Wilkins and Wontkins (partially lost series of Jim Henson commercials; 1957-1969)
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 Lost|
|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|
|8||Calso Water||1961||8||Partially Found|
|9||Frank's Beverages||1961-1963||7||Partially Lost|
|10||Kraml Dairy||1962||18||Partially Found|
|11||Merita Bread||1963||6||Partially Found|
|14||Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio)||1960||Unknown||Partially Found|
|15||National City Bank||1960's?||Unknown||Lost|
There are selected commercials playing in certain exhibitions, including The Center for Puppetry Arts, and the Jim Henson exhibition, Imagination Unlimited.
Out of the 179 Wilkins Coffee commercials, only 135 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.
On June 26, 2020, YouTuber KermiClown uploaded a large collection of Wilkins commercials, including all the ads for Taystee Bread and Dugan's Bread.
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.
- Compilation featuring a newly discovered Wilkins Coffee commercial.
- A MEGA folder containing all known commercials (as of June 24 2020).
- Defunctland's DefunctTV video covering the commercials along with Sam and Friends as part of a 6-part retrospective on Jim Henson. Retrieved 31 Dec '19