Historic April Fools’ Pranks

Practical jokes? Hoaxes? General trickery? All these things are associated with April 1st, also known as April Fools’ Day. While scholars can’t seem to agree on the origin of the holiday, we do know that it has made fools of many for centuries. Early 20th century Floridians enjoyed the holiday, and, consequently, our papers have many stories about assorted shenanigans. We’ve included a selection of holiday related content below. And just remember, if it sounds too good to be true on April 1st, it probably is.

Ocala Evening Star April Fools Masthead
The Ocala Evening Star- April 1, 1921

Masthead reminder for the forgetful.

April Fools traced to drudical times
The Ocala Evening Star-July 25, 1922

Speculation as to the origin of the holiday.

Electric gold piece
The Palatka daily news-April 4, 1885

People apparently weren’t expecting such a shocking prank in 1885.

 

Liberty Bell Stolen Hoax
The Palatka daily news-April 3, 1885

Reports that the Liberty Bell was stolen while in New Orleans turned out to be an April Fools prank concocted by some journalists covering the World’s Industrial and Cotton Exhibition.

Lakeland airship prank
The Lakeland evening telegram-April 1, 1920

The Lakeland evening telegram wrote about a non-existent airship flying over the city in the hopes of making everyone go outside to search for it.

Says She Sent Poisoned Candy
The Pensacola journal-April 5, 1916

Sending poisoned candy seems a little beyond just a harmless prank…

 

We'll never fool you ad
The Lakeland evening telegram-March 31, 1913
Tire Ad
The Pensacola journal-April 1, 1920

Some companies used April Fool’s to advertise their goods as anything but a joke.

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