Who Eliminated Mr. Whipple?

 

Advertising for products dealing with our bodily functions predates radio and television, as Kellogg’s built an eventual corporate empire on “healthy” food centered on bowel regularity. Indeed, Kellogg’s followed the success of Cascaret’s sweet-flavored lozenge, advertised as a palatable alternative to castor oil.

But around 1900, Americans didn’t just associate constipation with abdominal discomfort or gas or indigestion. Constipation for our great-grandparents was the root evil of just about every ailment and malaise you could think of. And for whatever was wrong with you, a laxative (or purgative or cathartic–the terms were used pretty interchangeably) would do the trick.

That is not just a belief of our ancestors. Listen to any “health food” or “alternative/ natural medicine” pitch. “Gut” health is going to come up. What is a cleanse? We still hold a gut instinct that our digestive system is the center of our health. Of course, that belief has a sound basis, as digestive health links to nutritional efficiency, and when things go wrong, we can take a very bad turn.

All of which leads inevitably to the delicate subject of the end product and the delicate tissues engaged. Skipping past the various products pitched to get things moving or slow things down, we all understand the job isn’t over until the paperwork is done.

Toilet paper manufacturers have had to balance strength and softness. Coarse paper was just unpleasant to use repeatedly. On the other hand, no one wants the stuff coming apart mid-application. Charmin seized on the softness pitch back in the 1960s.

From 1964 to 1985, and over the course of more than 500 different TV commercials, America got to know nit-picky (and hypocritical) grocery store manager Mr George Whipple. The man’s existence was defined by his need to keep all the customers (particularly women) from squeezing the Charmin toilet paper — something everyone was apparently compelled to do.

Mr. Whipple was reinforcing the visual message conveyed by Charmin‘s 1953 addition of “a baby graphic to its packaging to symbolize the gentle softness and quality people had come to enjoy.” According to Charmin, Mr. Whipple retired in 1985 after 20 years. We are told Charmin said a final farewell to Mr. Whipple on 19 November 2007. Which brings us to the bears.

In 2000, Charmin went there, answering in the affirmative that bears do indeed [expletive] in the woods. “A new animated advertising campaign was launched, called “Call of Nature,” featuring a bear in the woods experiencing the comfortable feeling of Charmin.” The next year, there was a whole bear family, with a papa, mama, and three cubs.

The whole family was fluffy, well rounded, and oh-so-friendly appearing. They pitched the idea that Charmin was not only soft, but also strong enough, and textured to clean without leaving bits behind.

Now, this is all very good and well. It is deliberately cute but to the point. But are we to accept Charmin’s official history? Those are some very sleek, very well-fed bears. Not a bit hungry.

So, I ask you, what really happened to Mr. Whipple?

This post was promoted to the Main Feed by a Ricochet Editor at the recommendation of Ricochet members. Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s growing community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Get your first month free.

There are 24 comments.

  1. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    This is a bonus, a double elimination entry if you will.


    This conversation is part of our Group Writing Series under November’s theme of Elimination. There are plenty of dates still available. Perhaps someone will even offer a page from the diary of a hit man, purely fictional of course. Or maybe we will read about eliminating excess inventory. Hmm, inventory control specialist by day, hitman by night? Sounds like a TV drama? What about those ads? You know what I’m talking about—even the Charmin bears! The possibilities are endless, Ricochet cool cats! Why not tell us about it and start a conversation. Our schedule and sign-up sheet awaits. Caveat: Given the theme, please keep in mind the basic rules of R>. As you polish your little masterpiece, do ensure that it stays within the refined edge of tacky. Our December theme is “Veneration;” the sign-up sheet is now posted.

    • #1
    • November 28, 2018, at 9:44 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Old Buckeye Member

    Clifford A. Brown: we all understand the job isn’t over until the paperwork is done.

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    This is a bonus, a double elimination entry if you will.

    Thanks for the morning chuckle, CAB! 

