I suspect that the notion of a prank kit was spawned from the success of magic sets and disguise kits. I love the notion that one price will buy you everything needed for an outrageous evening of laffs. So just what are the ultimate fun-makers that make up this prankster's plunder, this duper's depot, this gagster's gallery, this kidder's cache??? Take a look!...
I sincerely hope that at least one jokester actually cycled through these gags at some pretentious gathering 40 years ago.
I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at each piece of this trickster's trove (okay, I'll stop.) and see how they appear in the "real world," all set up for a madcap evening.
Okay. You're a socially defective numbskull who's ready to start winning over a room full of socialites. Your first step is to stick this faucet on the TV. It's a an easy move and you're guaranteed to get reactions like...
"Whoa, I must be seeing things!"
"Get out of town!"
"I've heard of [something to do with water and television] before but this is ridiculous!"
Now you're on your way.
Now that you've bewildered them.. it's time to play upon their fears. The guest with the smallest bladder will be justly punished by way of an encounter with the horrific Spook Hand. Watch as they flee the bathroom in a state of partial undress. Once the shock and humiliation dissipates, the laffs begin to bubble. You're slowly becoming a hero.
Next, it's time to blast everyone's mind with this ghastly syringe illusion. The stunt won't necessarily make sense in the context of a party, but what's important is that everyone is paying attention to you. They'll be thoroughly disgusted, yet inexplicably drawn to you. I promise.
Just as you're explaining the principle behind the Hypno-Phony to the relieved crowd you'll hear the hostess shouting from the kitchen in a rage. She just went for more paper cups and discovered that somehow the authorities have condemned her cupboard, of all things. As she gives up and heads for the chinaware you approach the cabinet and effortlessly remove the lock. The party goes nuts! Yup.. you're at it again. And with this you've made it abundantly clear to the entire guest list that you are simply...the king.
But, wait.. Who's the blabbermouth in the back of the room who thinks he's charming the group with his pathetic anecdotes and name dropping? (while stealing your thunder) Pull the pre-wound chatter teeth from your coat pocket and let 'em go on a nearby surface. Fold your arms and maintain a smug expression. Watch the conversationalist start to stutter as a proverbial light is shone on his shallow ways. You just made a statement without saying a word. He'll have to run out of the room to chase down his date. And once again... it's all you.
You, the new "life of the party," have the attendees eating out of your hand.. waiting for you to lead them into further delight. No doubt, by now you're ready to finally proclaim your "true feelings" for that certain someone whom you've been eyeing all evening. (though, at this point you could really have any woman in the room.) Time to simply wind up the beating heart gag (which is actually the same mechanism as the chattering teeth) and watch her laugh.. right into your arms.
With this the party is as good as over. You just dominated the social scene and found a life partner. All thanks to a little mail-order ad that caught your eye a few months ago...
This fancy color ad is from a 1960 Bancroft's catalog. It really plays up the "spooky" factor (as though the beating heart is supposed to be frightening). I think "two million shivers" is pushing it (and that's a two-to-one shiver to laugh ratio). Looks like those ad wizards did it again.
"What this world needs is a good laugh." A timeless sentiment indeed. Well, I hope you've enjoyed this "explosion of rollicking humor."