 1958, vinyl puppets could be purchased for only a dollar and a coffee can label.