    • #2
    • November 29, 2018, at 4:20 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  3. EJHill Podcaster

    As the comedian Gallagher asked in the 80s: “What’s the point of scented toilet paper? Who are they trying to impress? My thumb?”

    Dick Wilson played Mr. Whipple over 500 times in 21 years. The rest of his credits are an interesting read. Not a lot of character names, but plenty of this: “Drunk,” “Tipsy Man,” “Bar Fly,” and “Man in Bar.” 

    Madison Avenue doesn’t create the personalized spokesperson like they used to. My youthful days wouldn’t have been the same without Josephine the Plumber (Jane Withers), Madge the Manicurist (Jan Miner), the Maytag Repairman (Jesse White) or Cora the Coffee Lady (Margaret Hamilton.) Perhaps that’s why The Most Interesting Man in the World resonated so well. 

    Stay thirsty, my friends.

    • #3
    • November 29, 2018, at 5:29 AM PDT
    • 17 likes
  4. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member

    Clifford A. Brown: Coarse paper was just unpleasant to use repeatedly.

    Well, Mr. Whipple did his job. We traveled to the Soviet Union Russia years ago and were cautioned by everyone to take our own toilet paper. We chose Charmin. Russian TP was an unbleached red color and strong as the Soviet bear in the woods (think 24 grit sandpaper). I still take a roll when visiting Hilton branded properties that seem to have a Russian supplier.

    • #4
    • November 29, 2018, at 5:52 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    I just had a flashback to an episode of the TV series “Home Improvement” where Tim takes the family camping then goes off into the forest; the family huddled around the camp-fire hears what they think are animals in the woods; Tim comes back and his wife says, “Oh, thank God! I was getting worried! I heard this awful howling!” Tim says, “Oh, that was me. I couldn’t find any leaves, so I had to use a pine cone.”

    • #5
    • November 29, 2018, at 6:52 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  6. EJHill Podcaster

    Addiction Is A Choice: I just had a flashback to an episode of the TV series “Home Improvement”…

    Wait a minute… Tim Taylor was an Outdoor Man?!?!

    • #6
    • November 29, 2018, at 7:47 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  7. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Addiction Is A Choice: I just had a flashback to an episode of the TV series “Home Improvement”…

    Wait a minute… Tim Taylor was an Outdoor Man?!?!

    Well, it was from Season 1, maybe they were just tinkering…or perhaps “The Suits” felt an outdoors-episode would further bolster Taylor’s “Man-Cred” thereby solidifying his bond with the targeted demographic…Oh, hell, I don’t know; you’re the TV expert, EJ! You tell me [wink]

    • #7
    • November 29, 2018, at 8:30 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  8. EJHill Podcaster

    Addiction Is A Choice: Oh, hell, I don’t know; you’re the TV expert, EJ!

    I don’t know if “expert” is the right word. But my kids like me on their Trivial Pursuit team.

    Here’s one for you: The aforementioned Jan Miner was the last of three actresses that portrayed Della Street on the radio version of Perry Mason before Barbara Hale would forever claim the role on television opposite of Raymond Burr.

    • #8
    • November 29, 2018, at 10:05 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Ontheleftcoast Inactive

    The OP brought the late Denis Burkitt, FRS to mind. He was, despite his Irish birth and long residence in Africa, an archetypal brilliant eccentric Briton. He was an Evangelical, and served as president of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

    Observations he made while practicing in Africa led him to be the first to describe the cancer which now bears his name: Burkitt’s lymphoma. But he had further contributions to medicine yet to make.

    On his return to the UK, he continued to digest other observations he made. He had noticed that Africans eating their traditional diets rarely had a number of diseases common to the West, but if they or their children began eating a “modern” diet, the diseases came with it. He outlined this in his classic British Medical Journal article, Some diseases characteristic of modern Western civilization.

    For him, a key difference was dietary fiber. His campaign promoting this was at first a lonely one, but as the years went by gained adherents, and finally spawned todays market for fiber.

