Johnny Carson Once Caused a Month Long Toilet Paper Shortage

toilet paper shortage caused by Johnny Carson


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Johnny Carson once caused a near month long toilet paper shortage in the U.S. in December of 1973.  In his show, he said, “You know what’s disappearing from the supermarket shelves?  Toilet paper… There’s an acute shortage of toilet paper in the United States.”  Americans promptly went out and bought up every piece of toilet paper they could find.  Supermarkets tried to ration it, but to no avail.  By noon the next day, pretty much all the nation’s supermarkets were sold out.

After several days of toilet paper shortages due to this hysteria, Carson went on the air to try to explain it had been a joke and apologized.  But because the shelves were almost always empty of toilet paper at this time, whenever some would come in, people would buy it all and hoard it.  This toilet paper shortage lasted a full three weeks.

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  • thediciplinarian

    Go Johnny go. What a laugh riot. People here are so freaking stupid. Imagine the clusterf#ck in a real crisis.

  • I remember this. At the time, it was obvious that it was a joke. It turned out that even more people fell for it than Orson Well’s “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast.

    H.L. Mencken was right when he wrote, (more or less) “No one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

  • vesey

    Stupid people(they abound in abundance) have always listened to what tv says without checking things out or questioning the hysteria. That’s how we got obama for president. Forget seeing what he was all about, the liberal media says suck a lemon and people suck a lemon and believe me that’s what we got for a president………….

  • Falalalala

    Vesey, you are a bloody wanker…

  • woah horsey

    Falalalala, you are a bloody wanker..

  • fgsfds

    reminds me of when obama got elected… he was supposedly “anti guns” so the gun nuts flipped out and bought up all the ammunition they could find, which caused a shortage for the next 2-3 years in the same way this did.

  • Melayahm

    Hm, sounds like one way to stimulate the US economy…..

  • Alex

    Thanks for that useless piece of information

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  • adasd

    that’s how both Bush idiots (and all their republican morons) got elected. there is no limit for stupidity in the USA

    • adasd October 30, 2011 at 1:11 pm

      that’s how both Bush idiots (and all their republican morons) got elected. there is no limit for stupidity in the USA

      >>>> you didn’t notice that the same kind of “thinking” created the results of the last two Presidential elections, too? — Didn’t think so…


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  • dirty uncle bob

    self fulfilling prophecy?

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  • Dang! I lived through that fiasco, but never knew who or what started it!

    Of course, the paper/TP manufacturers were blindsided by the spike in demand and could not possibly have produced enough to restock the shelves if the hoarding continued…

    But look around… we’re not all that much smarter today, either…

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  • TomD

    I remember watching the show the night Johnny Carson mentioned a toilet paper shortage during his monologue. At the time there was a gasoline shortage and also a beef shortage. Johnny joked that the latest shortage was toilet paper. And humans, being as they are, overreacted and emptied store shelves of all toilet paper.

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