Did Carson Cause The Toilet Paper Shortage Of 1973?
Who would have thought it. Folks are hoarding TP globally.
It was December of 1973, Johnny Carson, during his opening monologue, made a joke about an upcoming toilet paper shortage. While Carson was not the first to comment on the apparent situation, so many people watched his show back then, his joke was blamed for causing a nationwide toilet-paper-buying-spree.
After reading an actual newspaper clipping about a toilet paper shortage on the air, Carson then cracked a few jokes. The next day, stores were selling out of all the toilet paper they had.
Republican Congressman Harold V. Froelich issued a press release warning people and blaming Carson.
“The U.S. may face a serious shortage of toilet paper within a few months… we hope we don’t have to ration toilet tissue… a toilet paper shortage is no laughing matter. It is a problem that will potentially touch every American.”
The New York Times went out to local stores to check on the problem. Some stores were sold out. One store also was rationing paper towels, two rolls to a customer.
“Toilet paper is in very critical supply,” said vice president and general manager of Atlantic Enterprises, a Tampa wholesale paper supplier. He said his firm was refusing new customers who wanted to buy toilet paper.
“If people wouldn’t hoard and get so excited about this, everything would be okay,” said Mark Hollis, vice president of Publix Super Markets Inc.
He said customers are hoarding toilet paper because of remarks made about a shortage on the Johnny Carson “Tonight Show” last week.
Carson joked about the issue on air - but then made this statement: “I don't want to be remembered as the man who created a false toilet paper scare. I just picked up the item from the paper and enlarged it somewhat…there is no shortage.”