Walter Mencken 11 a.m., Nov. 27
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A Fools Bucket List
Various pranks that have been done locally, on April Fools Day.
April Fools Day passed, and it's the first one I can remember, where I didn't do any pranks.
I just didn't care enough to think of any.
A lot of people don't realize how to prank. My friend Maria once started dating a guy with diabetes. She called me and told me she was at the hospital with him once, and that he had his foot amputated.
A few days later, I asked how he was doing. She said, "Oh, I was just joking about that."
I didn't see the humor.
Someone told me that KGB's morning radio show was talking about various pranks. One of theirs, got them on a world wide list of best pranks. I remember it well.
They said the space shuttle was landing at one of the small airports in town. Thousands of people showed up. The cops were mad. And, I was even madder.
First of all, because I worked at a competing radio station. And, I thought it was an obvious prank that only idiots would fall for. Second, the FCC had issued a statement, telling morning radio shows not to do any pranks, because years earlier a station said the Rolling Stones were playing a small concert at a tiny club, and the people that showed up first for tickets could get in. So many people rushed up there, and a car hit a motorcyclist, killing him. The FCC said if any radio stations do pranks, they'll be fined (if people are hurt).
Our program director told us not to do any. So, Toon Town had just opened up at Disneyland, and they had asked if our morning show would broadcast live from there, which we did (the highlight of that morning for us was an interview with the annoying Gilbert Gottfried).
I'm at the Disney Hotel later that morning getting ready to go out with my girlfriend, and I see KGB on CNN, and talk of their prank.
The following year, though, I convinced my boss to let our morning show do a prank.
There was a band called Rhino Bucket, and they sounded a lot like AC/DC. So, I had a friend who was recently on a vacation in Australia, give me the phone number of an old guy that lived there.
We pretended he was the original AC/DC singer, Bon Scott (we needed an authentic accent). We said that AC/DC faked his death, because they saw how successful The Doors and Jimi Hendrix had gotten, because of their deaths at age 27.
And, we made up this story on how Bon Scott gets 8% of everything AC/DC makes, and that's made him millions over the years, but he now wants to perform again, and the band is threatening to sue him.
We played a Rhino Bucket song, saying it was the latest from his band, which he was calling "Bon Fire". The calls we got were amazing. Of course, a few said, "That's Rhino Bucket. Is this a joke or something?" We just didn't play those calls on the air.
My friend Peg, who was the afternoon DJ at the time, told me weeks later, she was getting calls from people wondering about "Bon Fire." She had no clue what they were talking about (most afternoon DJs aren't awake before noon, let alone early enough to hear the morning show).
I think that year, KGB did a more low-key April Fools Day prank, and one I think is funnier than the shuttle landing.
They gave a location of where a truck carrying a whale to Sea World had broken down. They said that water was needed to keep the animal alive, and if anyone could bring buckets of water to that location, until the truck is fixed, it would help.
Hundreds showed up. A few called, asking if it had to be "salt water."
And, where was the location? It was right off the I-5, where that whale is painted on the side of a building near Sea World.
A few that pulled up and saw that, realized it was April Fool's. A few others theatened to sue, claiming they missed work.