5 February 2021

Published February 3, 2021 by rochellewisoff

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The next photo is the PROMPT. Remember, all photos are property of the photographer, donated for use in Friday Fictioneers only. They shouldn’t be used for any other purpose without express permission. It is proper etiquette to give the contributor credit.

PHOTO PROMPT © Trish Nankivell

Click Gollum to Join the fun. (He’s neither blue nor a frog 😉 ) 


We’ll never forget 2020, the Pandammit and the hoarding of such items as cleaning supplies and toilet paper. Many are the stories written on the subject. So…I DARE YOU! I DOUBLE-DOG DARE YOU TO NOT write a story that has to do with lockdown, quarantine or the big C-19. You won’t be chastised or kicked to the kerb if you do, but…

Without further adieu, here’s my story.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100


Riccardo DiGuglielmo couldn’t see himself frittering away his life as a clerk.  He decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps in show business. 

Studying the fifteen-year-old, the Hamilton, Ontario radio director smiled. “You have a good voice for radio, son. Your name?”

“Um…” Riccardo hesitated. He didn’t want to be typecast as an Italian. “Dick Wilson.”

Years later, his character, Mr. Whipple, a store clerk who chastised anyone who dared to squeeze the Charmin, became an American household name.

The actor laughed, “I’ve done thirty-eight pictures and nobody remembers any of them, but they all remember me selling toilet paper.”

For those who never saw one of these 500 adverts, here’s one of the early ones that catapulted Dick Wilson to commercial success.

85 comments on “5 February 2021

    • Dear Iain,

      These ads were so much fun. Sometimes the commercials are more entertaining and memorable than the actual program, aren’t they? 😉 From the comments, it doesn’t look like Mr. Whipple jumped the pond, but he certainly was well known here in the States.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Hi Rochelle,
    I enjoyed how you managed to illustrate how a lifetime’s achievement can be second place to a simple image. A friend is better known for his moustache than his scientific break through on laser – perhaps because most people find his work a little too mundane and boring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear James,

      One of my favorite lines from MASH was Hawkeye telling an investigator, “If Hot Lips Houlihan dated Joe Stalin the only thing she’d remember is that his moustache tickled.” 😉
      We do remember certain traits, don’t we? Mr. Whipple is well remembered here for. alas, squeezing the Charmin. We saw him at a dinner theater in the 70’s in a play. He was charming, witty and capitalized on his fame. My dad got called to the stage that night during intermission to interact with the actor because of his resemblance. Ah…there I go babbling. At any rate, I’m glad you enjoyed and took the time to say so. Thank you very much.



      Liked by 1 person

  • Like Iain, I am unacquainted with the gentleman in your charming and oh-so-true story, m’lady.
    And thank you for your ‘ban’ on the obvious, we are, after all, supposed to be creative thinkers here on FF.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear CE,

      I’m not surprised you never heard of our beloved Mr. Whipple. I did meet him in person in the 70’s while he was on the dinner theatre circuit. Charming gentleman.
      As for my ban…fingers crossed. I took a chance with this prompt. 😉 Thank you.




  • Dear Rochelle,

    I shall accept your dare with joy – it’s been 11 months and I have yet to so, no way I’m breaking the chain!

    That said, Mr. Whipple and his Charmin will forever be a part of my own memories. I love how you brought his story to us. He sure didn’t mind being remembered for that!

    Shalom and lotsa squeezable love,


    Liked by 1 person

  • I remember when it was a big thing for companies like P&G to have everyman spokes-characters. Mr. Whipple, Madge with the dish soap, the Maytag repairman. Now we’re stuck with CGI geckos with shifting accents. Well told!


  • A great story here but, a life lesson as well. If we put our best efforts into little things, such as Charmin ads, it can eclipse the larger, or, main things and become a lifetime achievement that pays the bills and puts you in the books of well remembered people. Good job M’Luv.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Liz,

      Oh boy, did we ever? Toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies and prefab dinners. I guess the TP glut was to take care of the after effects of the less than standard “food.” 😉




  • Adverts are a lost art; I miss the good ones (and the chance to run and get a drink / etc with that threat of someone shouting “It’s back on”). I think many actors probably feel the way he did, but getting people to understand and love a character in a few seconds is a skill. … a bit like writing a story in 100 words, I guess!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jen,

      I doubt that Mr. Wilson regretted his fame as a beloved toilet paper salesman. 😉 It certainly put him on the map. I remember seeing him in a few sitcoms or movies and saying, “Hey! That’s Mr. Whipple.” Some ads were better than the programs, weren’t they?




