The April Fool Archive:
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April Fool's Day House Pranks
Man regrets scaring wife. (1896) "Near Nashville yesterday John Ahrens, a farmer, planned an April fool joke on his wife with disastrous results. He disguised himself as a tramp, fastened a white mask over his face, and knocked at the door. When she appeared he ordered her to get dinner for him. To his horror his wife fell to the floor in a faint and died an hour later. Ahrens has been married only a few months and idolized his wife. Her death has crazed him with grief and remorse, and he threatens to take his own life." [Des Moines Daily News, Apr 3, 1896.] More…
April Fool Whistle. (1899) "An April Fool whistle can be made as shown in the illustration, and filled with flour, which will fly into the face of any one who tries to blow it. A B (Fig. 1) is a tin tube, stopped by two pieces of cork. One at the end has holes in it and a glass tube through it, as shown in Fig. 2. The other figures explain themselves.
[The Young Folks' Cyclopedia of Games and Sports, 1899] More…
Mouse in Egg Prank Goes Bad. (1900) Edith Walrach, a nineteen-year-old woman of a "very nervous temperament" was in serious condition as a result of an April Fool's Day joke that went bad. While visiting friends in Binghampton, New York, a practical joker "procured a small live mouse, which he put in an egg-shell, covering the opening with plaster of Paris. This was brought in with the breakfast and when Miss Walrach broke the shell and the liberated mouse jumped out she screamed and fainted away. During the day she had three nervous fits, and her physician pronounced her condition critical." The young man was wild with grief. He was her fiancee. [Fort Wayne Evening Sentinel, Apr 3, 1900] More…
April Fool’s Day (a poem). (1900)
Talk about yer Chris'masses
Fourth o' Julys and cirkusses—
They ain't in it for the real fun
That's to be had on April one;
Even Hallowe'en is very tame
To April first—that is 'f yer game.
I think that April first must be
Ind'pendence Day fer kids like me,
When we kin play all sorts of jokes
And not be punished by our folks—
Though pa, he says, in a threat'nin' way:
"Bill, no nonsense from you today!"
When Jim's pants legs are found sewed up;
When ma of coffee takes a sup
And finds the sugar tastes like salt—
I say, quite inn'cent, "Taint my fault."
They frown and say, half-scold, half-laugh,
"This here is some of Willie's chaff."
The teacher has her troubles too
(You know what mischeevous boys can do).
But when I hollered "April Fool!"
She kept me in long after school.
I didn't care much for I knew
She wasn't game—like me or you.
Say, you look as though you might
Know how a boy 'd feel at night,
As though a big day's work was done,
And how h'd fooled 'em all—'cept one—
For pa, he'd said to me, one side,
"Don't ye fool Me, 'r I'll tan yer hide!"
— Will E. Cowles. More…
Desperate Hubby. (1920) Harry Shapiro was desperate because his wife threatened to leave him. He grabbed a bottle labeled "poison" and dramatically declared "stay with me or I die." When Mrs. Shapiro laughed uproariously, Harry smelt the bottle's contents and discovered he had fallen for an "April Fool" joke. [Appleton Post-Crescent, Apr 1, 1920.]
(How did Mrs. Shapiro know hubby would threaten to drink poison? Had he done this before? Why was this reported as a joke?) More…
April Fool Gadgets. (1944) "Fun-loving Americans spend about $8,000,000 a year on tricky gadgets which make good fun on April Fool's Day. Here are a few you should watch out for this year: Plate Lifter — Your blueplate gets a bouncing wanderlust; Hot Salt — It comes out pepper; Inseparable Saucer — Sticks to cup; Tough Doughnut — A rubber sinker; Dribble Glass — April showers." [AP Features] More…
Stick ‘Em Up!. (1950)
April Fool Pig. (1960) Bill Taylor of Oklahoma City celebrated his birthday every year on April 1st. As a consequence, he noted, he always received an "off brand gift." On April 1, 1960 he turned 40. He woke to find a large box on his front porch. Inside was a 40-pound pig wrapped in a pink ribbon and bow. He announced, "I'll just have that porker barbecued." [Newark Advocate - Apr 2, 1960.] More…
Parking Problem. (1964) Emil Seligo of Los Angeles is shown waiting for his 17-year-old son Paul to return from his high school classes. Emil had forgotten that Wednesday was April Fool's Day, but Paul hadn't, and he and a friend somehow managed to get the family's small imported car into the middle of the living room while the rest of the family was asleep. More…
April Fool, Husband!. (1967) This is the sight Richard Carlson of Palatine, Illinois was greeted by when he came home. The car was sideways in the garage with the sign "April Fool!" hanging on it. His wife was the culprit. She told him it was payback for teasing her about being too afraid of the garage's center post when she pulled the car in. She proved she wasn't. More…