We hope you have some good April Fools' Day jokes planned for your family and co-workers today, or at least don't get fooled too badly yourself. For inspiration, here are some of our favorite Philly pranks from years past:
1. 1915: "Do not kick"
A prankster put a brick inside a hat on Girard Avenue, with a warning note: "Do not kick. Brick inside." But Penn student Raymond Perrott was too clever for his own good. According to the Trenton Evening Times, Perrott told a friend, "that's a joke within a joke; watch me wallop that hat," and gave the cap a hard kick. But the joke was on him -- there really was a brick inside. Perrott broke a toe.
2. 1940: Franklin Institute declares end of world
The Franklin Institute wanted to promote its new planetarium show on cosmic apocalypses. So on March 31, 1940, spokesman William Castellini gave this announcement to KYW: "Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city." Unsurprisingly, the city's emergency lines were swamped with calls from concerned Philadelphians after the radio broadcast. Castellini said he thought KYW was in on the stunt, but he was still fired.
3. 1996: The Taco Liberty Bell
The fast-food chain took out ads in several major newspapers on April 1, 1996, claiming it had purchased the Liberty Bell and was renaming the landmark the Taco Liberty Bell. The stunt generated widespread protests until Taco Bell revealed the joke later in the day.
4. 2012: Warby Barker
The popular eyewear company Warby Parker, whose founders met at Penn's Wharton School, announced the launch of Warby Barker, its "canine collection," on April Fools' Day last year. The frames claimed to be "crafted from chew-resistant acetate and sized to fit dogs of all sizes."
5. 2012: Distracted-pedestrian lane
Mayor Nutter's "E-Lane Initiative" for distracted walkers appeared on several best-government-pranks lists last year. The section on JFK Boulevard purported to be the world's first lane dedicated to walkers devoted to their electronic devices.