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Pope-mania when John Paul II visits in 1984

The Story


True, you won't find "pope-soap-on-a-rope," "popecorn" or even "papal weights" but there are plenty of papal souvenirs to chose from. If John Paul II is good for faith, he's also good for business. People can't get enough of the Holy Father in all forms, shapes and sizes. It's a merchandiser's dream come true. Everyone is hoping to cash in on the Pope's Canadian tour. The Pope's face graces both official and unofficial souvenirs including papal jackets, mugs, caps, flags, rosaries and even candies. Al Carruthers, the papal secretariat tells CBC's Karen Webb that the church hopes to collect as much as $1 million in profit.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Sept. 9, 1984
Guest(s): Al Carruthers
Host: George McLean
Reporter: Karen Webb
Duration: 1:53

Did You know?


• Sales of papal souvenirs were disastrous. It was a major factor in the colossal debt resulting from the 1984 tour. Organizers remained tight-lipped on the exact amount of the debt, but a year later CBC Television would learn that it was at least $5 million, not including the huge deficit incurred in the provinces of Newfoundland, Ontario and Quebec.

• In 1938 the Pope enrolled at Jagiellonian University in Cracow to study literature and philosophy.

• Pope John Paul II was heavily involved in the theatre scene in his native Poland. In 1941 he co-founded the Rhapsodic Theatre, a clandestine group which performed during the Nazi occupation.

• One of his plays, The Jeweller Shop, is a play with no action. It's a series of monologues which interweaves the stories of six people celebrating the bond of matrimony. A jeweller acts as mystical advisor to them, encouraging them to make love the centre of their lives. It was made into a film starring Burt Lancaster, Ben Cross and Olivia Hussey.


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