Johnny Carson Creates Toilet Paper Panic
December 19, 1973
Late night television host Johnny Carson jokes during his monologue, “You know, we’ve got all sorts of shortages these days. But have you heard the latest? I’m not kidding. I saw it in the papers. There’s a shortage of toilet paper!” The panicked public then began hoarding toilet paper causing empty shelves which further panicked people causing a real shortage. Carson was commenting on a statement by U.S. Congressman Harold V. Froelich, who had made remarks about the government’s falling short of securing bids to provide toilet paper for its troops and bureaucrats stating that, “we hope we don’t have to ration toilet tissue.” This was during the 1973 Arab Oil Embargo which was causing shortages and long lines for gasoline, so the mere mention of a possible shortage became a self-fulfilling prophecy.