    Burkitt also noted that haemorrhoids and other vein pathologies were more common in the West; this observation was published in the BMJ under the title Varicose Veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis, and Haemorrhoids: Epidemiology and Suggested Etiology.

    Further inspired by his African experience, he also began a campaign promoting defecation while in a squatting position; this makes “making” more effective and further reduces the need to strain (also of course a benefit of fiber,) so squatting is easier on the veins in one’s lower body.

    Not only that, Burkitt designed platforms to be placed around the bowl of conventional flush toilets to retrofit them for squatting; while such items are now being produced commercially and are available on Amazon, stooping to poop did not find nearly the acceptance which fiber did.

    • #9
    • November 29, 2018, at 11:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  10. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    The OP brought the late Denis Burkitt, FRS to mind. He was, despite his Irish birth and long residence in Africa, an archetypal brilliant eccentric Briton. He was an Evangelical, and served as president of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

    Observations he made while practicing in Africa led him to be the first to describe the cancer which now bears his name: Burkitt’s lymphoma. But he had further contributions to medicine yet to make.

    On his return to the UK, he continued to digest other observations he made. He had noticed that Africans eating their traditional diets rarely had a number of diseases common to the West, but if they or their children began eating a “modern” diet, the diseases came with it. He outlined this in his classic British Medical Journal article, Some diseases characteristic of modern Western civilization.

    For him, a key difference was dietary fiber. His campaign promoting this was at first a lonely one, but as the years went by gained adherents, and finally spawned todays market for fiber.

    Burkitt also noted that haemorrhoids and other vein pathologies were more common in the West; this observation was published in the BMJ under the title Varicose Veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis, and Haemorrhoids: Epidemiology and Suggested Etiology.

    Further inspired by his African experience, he also began a campaign promoting defecation while in a squatting position; this makes “making” more effective and further reduces the need to strain (also of course a benefit of fiber,) so squatting is easier on the veins in one’s lower body.

    Not only that, Burkitt designed platforms to be placed around the bowl of a conventional flush toilets to retrofit them for squatting; while such items are now being produced commercially and are available on Amazon, stooping to poop did not find nearly the acceptance which fiber did.

    • #10
    • November 29, 2018, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  11. Ontheleftcoast Inactive

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    The OP brought the late Denis Burkitt, FRS to mind. He was, despite his Irish birth and long residence in Africa, an archetypal brilliant eccentric Briton. He was an Evangelical, and served as president of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

    Observations he made while practicing in Africa led him to be the first to describe the cancer which now bears his name: Burkitt’s lymphoma. But he had further contributions to medicine yet to make.

    On his return to the UK, he continued to digest other observations he made. He had noticed that Africans eating their traditional diets rarely had a number of diseases common to the West, but if they or their children began eating a “modern” diet, the diseases came with it. He outlined this in his classic British Medical Journal article, Some diseases characteristic of modern Western civilization.

    For him, a key difference was dietary fiber. His campaign promoting this was at first a lonely one, but as the years went by gained adherents, and finally spawned todays market for fiber.

    Burkitt also noted that haemorrhoids and other vein pathologies were more common in the West; this observation was published in the BMJ under the title Varicose Veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis, and Haemorrhoids: Epidemiology and Suggested Etiology.

    Further inspired by his African experience, he also began a campaign promoting defecation while in a squatting position; this makes “making” more effective and further reduces the need to strain (also of course a benefit of fiber,) so squatting is easier on the veins in one’s lower body.

    Not only that, Burkitt designed platforms to be placed around the bowl of a conventional flush toilets to retrofit them for squatting; while such items are now being produced commercially and are available on Amazon, stooping to poop did not find nearly the acceptance which fiber did.

    I notice that the Squatty Potty still permits the nates to contact the seat. The full effect is only obtained with full suspension; as I remember Burkitt’s design (I think it was cut from plywood) it was intended to promote this.

    But wait, there’s more!

