I mentioned this in passing in my last post, but the first appearance of puppets that can rightly be considered Muppets came in the 50s, with a serious of commercials promoting Wilkins Coffee on local TV. Interestingly, Jim Henson actually filed patents for the two proto-Muppet characters.
The commercials revolved around the pro-coffee Muppet resorting to increasingly hilariously-sadistic methods of punishing the anti-coffee Muppet for his unforgivable offence of … not liking Wilkins Coffee?
Yeah. He’s a real piece of work.
It’s the same basic premise as a Looney Tunes cartoon, really. And this sort of slapstick is a big part of the Muppets’ brand of humour. It’s interesting to see that it was there from the beginning, even before they could really be considered “Muppets”.
Anyway, you can see some of these commercials for yourself below.