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KELLY: ‘Balloon boy’ best prank ever

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Jack KellySo it looks like that whole Balloon boy thing was a hoax. I’ll never get back those three hours I spent glued to the TV in the Straz Hall lobby. Whatever. It’s still better than watching a Rams game.

Balloon boy captivated cable news networks and the public Thursday, when the homemade balloon he was supposedly in led America on a 50-mile chase above Colorado.

Turns out Falcon Heene, the six-year-old boy with the reigning Best Name in the World, was hiding in a cardboard box in the attic the whole time.

People are still upset. Questions have arisen over whether the Heenes should keep custody of their children or if they were trying to pitch reality show ideas to TLC, the station that hosts that “Jon and Kate Plus 8” abomination.

Falcon’s parents have already appeared on the show “Wife Swap,” which said about the Heenes: “When the Heene family (isn’t) chasing storms, they devote their time to scientific experiments that include looking for extraterrestrials and building a research-gathering flying saucer to send into the eye of the storm.”

Just like my family.

His parents’ insanity aside, people are missing a huge point in this story. This isn’t about news outlets fact checking, or why you’d take your young children storm chasing. This was one of the all-time greatest pranks.

These days it’s tough to pull off something of this magnitude. For that, they should be congratulated. Rewarded, even.

Let’s see what crazy schemes these people can cook up if we give them a season of TV shows and a full budget.

Pranking is an age old practice. And I, for one, love a good prank.

In honor of the Heenes’ historic achievement, here are a few of my favorite pranks/hoaxes.

Orson Welles — War of the Worlds

In 1938, Orson Welles read H.G. Wells’ novel about a Martian invasion on the air as a series of news bulletins.

The public, wary of the war in Europe, took it as fact and panicked. Of the 6 million who heard the broadcast, 1.7 million believed Earth was actually under Martian attack, according to one historian’s estimate.

Sports Illustrated — Sidd Finch

On April Fools’ Day 1985, Sports Illustrated pulled a fast one on its entire readership. George Plimpton wrote a cover story on Hayden Siddhartha Finch, a rookie pitcher training for the Mets.

The story said Sidd Finch could throw the ball 168 mph, wore only one hiker’s boot and couldn’t decide whether to pitch in the majors or pursue a career playing the French horn. Two weeks later SI announced Finch was a joke.

Prank calling

When I was in sixth grade, my maturity-challenged friends and I loved prank calling so much that * – 6 – 7 preceded almost every number we dialed.

We would call adults we knew and listen to them freak out and yell at us to our endless amusement.

Or we’d look up people with funny last names and butcher the pronunciations (Our favorite, from the parish directory: Mr. and Mrs. Fuchs).

April Fools’ revenge

When I was in second grade, my parents woke my siblings and me and told us that instead of having a day off school like we thought, our principal called and said the schedule was wrong and we actually had school. We got dropped off and the place was completely empty.

My parents turned around in our car and yelled “Happy April Fools’!” I couldn’t let that rest. So I got my little brother and sisters together and hatched a genius plan.

We took every article of clothing our parents owned out of their closets and stuffed them under our beds. Several hundred dollars of dry cleaning bills later, they finally saw the humor.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “KELLY: ‘Balloon boy’ best prank ever”

  1. steve kelly on October 20th, 2009 11:29 am

    I guess I should come clean….I took the dry cleaning bill out of your college savings fund…Dad

  2. Jack Off on October 20th, 2009 10:27 pm

    My favorite prank was jacking-off on your girlfriend’s face

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