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April Fool's Day, 1920
Calling Dr. Lyon. (1920)
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Selig Zoo, in east LA, was swamped by calls on April 1. "Messages were left on various temporarily vacated desks in town and requests were made over phones to the unwary to ring up Dr. Lyon, Mr. Bear, Mrs. Fox, Miss Wolf and the Widow Campbell. Several people even were trying to locate certains Miss Cats. The only animals which escaped attention during the day were Mr. Hippopotamus, Mrs. Rhinoceros and Miss Elephant, who are too big to answer calls, over the wire anyhow." [Los Angeles Times, Apr 4, 1920.] (No calls for Mrs. Rhinoceros or Miss Elephant? Had people not heard of Ryna Soris and Elle Font back in 1920?) More…
Ill-Timed Joke. (1920)
Amos McKeand of Oakland, California was about to go home when he discovered that someone had replaced the front wheel of his motorcycle with a wheel from a baby carriage. Suspecting it was his colleague, R.W. Moore, he decided to retaliate by removing the generator from Moore's machine. While doing this, he was arrested by a patrolman and taken to jail. He appeared the next morning in police court and announced that he was off practical jokes forever. [Oakland Tribune, Apr 2, 1920.] 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…
Gasoline Alley… April Fool, Walt. (1920)
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Prehistoric Skeletons. (1920)
The mayor of Santa Fe, New Mexico announced that the perfectly preserved bones of a prehistoric boy and girl had been found in the badlands near San Rafael. The bones were located in a white stone house that was partially buried in lava. The prehistoric couple had apparently been overwhelmed by a volcanic eruption. Their skeletons were covered with a thick yellow plaster. Even the reddish-brown hair of the girl had been preserved. The girl had been wearing two turquoise earrings, that now rested beside her head. The find generated great interest among scientists. However, a few days later the mayor was forced to admit that there were no skeletons. He had been the victim of an April Fool's More…
April Fool Alibi. (1920)
Seventeen-year-old William Needham was found hiding in the closet of Brooklyn resident Matthew Cohen. Needham had $1200 in Liberty bonds and two diamond rings belonging to Mr. Cohen in his pockets. When confronted, Needham pleaded, "Don't get mad. It's only an April fool joke; have a cigarette." Cohen had Needham arrested. [New York Times, Apr 3, 1920.] More…

Spurned Turkey. (1920)
Hundreds of pedestrians ignored a neatly wrapped turkey lying in the center of the intersection of Fourteenth and Webster because "it was April fool's day and only a fool would pick up a package on April 1." Eventually the driver of the butcher wagon, who had accidentally dropped it there, returned to collect it. He expressed gratitude that everyone had been too "wise'" to take off with the free turkey. [Oakland Tribune, Apr 1, 1920] (Or maybe they didn't pick it up because they didn't want to eat meat found lying in the street!) More…
Mr. Stiff, Please!. (1920)
In Milwaukee, the city morgue received over 150 calls within an hour and a half from people asking to speak to Mr. Graves or Mr. Stiff. Consequently "the morgue failed for an hour and 45 minutes to inform the coroner of the death of a patient and asking that the body be removed." The coroner appealed to the public to stop making such calls on April 1st. [Sheboygan Press, Apr 1, 1920.] More…
April Fool Riot Call. (1920)
The desk sergeant at the San Francisco police station received a frantic phone call. "For God's sake rush the wagon to 1448 Bush Street." A dozen officers were sent to the address. The local paper reported, "They found 1448 Bush Street. It is a branch police station." [Modesto Evening News, Apr 1, 1920.] More…
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