By David Bruce (Practical Jokes)
© 2015, David Bruce, All Rights Reserved
Lynn Collins played Kayla Silverfox, the love interest of Wolverine in the 2009 action film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Work on the movie started immediately. She says: “When I got the job, within 72 hours, I was on a cliff in my underwear kissing Hugh Jackman in New Zealand. I had no time to prepare.” One “problem” arose during filming: Mr. Jackson told her that her outfits weren’t skimpy enough to appeal to Wolverine. Ms. Collins responded, “[Expletive deleted.] OK. Whatever.” Mr. Jackman then told her, “So, we found something for you. We put it in your trailer. Can you please try it on?” Ms. Collins found the new outfit—it was a definitely skimpy silver Spandex dress that did NOT cover the essentials that a dress usually covers. She put on the dress, and with some creative adjusting got it to cover the essentials, but when she opened the door to her trailer and peeked out, Mr. Jackman and lots of other people laughed at her. Mr. Jackman then said, “April Fool’s.” Mr. Jackman liked her response to the practical joke: “I love that you put it on and didn’t slap me in the face.
On July 6, 1936, 17-year-old Bob Feller got to pitch in an exhibition game for the Cleveland Indians as they played the St. Louis Cardinals. Bob used his blazing fastball as he struck out Leo Durocher in three pitches. Yes, Bob’s fastball was blazing, but another thing that helped him was an occasional lack of control that allowed the ball to go toward the batter instead of the catcher, as previous batters had learned. After striking out, Leo went to the dugout and hid behind the water cooler while yelling at Bob, “You can’t hit me from here!” Bob was capable of joking around as well. Later, he used to attach noisy—but harmless—bombs to the cars of guests attending parties at his home. Some bombs made a bang when the owners started their cars, and some bombs that were attached to the tires made bangs as the cars traveled down the road.
Paul Newman and Robert Redford starred together in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Sting, and they were friends. As a joke birthday present, Mr. Redford sent Mr. Newman a totally demolished Porsche. Mr. Newman had the car compacted into a 1-foot metal cube and then had it placed in Mr. Redford’s living room—like a piece of sculpture. Mr. Newman enjoyed driving racecars, and he once had the logo of his racing competitor Bob Tullius painted upside down on a garbage truck and then driven around the racecourse. Mr. Tullius got back at Mr. Newman by persuading a couple of Georgia police officers to pull Mr. Newman over and threaten to detain him because of his crime of “impersonating an actor.”
The Marx Brothers and Charlie Chaplin were, as you would expect, practical jokers. When they were in vaudeville, the Marx Brothers gave Mr. Chaplin a free ticket to their show. He showed up, but all during their act he ignored them and read a newspaper. Mr. Chaplin then gave the Marx Brothers free tickets to see him, but the Marx Brothers gave the tickets to some Hasidic Jews. Mr. Chaplin thought that the Marx Brothers had dressed up as Hasidic Jews with long beards and black hats and black clothing, and he performed magnificently, but the Hasidic Jews weren’t into comedy, and they left in the middle of his performance.
While ill in a hospital, Robert Benchley had a doctor who walked into his room each morning and asked, “And how are we this morning?” Being a humorist, Mr. Benchley asked a friend to bring him some glue, which he applied to his posterior. He then applied feathers from his pillow to the glue. The next morning, when the doctor asked him how we were doing, Mr. Benchley replied, “I don’t think we’re doing so well,” and showed the doctor his posterior. A different friend smuggled a jar of live guppies into the hospital and put them in his bedpan, making his nurse’s life more exciting.
Senator Griffin was the equipment manager for the Dodgers. When the team was playing an away game, very often he and a friend would play a practical joke on hotel personnel. After checking out, he and the friend would hail a taxi, and when the taxi came Mr. Griffin would say (loudly, so the hotel personnel could hear him), “By the way, did you turn off the tub?” The friend would reply, “I thought you did.” Mr. Griffin would then shrug and say, “Doesn’t matter. By the time the water gets to the elevator shaft, we’ll be a hundred miles from here. Go ahead, driver.”
British celebrity Jeremy Beadle was known for his pranks. For example, he used to go to work, stand out of the sight of other people, and imitate birdcalls. When he met Tony Elliott, founder of the magazine Time Out, he made a memorable entrance. He somersaulted into Mr. Elliott’s office, stood up, and grabbed his (own) crotch—something that Mr. Elliott calls “a very characteristic gesture” for Mr. Beadle. Mr. Elliott remembers his late friend fondly: “Jerry was just such great fun to be with. He had an enormous amount of time for everyone.”
Pianist J.W. “Blind” Boone owned a watch that cost $1,000, an enormous amount of money at the time. He used the watch to play a practical joke on children, whom he told that the watch could foretell the future. In 1888, he told one group of children that the watch had told him that Benjamin Harrison would defeat Grover Cleveland and become President of the United States. In fact, Harrison did defeat Cleveland, and so the children believed that Blind Boone’s watch could predict the future.
David Garrick, the famous 18th-century actor, once entered a coach, but the coach driver refused to move until three other passengers had climbed aboard. Therefore, Mr. Garrick surreptitiously got out of the coach three times and ostentatiously—appearing to be three different people—got aboard it. Thinking the coach was full, the driver drove off.
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