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If you’re intensely familiar with the history of Jim Henson’s career in entertainment (and the origins of Kermit the Frog), then this story may not be too new for you. But for everyone else, prepare to have your minds blown – one of the earliest iterations of Kermit the Frog wasn’t the lovable, humble frog you know and love, but a sadistic murderer whose sole obsession in life was Wilkins Coffee.

His name was Wilkins – and his enemy in life was…Wontkins.

Yes, that is a Kermit-esque Muppet murdering another Muppet with a gun.

I should mention this isn’t the ACTUAL earliest version of Kermit – Wilkins debuted in 1957, mostly as a character in Wilkins Coffee commercials, while Kermit debuted a few years earlier (as part of “Sam and Friends” – and while much of Kermit was there from the start, he wasn’t actually a frog). Regardless, Wilkins looks AND sounds verrrry similar to Kermit – except, obviously, with WAY more malevolence.

The short commercials ran for several years, producing over 150 individual segments – nearly all of which ended with the gruesome death (or horrible maiming) of Wontkins, as Wilkins makes a deadpan remark in amusement. Here’s just a small sample of these light-hearted Muppet characters basically recreating American Psycho for 1950s families to sell coffee:

First off, yes Wilkins is a straight-up insane psychopath who clearly revels in the violence he delivers to poor, hapless Wontkins. But even weirder, a lot of the time Wontkins didn’t even do anything to really provoke it – I guess I get it when he actively insults Wilkins Coffee, but some of the time he just says he doesn’t like coffee in general, or he just forgot to bring some Wilkins. That poor lil guy DOES NOT DESERVE TO GET DROPPED FROM A PLANE FOR THAT.

Regardless, you gotta admire his gumption that he refuses to change his coffee opinions, no matter how many brutal fates he meets.

And despite being literally named “Wilkins” and “Wontkins”, the duo appeared in commercials for plenty of other brands (including LOTS of coffee brands). Wontkins was still brutally punished for his incorrect tastes, regardless of which brand Wilkins had then devoted his loyalty to:

So if you don’t feel like watching all of these (and I know, there’s a lot), we’ve summarized some of the most unexpectedly brutal entries below.

Seriously, THESE ARE MUPPETS – the friendliest of the friendly kids’ brands, engaging in behavior that would be going a little too far on South Park.

The time they just LIT WONTKINS ON FIRE (and by the burn marks at the beginning, had tried this SEVERAL TIMES before they got the shot they wanted)

Wontkins: Old man Donovan just hired me to sell his crummy Red Diamond Coffee!
(gets lit on fire)
Wilkins: I think he just fired you too!

The time Wilkins had just mercilessly beat Wontkins with a club until he said the exact phrase Wilkins was looking for (and instilled Wontkins with some serious PTSD)

Wontkins: Red Diamond makes good coffee…
(Wilkins hits Wontkins over the head with a club)
Wontkins: …better coffee?
(Wilkins hits Wontkins over the head with a club)
Wontkins: Red Diamond makes the BEST COFFEE!
Wilkins: Congratulations.
(Wilkins continues to shiver in terror)

The time Wilkins ALREADY HAD Wontkins marked for death by strapping him into an electric chair for a state execution

Wilkins: Any last requests, like for a cup of Wilkins Coffee?
Wontkins: No.
Wilkins: You don’t drink Wilkins?
Wontkins: No.
(Wilkins pulls the switch)
Wilkins: How shocking.

The time Wilkins expected Wontkins to bring coffee on a plane ride, and then sent him hurdling to his death because he FORGOT IT

Wilkins: Got your parachute?
Wontkins: I forgot it.
Wilkins: How about the Wilkins Coffee?
Wontkins: I forgot that too.
(Wilkins turns the plane upside down, sending Wontkins plummeting to his death)
Wilkins: You’ll never forget THIS.

The time not liking coffee in general led someone to SHOOT WONTKINS IN THE HEAD WITH AN ACTUAL GUN

Wilkins: Care for a cup of Wilkins Coffee?
Wontkins: No, I don’t like coffee.
(an enormous hand and gun emerge and shoot Wontkins in the face)
Wilkins: This has been a public service.

The time Wilkins was just a straight-up Bond villain for no reason and sawed Wontkins IN HALF

Wilkins: If you don’t start drinking Wilkins Coffee, I’ll turn you into two-by-fours!
Wontkins: I shoulda saw this comin’!
(sound of Wontkins being cut in half)
Wilkins: He always was a cut-up!

The time he placed a lit-fuse bomb on Wontkins’ windowsill and then BLEW UP HIS HOUSE because he didn’t currently have the right brand of coffee

Wilkins: Do you have any Wilkins Coffee in your house?
Wontkins: No.
(Wilkins shoves the lit bomb into Wontkins home)
Wilkins: You know, a house isn’t a home without Wilkins Coffee.

It’s a weird situation, because these ads from the late 1950s (a famously Puritanical time for TV) are actually probably a lot more aggressive and messed-up than most commercials that would be allowed on TV today. Would there be public outcry over some Muppets brutally murdering one another over coffee opinions? It seems PROBABLE. But back then, these ads were so popular that even conservative senators talked about how great they were (while complaining about the general state of TV being too lowbrow).

So never forget to drink Wilkins Coffee, or else Kermit’s Patrick Bateman equivalent will DESTROY YOU.

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