Category:
Pranks

Trick Gun for Secret Society Initiations

Imagine the sheer delight of the person being initiated, when the realistic looking gun is pointed at them, a loud explosion occurs--but only water emerges! High-larious!

Full patent here.



Posted By: Paul - Wed Apr 24, 2024 - Comments (1)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Guns, Patents, 1900s, Pranks

Miss Brick Throw of 1959

We've looked at the humor of DJ Rege Cordic at Radio Station KDKA in a previous post.

The home page of Rege Cordic.

But here's a stunt not covered there.

He decided to stage a gag beauty contest for "Miss Brick Throw of 1959."

It was announced in 1958 in BILLBOARD.



Eventually a winner was chosen, "Miss Twerpie Walker," and a fake magazine was printed for the occasion.









Listen to three minutes of the gag here. NOTE: sound file begins to play automatically.

Posted By: Paul - Thu Apr 11, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, Humor, Pranks, Radio, Regionalism, 1950s

Trick Chair

Bang! And down goes the victim!

Full patent here.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 09, 2024 - Comments (2)
Category: Clubs, Fraternities and Other Self-selecting Organizations, Patents, 1900s, Pranks

The Straw Hat Riots of 1922

Allow me to quote at length from Wikipedia. But visit that page for even more details.

The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 was a riot that occurred in New York City at the end of summer as a result of unwritten rules in men's fashions at the time, and a tradition of taunting people who had failed to stop wearing straw hats after autumn began. Originating as a series of minor riots, it spread due to men wearing straw hats past the unofficial date that was deemed socially acceptable, September 15. It lasted eight days, leading to many arrests and some injuries.... By the early 20th century, straw boaters were considered acceptable day attire in North American cities at the height of summer even for businessmen, but there was an unwritten rule that one was not supposed to wear a straw hat past September 15 (which was known as "Felt Hat Day").[1] This date was arbitrary; earlier it had been September 1, but it eventually shifted to mid-month. It was socially acceptable for stockbrokers to destroy each other's hats, due to the fact that they were “companions”,[2] but it was not acceptable for total strangers. If any man was seen wearing a straw hat, he was, at minimum, subjecting himself to ridicule, and it was a tradition for youths to knock straw hats off wearers' heads and stomp on them.[3] This tradition became well established, and newspapers of the day would often warn people of the impending approach of the fifteenth, when men would have to switch to felt or silk hats.[4] Hat bashing was only socially acceptable after September 15, but there were multiple occasions leading up to this date where the police had to intervene and stop teenagers.[2] The riot itself began on September 13, 1922, two days before the supposed unspoken date, when a group of youths decided to get an early jump on the tradition.



Posted By: Paul - Tue Apr 02, 2024 - Comments (3)
Category: Customs, Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience, Headgear, 1920s, Pranks

Assault with a chocolate cream pie

1974: Seabee Leon L. Louie explained that the reason he hit his commanding officer in the face with a chocolate cream pie was to boost the morale of his battalion. However, the Navy failed to see the humor in what he had done and court-martialed him.

Comedian Soupy Sales testified in Louie's defense, arguing that hitting someone in the face with a cream pie is comedy, not assault. Nevertheless, a jury of five officers found Louie guilty, though they gave him the lighter sentence of demotion, restriction to base, and a fine — rather than a dishonorable discharge.

Muncie Evening Press - Nov 26, 1974



Redding Record-Searchlight - Dec 6, 1974



Tampa Bay Times - Dec 7, 1974

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 19, 2023 - Comments (3)
Category: Military, Misbehavior, Rebellion, Acting-out and General Naughtiness, 1970s, Pranks

The College Stripper Riot of 1955

The history of monkey-wrenching university protocols did not begin in the 1960s.










Posted By: Paul - Sat Nov 05, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Education, Riots, Protests and Civil Disobedience, Burlesque, Exotic Dancing, Stripping and Other Forms of Staged Nakedness, 1950s, Pranks

The Atomic Balm prank

I'm not sure when exactly Atomic Balm was first sold. I believe it was sometime in the 1950s. But it very quickly became widely used by football teams as a pain-relieving ointment.

It also became a favorite of pranksters. The prank involved surreptitiously placing Atomic Balm in a player's jockstrap. Since the ointment contains Capsaicin, the results were painful.

The Atomic Balm prank was a perennial favorite on high school football teams, but the most famous instance of the prank occurred on the Miami Dolphins, recounted below.

Source: Teena Dickerson, The Girlfriend's Guide to Football



Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 19, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Sports, Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, Pranks, Pain, Self-inflicted and Otherwise

Buster’s Joke on Papa



Posted By: Paul - Mon Feb 21, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Animals, Movies, Oceans and Maritime Pursuits, Comics, 1900s, Pranks

The Tax Centinels

April 1938: Students at Renselaer Polytechnic Institute managed to acquire almost all the pennies in the town of Troy, New York — around 250,000 pennies in total. They did this by first going around store-to-store claiming they needed pennies for a "penny-ante poker game." Then they went to the banks and purchased their entire supply of pennies. Since each bank was unaware that the same thing was occurring at all the other banks, they happily sold the students all the pennies they had.

As a result, the town of Troy suddenly discovered that it was in the grip of a "penny famine." Shopkeepers found themselves unable to make change. And more significantly, they found it difficult to charge the state sales tax.

This had been the point of the stunt. It had been organized by a group of students calling themselves the "Tax Centinels" in order to "focus public attention on the taxes which they claim account for 25 per cent of the cost of all necessities of life."

Having cornered all the pennies, the students went into the town the next day and began making purchases, using pennies to pay for one-quarter of whatever the cost of the item was. It was a bit like the time-honored stunt of paying fines with pennies.

Philadelphia Inquirer - Apr 6, 1938



The movement quickly spread to other colleges, so that other college towns were soon beset by penny famines. New members of the Tax Centinels were required to take the following pledge:

To help fight the growth of taxes which now consume 25 cents out of every dollar spent by the average person, I hereby endorse the policies of this non-partisan, non-political organization knwon as the Tax CENTinels.

It shall be the purpose of this organization to focus public attention on the evils of the practice of keeping concealed taxes and to awaken in the public consciousness a realization that 70 per cent of all taxes now collected by more than 175,000 separate taxing bodies in the United States are obtained through secret levies tacked on to the price of necessities we all must buy daily—food, clothing, shelter, luxuries, and semi-luxuries.

Since the average man does not realize the inroads made upon his purse by these vicious hidden taxes and that he himself pays the major costs of the government instead of the Rockefellers, Morgans and du Ponts, I hereby pledge myself to pay 25% of the price of all purchases in pennies in order to dramatize the situation to the end that it may be remedied.


Wisconsin State Journal - Apr 11, 1938



As far as I can tell, the Tax Centinel movement lasted a month or two before fizzling out. But it seems to have been symptomatic of a widespread popular discontent at the time over the sales tax. See, for instance, our earlier post about the guy who in 1939 took a case all the way to the supreme court over his indigation at having been, in his mind, unfairly charged one-half cent of sales tax.

More info: "Tax Centinels," Star and Lamp (Pi Kappa Phi newsletter) - May 3, 1938. Page 4.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Sep 30, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Money, 1930s, Universities, Colleges, Private Schools and Academia, Pranks

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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