The April Fool Archive

The April Fool's Day Morgue Prank

In which people call the morgue asking for Mr. Stiff, Mr. Graves, etc.

San Francisco Jokers (1900)

• Was told his house was burning, but found out it was April Fool's Day

• Trying to take "Bad Money" off the side walk

• Had April Fool umbrellas to give away 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…

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.] More…

Morgue Phone Operator Interviewed (1959)

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.] More…