Carl notes that Cale, after mutilating Heartbreak Hotel, crawled under the piano and began tearing at the carpet. In the hallways of the Editorial Department at German Joys, you could hear cries of "Eureka" as the staff recalled another famous incident of carpet abuse.
Which leads me to the question for Joysters. According to a war diary entry by the American journalist William L. Shirer, Adolf Hitler went one better than Cale and actually began to eat the carpet:
Sept. 22, 1938. This morning, I noticed something very interesting. I was having breakfast in the garden of the Dresen Hotel, where Hitler is stopping, when the great man suddenly appeared, strode past me, and went down to the edge of the Rhine to inspect his river yacht. [Here follows a passage in which Shirer criticizes Hitler’s walk.] I think [Hitler] is on the edge of a nervous breakdown. And now I understand the meaning of an expression the party hacks were using when we sat around drinking in the Dressen last night. They kept talking about the "Teppichfresser"’, the "carpet-eater". At first I didn’t get it, and then someone explained it in a whisper. They said, Hitler has been having some of his nervous crises lately and that in recent days they’ve taken a strange form. Whenever he goes on a rampage about Benes or the Czechs he flings himself to the floor and chews the edges of the carpet hence the Teppichfresser. After seeing him this morning, I can believe it.
[Gad, what awful prose. And does Dresen have one or two S’s, sir?] I believe the "Teppichfresser" incident also made it into Shirer’s later book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich (a readable, if not particularly reliable, work of popular history). There is much speculation about whether the Teppichfresser story is true, or whether it was the result of Shirer’s evident distaste for the Fuehrer and/or a mistranslation of some colloquial expression.
My query is this: does anyone know of any independent confirmation of this story? That is, did anyone else see the leader of the Thousand-Year Reich chomping on Stainmaster, or did Shirer make this up? Dear readers, let us jointly make a contribution to the historical record! I will then forward out conclusions to the Carpet and Rug Institute.