"I've always tried to present a positive view of the world in my work. It's so much easier to be negative and cynical and predict doom for the world than it is to try and figure out how to make things better. We have an obligation to do the latter."
– Jim Henson pic.twitter.com/wKMAlicpTL
— 41 Strange (@41Strange) December 31, 2019
And yet, per the Washington Post:
In June 1992, an unusual complaint was filed with the New York City Police Department. Jane Henson, widow of Muppet master Jim Henson, had allegedly thrown a punch while attending a trademark and licensing convention.
“One of my employees was physically attacked by Mrs. Henson,” a marketing executive named John T. Brady told the New York Times. “With her fist, she knocked her across the booth.”
What had so enraged Jane Henson, whose 53-year-old husband had died of pneumonia two years earlier? Well, it all goes back to some of the couple’s earliest creations: a pair of Muppets named Wilkins and Wontkins.
The two Muppets were used in ads for Wilkins Coffee, a firm founded in 1899 by John H. Wilkins Sr., who sold coffee, tea and spices at the corner of 14th and Wallach streets NW…
… [Henson’s] Muppets made their debut as part of a WRC show called “Afternoon” that featured Willard Scott and Mac McGarry as co-hosts. But it was on an evening show called “Sam and Friends” that Henson — assisted by his future wife, then-Jane Nebel — really came into his own. Making its debut was a character fashioned from an old felt coat of Henson’s mother: Kermit.
“Sam and Friends” was produced in a studio in the Sheraton Park Hotel. The show’s success enabled Henson to buy himself a white Ford Thunderbird. The show also caught the eye of Helen Ver Standig, who handled advertising for Wilkins Coffee. In 1957, she approached Henson and persuaded him to make ads for the company. One catch: The ads would be just eight seconds.
If anything, that focused Henson’s creativity. The agreeable Wilkins will drink Wilkins coffee, but when offered a cup, the grumpy Wontkins won’t. And because he won’t, Wontkins is punished in all sorts of creatively gruesome ways: shot with a cannon, thrown from a tree, run over by a train…