Before creating Sesame Street, Jim Henson produced a series of violent coffee commercials using his Muppets!
From 1957 to 1961, Henson produced 179 commercials for Wilkins, a D.C.-based coffee company. The majority of these were for their signature coffee products, featuring two Muppets named Wilkins (the one that looks like a deformed Kermit) and Wontkins (the deformed Telly monster).
In the commercials, Wilkins pitches Wilkins Coffee to Wontkins who, as his name implies, won’t say that he likes it. Wilkins then murders him. Local TV stations only gave the ad agency 10 seconds for the commercials, just enough time to hammer home the company’s message: Drink Wilkins, or we’ll kill you.
The commercials were surprisingly successful. In fact, they were even able to sell Wilkins and Wontkins puppets to kids for $1 each. And while the commercials may be a little jarring for people more familiar with the family-friendly Muppets of today, this isn't at all out of character when you consider Henson's earlier work. The Muppets used to blow up and get eaten all the time. Even Kermit has been eaten by monsters before.
Read more about the commercials at Super Punch.