Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Kermit the Psychopath


This news may be tough to come to grips with, but believe it or not, everyone’s favorite amphibian once took delight in torturing and murdering another muppet. Picture if you will our little Kermie, just past tadpole stage, without his trademark collar and as slick and bald as the villain John Doe from the movie “Se7en”, starring in a series of coffee commercials where he bangs, shoots, stabs, bonks, blows up, shoots out of a canyon, and even electrocutes another hapless poor muppet just because the fellow doesn’t like Wilkins coffee!



OK, so the muppet really isn’t Kermit. Although he looks an awfully lot like a prototype of him, he’s really spokespuppet Wilkins, shilling Wilkins coffee and trying to convince his unassuming buddy Wontkins to drink it. Lest we think gratuitous muppet violence is disturbing, keep in mind that Jim Henson’s creations started out with adult appeal, often appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show. I personally LMAO watching one collection of clips after another – these brilliant 8 second spots came to be when a young Henson was commissioned by Wilkins coffee to create a series of television commercials beginning in 1957 and lasting until 1961. With such a short time to make a lasting branding impression, the spots had to be lightning quick and deliver some bang! I think that’s just what they accomplished. 179 commercials featuring Wilkins and Wontkins aired, and Wilkins coffee even offered vinyl puppet renditions to purchase, which I imagine would be collector’s items today.

Essentially these ads are saying, “Drink Wilkins coffee…or die!” They are a hoot.

Enjoy these, and I’d love to hear your comments. Now if only we could get Kermit to do some of these things to the ultra-annoying Miss Piggy…




11 comments:

  1. our kids need more of the 'old kermit' - i have to admit it, i kinda like these guys...

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  2. it's kind of weird to use puppets to push an adult product, but what do i know? poor wotkins.

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  3. I like them too Heidi.

    I would give ANYTHING if someone could tell me the name of a muppet I used to have. They sold him as a "blank", and it came with different eyes, noses, etc, so you could make your own muppet. I'd love to find another, but it's hard when you can't remember the name!!

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  4. Hilarious! I had no idea that Kermit was so cold-blooded

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  5. I have finally added a blog list to my blog and have added your awesome site. Just wanted to let you know! trappedinthe80smoms.blogspot.com

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  6. Thanks everyone for the comments.

    @Barbara, that toy sounds familiar. I know today you can have custom Muppets made...I saw it done for a couple that got married and they created them in their own likenesses.

    @d.funkt - motion stop animated characters/icons (like Speedy for Alka-Seltzer), cartoons and the like were quite popular in advertising during the 50s and 60s. Jim Henson's early creations were used to promote some other products as well.

    @80sMom - thanks so much! I promise to pay a visit to your blog soon.

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  7. I always loved Kermit! He was so sweet! Now i am having doubts, lol

    Great blog : )

    Maria

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  8. Well damn, I found one. It WAS called the "Anything Muppet". Unfortunately, this guy just has the muppet, no eyes, hair, box, etc...
    http://cgi.ebay.com/rare-Jim-Henson-Sesame-Street-ANYTHING-MUPPET-puppet_W0QQitemZ180472531003QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item2a0500483b

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  9. @Barbara - that's too bad. Maybe extra velcro facial parts are flaoting around out there somewhere.

    FAO Swartz allows you to create your own Muppet to the tune of around $129.

    Googled the Anything Muppet and oddly enough, could not find info that it was sold as a toy. It is however the official studio name of generic Henson puppets that did not have a character's name...and were often used as extras in a scene.

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  10. I had those as a kid! Who knows whatever happened to them.

    Just found you today; have killed some major time looking at your archives...really fun.

    And yes, you really do look like Mary Travers!

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  11. Hi, Pat! Welcome to the blog and thank you!

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