Fool's School: Legendary 'Burgh Pranks

Looking for some inspiration on April Fool’s Day? Check out these legendary Pittsburgh pranks.



Illustration by Patrick Neil

SUPERSTAR TREATMENT

In 2007, when the Pittsburgh Penguins visited Toronto, more than 15,000 fans attended the pregame practice at Air Canada Centre hoping to catch a glimpse of Sidney Crosby. Sure enough, Sid the Kid skated out of the tunnel and raised his stick to a chorus of cheers.

Only it wasn’t the Penguins’ baby-faced superstar under the famous No. 87 sweater; it was bearded scrapper Max Talbot in disguise. “It was pretty weird,” Talbot said. “At first they were screaming for me, and then it was, ‘Who’s that guy?’” Naturally, the ruse was the brainchild of wisecracking goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

ORIGINAL PRANKSTER

Did you know that one of the most famous hoaxers in American history was born here? In 1877, an article appeared in newspapers across the country claiming that the remains of George Washington had turned to stone, “resembling a statue.”

Public hysteria forced The New York Herald to publish a notice citing the article as a hoax. The reporting was attributed to an unnamed correspondent of the San Francisco Chronicle believed to be Joseph Mulhattan—traveling salesman by day, infamous news-media prankster by night. Mulhattan, whom The New York Times branded “The Prince of Liars,” grew up in what is now Pittsburgh’s North Side.

…COMES AROUND

Unsmiling Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Famer Jack Lambert was known as “Dracula in Cleats,” but that didn’t stop former backup quarterback Terry Hanratty from having fun at Jack Splat’s expense during the 1975 season. Hanratty booby-trapped Lambert’s locker so that when the toothless linebacker pulled down his shoulder pads from the top shelf, he was drenched with cups of water.
Lambert had the last laugh when Hanratty returned to Three Rivers Stadium in 1976 as a member of the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “I’m calling the blitz on every play,” Lambert warned his former teammate. The Steel Curtain tossed Hanratty around like a rag doll in a 42-0 laugher.

 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in May

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in May

These are the things we guarantee are worth your time, from dog walks to barbecues.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Our exclusive list of the region's 584 leading physicians across 76 specialities.
Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Follow eight physicians over two days as they perform surgeries, consult on end-of-life care, treat accident victims, discuss hospital programs –– and then reset and do it all over again.
The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chef Dennis Marron designs a menu of modern-American fare at The Commoner in the downstairs space of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Well-Deserved honors for Pittsburgh's Ultimate TV Cook

Well-Deserved honors for Pittsburgh's Ultimate TV Cook

They're throwing a party to honor Chris Fennimore and you're invited.
Pittsburgh Gets Shout-Out from 249 Miles Up

Pittsburgh Gets Shout-Out from 249 Miles Up

It seems the crew of the International Space Station had something on their minds as they did a flyby over the three rivers.
Stargazing: 4 Downtown Hangouts Up On the Roof

Stargazing: 4 Downtown Hangouts Up On the Roof

Pittsburgh is adding to its list of rooftop establishments where you can find a food, drink, live music and more.
Popular Lawrenceville Restaurant Won't Stay Closed for Long

Popular Lawrenceville Restaurant Won't Stay Closed for Long

A new owner is making plans to transform Tamari.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in May

Pittsburgh's Top 10 Things to Do in May

These are the things we guarantee are worth your time, from dog walks to barbecues.
Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Our exclusive list of the region's 584 leading physicians across 76 specialities.
Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Follow eight physicians over two days as they perform surgeries, consult on end-of-life care, treat accident victims, discuss hospital programs –– and then reset and do it all over again.
The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chef Dennis Marron designs a menu of modern-American fare at The Commoner in the downstairs space of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

How will the city’s new planning director stoke Pittsburgh’s next generation of developments?
Dare to be Different — PittGirl's Better Ways to Use Social Media

Dare to be Different — PittGirl's Better Ways to Use Social Media

You can use social media to change your life and the lives of those around you in a positive way.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module