Wilkins and Wontkins (partially lost series of Jim Henson commercials; 1957-1969)

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Wilkins and Wontkins.jpeg

Wilkins (right), and Wontkins (left).

Status: Partially Lost

In 1957, puppeteer Jim Henson was asked by a Washington D.C. coffee company, Wilkins Coffee, to make commercials for their company. The company only had 10 seconds of screen time, so the ads had to be lightning-speed fast. From 1957 to 1961, Jim Henson created 179 ads for Wilkins Coffee, all of which revolve around the titular characters of Wilkins and Wontkins. In each commercial, Wilkins attempts to promote Wilkins Coffee to Wontkins, who states his distaste for the product before experiencing various slapstick misfortunes-- more often than not by Wilkins's hand-- for his opinion. The popularity of these ads sparked Wilkins and Wontkins to appear in commercials for various companies (Community Coffee, Red Diamond Coffee, Faygo, etc.). The various Wilkins and Wontkins commercials were initially produced in black and white before shifting to colour in 1966. The last known Wilkins and Wontkins commercials made were for Community Coffee, made around 1969.


Companies that Wilkins and Wontkins promoted.

# Company Runtime # of ads made Status
1 Wilkins Coffee 1957-1961 179 Partially Found
2 Community Coffee 1959-1969 37 Partially Found
3 Donovan Coffee Company 1961-1966 13 Partially Found
4 Nash's Coffee 1958-1961 20 Partially Found
5 La Touraine Coffee 1958-1962 15 Partially Found
6 Martinson Coffee 1959 15 Partially Found
7 Faygo 1958-1959 10 Partially Found
8 Calso Water 1961 8 Partially Found
9 Frank's Beverages 1961-1963 7 Partially Found
10 Kraml Dairy 1962 18 Partially Found
11 Merita Bread 1963 6 Partially Found
12 Taystee Bread 1967 9 Partially Found
13 Dugan's Bread 1962-1963 3 Partially Found
14 Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) 1960 Unknown Partially Found
15 National City Bank 1960's? Unknown Lost


Out of the 179 Wilkins Coffee commercials, only 100 have been released on the internet. It is unknown how many of these commercials Jim Henson made, let alone how many ads The Jim Henson Company has stored in their archives.


A compilation of many Wilkins Coffee ads.
Wilkins Coffee commercials.
Red Diamond Coffee commercials featuring Wilkins and Wontkins.
Wilkins "Pie" commercial.
Wilkins Coffee ad.
A compilation of various commercials featuring Wilkins and Wontkins.
Community Coffee commercials.
Kraml Milk commercials.
Wilkins Coffee ad from Jim Henson documentary.
A compilation of outtakes featuring an unknown Wilkins Coffee ad.
A collection of commercials from the Jim Henson exhibition, recorded by a user named Jack Ryan Rice.
Incomplete footage of the "Trainload" ad, found from a news report of Jim Henson's death.
Another Kraml Milk advert.
Almost complete footage of the Frank's "Ship" ad.
A handful of clips of the "Cannon" commercial for Merita, Frank's, Nash's and Taystee.
Wilkin's Coffee "Mountain".


Wilkins and Wontkins commercials that can only be found in images.

Completely Lost Commericals

Commercials that are completely lost.

Nash's Coffee - Communist Store. The Wilkins version can easily be found, but the Nash's one is lost.

Wilkins Coffee - Survey. Completely lost, but the transcript is found.


Wilkins: Next question, what do you think of Wilkins Coffee? Wontkins: It's wonderful, delicious! Wilkins: You see, friends- Wontkins: Now give me the 10 bucks!

Wilkins Coffee - Traffic Court. Again, only the transcript can be found.

TRANSCRIPT: Wilkins: "Why were you speeding?" Wontkins: "I wanted a cup of coffee!" Wilkins: "Wilkins Coffee?" Wontkins: "No, just any old kind! (A rattle of keys as a prison door slams on Wontkins' face.) Wontkins: "Next time, I’ll say Wilkins!"


There are some rare commercials playing in some places. Like for example, The Center for Puppetry Arts, and the Jim Henson exhibition, Imagination Unlimited. They can be found in those places but has yet to surface online. Few of them surfaced recently.

Also See

External Links