     

    • #11
    • November 29, 2018, at 12:09 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. James Lileks Contributor

    Future historians and sociologists will get more out of the Mr. Whipple Charmin commercials than a hundred PhD theses from the post-war era.

    Mr. Whipple’s last ad – which I can’t find anywhere, and I think comes after his “retirement” spot – was rather startling. Instead of the fussy old Whipple, he was relaxed and confident, and told us that the whole “don’t squeeze” business was just a routine to get people to do exactly that. And it worked! The character was saying he’d been pulling our legs for 300 commercials. Having grown up with the character, you’d think I would have felt betrayed, but no one did.

    • #12
    • November 29, 2018, at 12:35 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Stad Thatcher

    Clifford A. Brown: So, I ask you, what really happened to Mr. Whipple?

    He was arrested for squeezing the Charmin while a lady was using it in the restroom.

    Now he’s doing hard time, selling soap-on-a-rope to the other prisoners . . .

    • #13
    • November 29, 2018, at 12:48 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. James Gawron Thatcher

    Cliff,

    Unfortunately, Mr. Wipple came to an unexpected end. The bears that you mentioned became threatening one day (a salary dispute no doubt). The store manager & Whipple were caught alone in the parking lot confronted by the bears. The store manager then bent down and put on his jogging shoes. Whipple remarked, “You don’t think you’ll be able to outrun them, do you?” The store manager with a sly grin responded, “Nope, I just think I can outrun you.” Unfortunately for Whipple, the store manager was right and Whipple met a messy end.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #14
    • November 29, 2018, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    The OP brought the late Denis Burkitt, FRS to mind. He was, despite his Irish birth and long residence in Africa, an archetypal brilliant eccentric Briton. He was an Evangelical, and served as president of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

    Observations he made while practicing in Africa led him to be the first to describe the cancer which now bears his name: Burkitt’s lymphoma. But he had further contributions to medicine yet to make.

    On his return to the UK, he continued to digest other observations he made. He had noticed that Africans eating their traditional diets rarely had a number of diseases common to the West, but if they or their children began eating a “modern” diet, the diseases came with it. He outlined this in his classic British Medical Journal article, Some diseases characteristic of modern Western civilization.

    For him, a key difference was dietary fiber. His campaign promoting this was at first a lonely one, but as the years went by gained adherents, and finally spawned todays market for fiber.

    Burkitt also noted that haemorrhoids and other vein pathologies were more common in the West; this observation was published in the BMJ under the title Varicose Veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis, and Haemorrhoids: Epidemiology and Suggested Etiology.

    Further inspired by his African experience, he also began a campaign promoting defecation while in a squatting position; this makes “making” more effective and further reduces the need to strain (also of course a benefit of fiber,) so squatting is easier on the veins in one’s lower body.

    Not only that, Burkitt designed platforms to be placed around the bowl of a conventional flush toilets to retrofit them for squatting; while such items are now being produced commercially and are available on Amazon, stooping to poop did not find nearly the acceptance which fiber did.

    I thought of the same product, having heard of it on Jane Wells’s Strange Success. Not to be confused with Jamie Colby’s Strange Inheritance.

    • #15
    • November 29, 2018, at 1:40 PM PDT
    • Like
  16. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    Cliff,

    Unfortunately, Mr. Wipple came to an unexpected end. The bears that you mentioned became threatening one day (a salary dispute no doubt). The store manager & Whipple were caught alone in the parking lot confronted by the bears. The store manager then bent down and put on his jogging shoes. Whipple remarked, “You don’t think you’ll be able to outrun them, do you?” The store manager with a sly grin responded, “Nope, I just think I can outrun you.” Unfortunately for Whipple, the store manager was right and Whipple met a messy end.

    Regards,

    Jim

    There is a shoe commercial in there somewhere: “just do it,” or maybe “[Brand X] when you gotta get up and go.”

    • #16
    • November 29, 2018, at 1:46 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    Future historians and sociologists will get more out of the Mr. Whipple Charmin commercials than a hundred PhD theses from the post-war era.

