Five years ago today: We were left ‘Whipple-less’

Hidy hi friends and neighbors. I feel strange writing in the morning but I have to work from 1:30-8:00 this evening. I usually work an evening about once a month. It’s not something I relish but it helps pay for pickles. Did I say that? Seriously folks, I receive two hours of premium time working 6-8 p.m. which means I get paid two extra hours for working those two.

I haven’t had my fill of coffee yet this morning so I am about as sharp as a dull butter knife. So, for lack of something better to write about, I decided I would memorialize someone who made our lives better, or at least softer and gentler.

Reading the obituaries this morning, to make sure I am not listed in it, I noticed a “Legends and Legacies” article for one Dick Wilson. Looking at a picture of the man, who passed away five years ago, one might see a partly-bald, bespectacled gent with an odd inverted “V” mustache. He even looked as if he might have been a kindly fellow as he scrutinized the aisles of his grocery stores to ensure an item was where it should be. That kindness would quickly disappear though when some customer was found squeezing the Charmin’ TP.

Yes, Dick played Mr. Whipple, whose sole purpose in life was to keep folks from fondling the “squeezably soft” tissue.

Wilson was born Riccardo DiGuglielmo in Britain in 1916. His family moved to Hamilton, Ontario, where he landed a part-time radio job at the age of 15. After graduating from college he became a comedic dancer. When the war came Wilson joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in which he served as a fighter pilot. Wilson saw action in the Battle of Britain against the Luftwaffe.

During the 1960s and beyond Wilson appeared in numerous televisions shows some of which were recurring roles including ones in “Bewitched” and “Hogan Heroes.” But his biggest starring role was the often irritating television commercial. He once remarked: “I’ve done thirty-eight pictures and nobody remembers any of them, but they all remember me selling toilet paper.” TP was very, very good to him though. He earned $300,000 a year working only 12 days a year. Wilson also lived the rest of his lifetime supplied with free Charmin. Coincidentally, the first series of commercials were filmed in, ahem, Flushing, New York, according to Wikipedia.

Wilson, who died on this day in 2007, played Whipple from 1964-1985. The Charmin brand eventually used animated bears as spokepersons for the brand. Whether the bears came about from the old question: “Does a bear s**t in the woods?” has not been disclosed by the company.

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