I've heard that recommendation told to me countless times. But I think is was in the context of clearing the drain line in general, not to unclog a toilet.
To close out my original problem which started this thread, I ended up having an outside 2-way cleanout access installed where the drain met the street. An expensive mis-adventure, to say the least.
First, the drain wasn't in the location the plat map said. Then, as he was installing the cleanout in the new location, standing in a 4' hole, the upstream drain suddenly cleared, spewing effluent all over him! Needless to say, there was a short delay before he continued.
After the work was done (quite satisfactorily, I must say), along with ~6 of new sidewalk, another guy came out to snake the drain up to the house and down to the mainline pipe (~another 80') and to scope it out with a camera. He spent about an hour and wanted to give up. A few phone calls later and another technician finally brought the adventure to its successful closure.
If you have repeated problems with your drain, I highly recommend a camera to scope out exactly what and where the problem(s) lie. You can even get it recorded for posterity (great to show at parties). I live in a 50 year old house, live on a hill, and my drain line from house to the city line is probably close to 200'. While expensive, the outside cleanout access made subsequent rooter cleans cheaper, and less invasive than removing the toilet in my downstairs bathroom. But that's another story.