"All Fools' Day was not unremembered yesterday, although the practical jokes incidental to it are not as much relished or looked forward to in America as in England and France.
Street hawkers did a lively trade downtown in so-called April Fool cigars, which were offered at 5 cents each and were said to be explosive. Some of the Custom House clerks laid in a stock of them, which they presented to brokers. To the amazement and disgust of the buyers, who expected the cigars to go off like firecrackers when they were well started, they smoked quite as comfortably to the end as was to be expected of cigars at that price, fooling the foolers completely.
Chocolate stuffed with cotton was generously distributed at the Stock Exchange, and provision men at the Produce Exchange set burning matches in dough on each other's hats and indulted in other pranks which amused them."
[New York Times
, Apr 2, 1896.]
• Scoop - knock me out about a colyum april fool story - sumpin' new an' funny!
• Scoop's copy: Here's a new and funny april fool story. (One col of blank space)
• Aw nix now boss, have uh heart!
In what appeared to be an April Fool's prank gone badly wrong, Harry Zahrichs of Lackawanna, New York had to be rushed to the hospital after his fellow workmen injected compressed air into his body, tearing and dislodging some of his internal organs. [Trenton Evening Times
, Apr 2, 1915.]
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.]
The Chicago Daily Defender
interviewed Otto Ebar, the man responsible for answering the phones at the Cook County Morgue on April 1st, the day when numerous calls are received for Mr. Stiff, Mr. K. Dever, Mr. Casket, Mr. Graves, Mr. Rigor, or Mr. Mortis. Ebar said, "he has to brace himself for when business executives and general office girls discover they have been tricked by some of their associates, some let their venom out on him. 'But the vast majority are terribly nice about it.'"
"Ebar said the calls average about four or five a minute and that the men are more likely to berate him than the women who readily admit their embarrassment and refuse to give their name.
One important lawyer called, Ebar disclosed, and asked if he could speak to 'Mr. Stiff.' His secretary had left the message for him, he added.
When Ebar finally got around to telling him it was the County Morgue number his secretary had given him, but that for him to call any time he liked, the lawyer replied:
'Don't worry, you'll be hearing from me real soon because my secretary will be visiting you. Her name will be Mrs. Stiff.'"
[The Chicago Defender
, Apr 2, 1959.]