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[edit | edit source]

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
7 Faygo 1958-1959 10 Partially Found
8 Calso Water 1961 8 Partially Found
9 Frank's Beverages 1961-1963 7 Found
10 Kraml Dairy 1962 18 Partially Found
11 Merita Bread 1963 6 Partially Found
12 Taystee Bread 1967 9 Found
13 Dugan's Bread 1962-1963 3 Found
14 Standard Oil of Ohio (Sohio) 1960 Unknown Partially Found
15 National City Bank 1960s? Unknown Lost

Availability[edit | edit source]

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 26th, 2020, YouTuber KermiClown uploaded a large collection of Wilkins commercials, including all the ads for Taystee Bread and Dugan's Bread.

Videos[edit | edit source]

A compilation of many Wilkins Coffee ads.
Wilkins Coffee commercials.
Large majority of Wilkins Coffee ads (1/2).
Large majority of Wilkins Coffee ads (2/2).
Wilkins "Pie" commercial.
All ads for Taystee Bread.
Compilation of ads for Nash's Coffee.
Compilation of ads for Merita Bread.
Compilation of ads for Frank's Beverages.
Compilation of random ads, including a rare ad for Frank's Beverages (3:44).
Compilation of ads for La Touraine Coffee.
All ads for Dugan's Bread.
Compilation of ads for Faygo.
Red Diamond Coffee commercials featuring Wilkins and Wontkins.
A compilation of various commercials featuring Wilkins and Wontkins.
Compilation of ads for Calso Water.
Compilation of Community Coffee commercials.
Kraml Milk commercials.
A compilation of outtakes featuring an unknown Wilkins Coffee ad.
Another Kraml Milk advert.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

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

Completely Lost Commericals[edit | edit source]

Commercials that are completely lost.

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

See Also[edit | edit source]

External Links[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]