~*~ Rara Avis ~*~
Here's what happened back in December of 1973: "A congressman from Wisconsin, Harold Froehlich, releases a statement saying, 'The next thing we're gonna have to worry about is a potential toilet paper shortage,'" Gersten said.
The warning was picked up by late night king Johnny Carson's writers, who left out the "potential" part. As Carson said during his "Tonight Show" monologue on Dec. 19, 1973:
On Dec. 19, 1973, Johnny Carson quipped about a toilet paper shortage, triggering panic-buying across America. "There is an acute shortage of toilet paper in the good old United States. We gotta quit writing on it!"
The false alarm sent Carson's audience of almost 20 million running. As noted in "The Great Toilet Paper Scare," one woman said, "I'm used to being able to go when I want to, when I want to, but suddenly I think I'm going to have to start curbing my habits."
Gersten said, "People all over the country stormed supermarkets, grabbed as much toilet paper as they possibly could."
A joke by late-night king Johnny Carson about a shortage of toilet tissue led to panic buying as Americans emptied store shelves of the prized commodity