    Mr. Whipple’s last ad – which I can’t find anywhere, and I think comes after his “retirement” spot – was rather startling. Instead of the fussy old Whipple, he was relaxed and confident, and told us that the whole “don’t squeeze” business was just a routine to get people to do exactly that. And it worked! The character was saying he’d been pulling our legs for 300 commercials. Having grown up with the character, you’d think I would have felt betrayed, but no one did.

    No one did, or was it unbearable for some? Were the scales of justice balanced in the circle of life?

     

    • #17
    • November 29, 2018, at 1:58 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  18. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    The bear’s reaction when they find out what humans actually do with the Charmin:

    • #18
    • November 29, 2018, at 2:45 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Stina Member

    Clifford, this turned out so much better than what I wanted to offer up for Elimination November.

    Thank you.

    • #19
    • November 29, 2018, at 3:13 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  20. Stina Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):
    Further inspired by his African experience, he also began a campaign promoting defecation while in a squatting position; this makes “making” more effective and further reduces the need to strain (also of course a benefit of fiber,) so squatting is easier on the veins in one’s lower body.

    And thus is born the ….

    Someone beat me to the punch :(

    • #20
    • November 29, 2018, at 3:26 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Ontheleftcoast Inactive

    Addiction Is A Choice (View Comment):

    The bear’s reaction when they find out what humans actually do with the Charmin:

    We know what bears do in the woods. Who are they to judge?

    • #21
    • November 29, 2018, at 3:28 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown Post author

    Stina (View Comment):

    Clifford, this turned out so much better than what I wanted to offer up for Elimination November.

    Thank you.

    You are welcome, and be careful what you encourage!

    • #22
    • November 29, 2018, at 5:38 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  23. Stina Member

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    Clifford, this turned out so much better than what I wanted to offer up for Elimination November.

    Thank you.

    You are welcome, and be careful what you encourage!

    I have no regrets!

    • #23
    • November 29, 2018, at 6:16 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  24. Misthiocracy secretly Member

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    Ontheleftcoast (View Comment):

    The OP brought the late Denis Burkitt, FRS to mind. He was, despite his Irish birth and long residence in Africa, an archetypal brilliant eccentric Briton. He was an Evangelical, and served as president of the Christian Medical Fellowship.

    Observations he made while practicing in Africa led him to be the first to describe the cancer which now bears his name: Burkitt’s lymphoma. But he had further contributions to medicine yet to make.

    On his return to the UK, he continued to digest other observations he made. He had noticed that Africans eating their traditional diets rarely had a number of diseases common to the West, but if they or their children began eating a “modern” diet, the diseases came with it. He outlined this in his classic British Medical Journal article, Some diseases characteristic of modern Western civilization.

    For him, a key difference was dietary fiber. His campaign promoting this was at first a lonely one, but as the years went by gained adherents, and finally spawned todays market for fiber.

    Burkitt also noted that haemorrhoids and other vein pathologies were more common in the West; this observation was published in the BMJ under the title Varicose Veins, Deep Vein Thrombosis, and Haemorrhoids: Epidemiology and Suggested Etiology.

    Further inspired by his African experience, he also began a campaign promoting defecation while in a squatting position; this makes “making” more effective and further reduces the need to strain (also of course a benefit of fiber,) so squatting is easier on the veins in one’s lower body.

    Not only that, Burkitt designed platforms to be placed around the bowl of a conventional flush toilets to retrofit them for squatting; while such items are now being produced commercially and are available on Amazon, stooping to poop did not find nearly the acceptance which fiber did.

    I notice that the Squatty Potty still permits the nates to contact the seat. The full effect is only obtained with full suspension; as I remember Burkitt’s design (I think it was cut from plywood) it was intended to promote this.

    But wait, there’s more!

     

    Maybe the squatty potty folk had to create a different design in order to get a new patent? If they’d used Burkitt’s design it wouldn’t have been patentable, right? 

    • #24
    • November 29, 2018, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • Like