It's like something out of a Harry Potter book. Four high school students form a secret club to carry out dastardly missions. Each member has a specific role, and upon graduation, each person is responsible for finding one trustworthy replacement that will take the club's secrets to the grave.
The club's goal? Toilet papering homes -- "artistically."
Whit Scott, who was a member of the secret club in the early 90s, is determined to dig up some of the club's secrets. He's started a campaign on Kickstarter to raise money for a documentary that will uncover the 32 year legacy of this "artistic toilet paper" cabal. He's already gotten some testimony from the people who were in the club with him, and he was able to trace the its lineage all the way back to its 1979 founder.
All that remains, according to his Kickstarter profile, is to "meet and film the kids currently in the group," and unarchive and digitize all of the footage that has been shot over the last 32 years. Will you help him?
Name: Whit Scott
Project: "Rolled: 32 Years of Toilet Papered Houses," a film about a secret toilet papering club from Claremont High School in Claremont, California.
Goal: $30,000. As of this article's publish date, Scott has two weeks left to raise the remaining $14,995.
How far did the TP club go to carry out their secret projects?
Not much further than Claremont and the neighboring cities which would be Pomona, Upland and La Verne.
Was it ultra secret or kind of winked at by authorities?
The group was ultra secret. We had a run in with the law but only for being out passed curfew which was 10pm. We'd get pulled over just for being out, but were never associated with any "hits" (hits = us TPing a house).
Could anyone go to jail or get fined for what your film might uncover?
We'll be super careful about not bringing up specifics and not incriminating anyone. The group isn't malicious so for the most part people think to themselves "son of b*tch" when they see the mess, but we never left behind any destruction. Thus we were never really sought after.
What did this club do for your life personally?
I learned a lot about preparation actually. We used to spend a lot of time coming up with hits. We, for example, would decide that we were going to decorate a house for Christmas, in the middle of the summer. We would decide on the house, what it was going to look like, then take the time to gather all the material and prepare for the hit. We made wooden candy canes and painted them with red and white stripes -- we hung christmas lights and wrapped trees with wrapping paper.
Is pranking a hallmark of American childhood?
I think pranking happens all over the western world. As one friend said, there is something very Americana about TPing houses. The Brits for example don't really get it, but they certainly understand the idea of playing a prank on someone else.
Do you think kids nowadays have the freedom to prank like this?
I do think kids have the freedom to prank. I think it's important that kids note the difference between a fun prank and being malicious to someone and their home because they don't like them. That's not ok.
What do you say to critics who regard TPing as more than just mischief?
They are right! Sometimes people take it too far with eggs and such. No destruction, get creative and it's all good.
I had to break free from the monotony. I needed to challenge myself to do something that felt a lot bigger than me, so I took on this project. It first starts appearing in my journals 9 or 10 years ago. As I started realizing I needed to leave my job, I went back through the journals and remembered that how cool and accessible this project was. All I needed to do was see if the guys I was in the group were down to talk about it and get started. It's been 8 months that I've been working full time on it, and while I don't get paid, I do find myself working longer hours and feeling more accomplished than I ever did at my pervious job.
People there get it. They see houses TPed all the time so they at least understand that it's part of the culture there. What I love about LA, and SF for that matter, is that people are busting ass to make it big, but are able to take a step back from the hard work and find time to relax, laugh, and connect with their friends.
I've come across many people who have said my project is sentimental to them. It reminds them of carefree days when they used to go out and be mischievous with their friends. Several people have said they have reconnected with friends from high school and have reminisced on the good times they had together. I certainly have reconnected with several people from high school -- it's been a blast hearing everyone's reactions.