Fooled You! The Golden Age of Practical Jokes

Devilishly clever tech-related April Fools’ pranks? Sorry, we’re abstaining from pulling the wool over anyone’s eyes this year–you’ll need to look elsewhere. Frankly, the golden age of practical jokes in America was decades ago–and its epicenter was the Johnson-Smith Catalog, an amazing compendium with hundreds of pages of jokes, tricks, novelties, and just plain weird stuff. Here’s a sampling of items from the 1950 edition. Betcha all the items in here saw heavy use exactly sixty years ago today…


  1. BADSIDEEFEX April 1, 2010 at 2:51 am #

    Practical jokes always work best when someone gets hurt. HeHeHe

  2. FB April 1, 2010 at 3:09 am #

    I’m not sure that is a cig. I think it’s in her nose and it must be one of those glass bulb boogers. She ought to have seen this one coming…

  3. Savory Tv April 1, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    Stellar post! Great finds with the vintage ads. I feel immature saying this, but the nose bubble is freaking hilarious. Cheers!

  4. treekeep April 1, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    Wonderful fun for April 1 – the idea, the drawings and most of all the commentary.

  5. Dave Mackey April 2, 2010 at 8:18 pm #

    The Archie McPhee company seems to have taken up the spiritual mantle of Johnson Smith.

  6. thompson coupon code July 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    hahaha you got me !