Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Don't Squeeze the Charmin!

For readers of a certain age, hearing the name "Mr. Whipple" brings back memories of a harried store manager accosting customers who dared squeeze the rolls of Charmin toilet paper on his shelves. The paper was so soft and comfortable, squeezing a roll was irresistible. Even he would surreptitiously give into temptation and give it a squeeze.

Mr. Whipple's portayer, Dick Wilson, became ingrained in American culture, despite the fact that he was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in Canada. Mr. Wilson had found marginal success in film and television, often playing a humorous drunk. (His biggest drunken role was a recurring one in Bewitched.) In 1964, he began his run as the store manager Mr. Whipple, which gave him his biggest exposure and pay checks. He would play the character continuously for over twenty years. Even after he retired, he would often get called back for various Charmin promotions. When he passed away in 2007, Charmin paid tribute to its beloved spokesman in a series of commercials that resurrected his classic advertisements.