  • Like others from this side of the pond, I’d not heard of him – I now wish I had! As for your challenge … no I won’t! I made up my mind early on that my blog would make no reference to the C-word or its knock-on effects. If I still had my pub, and I was allowed to be open, anyone that mentioned it inside my doors would have to pay a fine just like they used to if they used a certain swear word!

    Liked by 1 person

  • That might be the most bizarre commercial I have ever seen.

    It’s a shame that no one remembers his classic characters like Man in multiple series or Drunk in multiple others or Bartender another character he brought to multiple series or the ever-popular drunk in bar or the composite character man in bar. I was thinking, “I wouldn’t want to be remembered for selling toilet tissue.” Then, I read, “He made 504 commercials as Mr. Whipple, earning U.S. $300,000 annually and working only 12–16 days a year.” Sign me up. At least he had a name selling toilet tissue, and he wasn’t in a bar.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Well, all I can say is that I’m happy to use THAT stuff and not, say, leaves. Or something. 😉
    So, yay to the TP!
    Only got to this FF this morning, but as soon as I saw the prompt photo I knew it’d be essential fun … 😉
    Left mine with the precious … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, well, some of us in other corners of the … um … modern’ish world, didn’t HAVE the luxury of Sears catalogues or Farmer’s almanacs or such stuff. So … Yeah, TP is FAR superior to anything else that might’ve been ‘available’ before that … 😉


  • Dear Fyllis Dilla W(T)Ph,

    Poor Mr. Whipple would be at wit’s end with this toilet paper hoarding. My mother used to watch a lot of soaps. The commercials were as phollows, Diarrhea, Constipation, Hemorrhoids, and Toilet Paper. As they say, no job’s ever phinnished until the paperwork is done.

    Punxsutawney Phlush

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Punxatawney Phlush,

      Can you imagine what Mr. Whipple’s commercials might be like today? Yep the ads back in the day were all about butt and gut. Phine state of aphairs. Phang says hi. Thanks for rolling by.


      Fyllis Dilla W(T)Ph


  • Querida Rochelle,
    This is the perfect example of type-casting. He was stuck as that character despite whatever talents he may have had. I remember him well. I always thought they were silly commercials. Now-a-days, there’s nothing silly about toilet paper. They’re still hoarding them here in Florida. LOLOL I’m sure Mr. Whipple aka Ricardo DiGuglielmo didn’t mind that type-casting everytime he cashed a check. LOLOL Fun facts, mi amiga ….
    Abrazos y Carino,
    Be Safe 😷 … Isadora 😎

    Liked by 1 person

    • Querida Isadora,

      No doubt Mr. Wilson lamented all the way to the bank. 😉 Things seemed to have eased up with the hoarding here in Missouri. Although I think some in the Midwest are also too complacent. Gracias para sus palabras amables mi amiga..

      Shalom y abrazos,


      Liked by 1 person

  • Dear Rochelle,

    I admit to not having heard of Riccardo DiGuglielmo at all, or watched any of his 38 pictures, or his sketch selling loo paper. He looks and sounds as if he was a delightful man. Thank you for introducing him to me. I very much enjoyed your story and the video about the toilet rolls!

    Thanks for making me smile

    Looking forward to our chat on Sunday :-).

    All best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Sarah,

      if you’d heard of the actor at all it would have been Dick Wilson. 😉 It doesn’t look like Mr. Whipple commercials made it to your neck of the woods. I did get to meet him in person when he was doing the dinner circuit.

      Looking forward to our chat, too.



      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Rochelle,

        It might be that they did make it to my neck of the woods, but my father hated commercials, so we rarely got to see them! He used to get really cranky if any of us in the family turned on a commercial channel on tv, thus I was raised on the BBC. I did get to see commercials at the cinema, though, which was rather fun, as they were a novelty. I don’t like them these days, as they’re too noisy and in-your-face, with flashing lights and garish bright colours. There’s something to be said for the Mr Whipple type of advert. Much more mellow and quietly amusing 🙂

        All best wishes,

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear Sarah,

          Judging from the comments from across the Pond, I’d say you wouldn’t have seen Mr. Whipple if your dad hadn’t been cranky. 😉 It seems most of the ads over here are for pharmaceuticals. ugh. See you in a few.



          Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto,

      I think we’ve all had enough of you know what, hence the dare. 😉 I’ve made a point of NOT writing about it for the past 11 months. While Mr. Whipple was an American staple, like toilet paper, he didn’t make it around the world. Thank you.




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