The April Fool Archive:
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April Fool's Day, 1925
Mme. Pompadour’s Metric Measure. (1925) Merle Blanc, a humorous Parisian newspaper, laid a trap for André Perate, curator of the Versailles Palace. They sent him a letter, using the aristocratic signature "Madame de Mesnil-Heurteloup," offering to donate a "double decimeter measure in rosewood" once used by Mme. de Pompadour. They suggested it could be placed in the recently reopened Pompadour apartments in Versailles.
The newspaper later reproduced a facsimile of the curator's reply, noting that he had failed to realize that Mme. Pompadour died thirty years before the metric system was invented. They suggested that they might seek space in French museums "for Napoleon's automobile, a bracelet worn by the Venus de Milo, and an eyeglass belonging to Victory of Samothrace."
Dr. Stransky’s Dinner Party. (1925) Over thirty members of Washington's social elite received invitations to attend a dinner at a Washington social club, to be hosted by Dr. Pavel Stransky, secretary of the Czechoslovak legation. Invitations were extended by telephone by a woman speaking with a French accent. But those who showed up discovered there was no host. Nor had any reservations been made. Dr. Stransky later protested, "I sent no invitations. I am astonished... Today is the 1st of April and I think it is all a joke. But why should they pick on me?"
Undertakers Pranked. (1925) Undertakers in Reno, Nevada reported that they received calls all day from people asking, "Someone there want me?" The undertakers soon began responding, "If you're a dead one, yes." [Reno Evening Gazette, Apr 1, 1925.]
The ABC Cycle. (1925) The German magazine Echo Continental ran a feature about a new "ABC mono-cycle":
The ABC-cycle was given that name by the manufacturer because it is as simple as the ABC and can be operated without prior knowledge by anyone, especially a woman. The vehicle is designed as a mono-cycle, the motor, a directionless three-stroke 2 hp. 1.5 Cylinder "Gnomissima" engine is under the seat and pleasingly warms or cools the driver. A kickstarter and convenient footrests make this motorbike particularly popular with women.
Another One on Walt. (1925)
Critics of Catholicism receive Catholic medal. (1925) The French government received a message from Athens, Greece, sent via official channels, announcing that three prominent Parisian critics of Catholicism had been awarded the Order of the Redeemer, the highest decoration awarded by the Greek government. The decoration is considered a high honor among Catholics, since it symbolizes the rebirth of the Greek nation through divine assistance. The three men who supposedly had been awarded the medal were M. Ferdinand Buisson and M. Aulard of the Sorbonne, and M. Victor Basch of the University of Paris. In reality, the decorations had been conferred on less controversial figures. It was not known who had found a way to use the Greek government to play such a joke. Ferdinand Buisson was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. [The Washington Post, Apr 19, 1925.]
Sell!. (1925) Pranksters attempted to deceive some of the larger brokerage offices on Wall Street. Several of the larger houses received telephone messages instructing them to sell large quantities of stock "at the market." Doing so could have caused a collapse in stock prices. However, the brokers, who were familiar with the actual voices of their customers, realized they were being deceived and did not carry out any of the sell orders. [The New York Times, Apr 2, 1925.]
Moon Mullins. (1925)
The Simplest Trick of All. (1925)
No Mr. Fish. (1925) In an effort to sidestep the flood of calls asking for Mr. Fish, the New York aquarium asked the telephone company to disconnect their service for the day. [Oakland Tribune, Apr 1, 1925.]