6 of The Best April Fools' Day Pranks Ever Pulled on the Dupes of Dallas

Welcome to naive people's hell.
Welcome to naive people's hell. iStock
This Sunday is no ordinary April Fools' Day. It's an April Fools' Day that's also on Easter Sunday. Such an occurrence hasn't appeared on the Gregorian calendar since 1956 and it won't happen again until 2029.

This is a perfect time to pull a prank if you're the kind of shameless jokester who knows a perfect distraction when they see one. It's also the worst time if you're the kind of person who gets targeted by pranksters every April 1.

So if you're the latter, then you might want to go through some of these classics from our city's long history of pulling pranks on the population. Keep one eye out for similar warning signs that could lead to possible pranks and another eye on the calendar to remind you what time of year it is when your ears hear something too unbelievable to be true.

1. Mark Cuban's Fake Ref Fight

The eccentric and vocal Dallas Mavericks' owner has had more than a few verbal altercations with the refs on his court, but he took it up a notch on April 1, 2003, when he actually put his hands on a "ref" and got into a physical throwdown during a game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Cuban (surprise!) doesn't like the ref's call so he steps onto the court and starts verbally assaulting him. Then he pushes the ref a couple of times during a furious exchange of words before the ref appears to lose his composure and starts pushing Cuban. The two then jump at each other with a flying mist of flailing arms and fists before some Mavericks' players step in to separate the two. The crowd not only went nuts, but people who were watching the game live on Fox Sports probably thought they were witnessing another Latrell Spreewell moment before the American Airlines Center's announcer revealed that the ref involved in the fight was an actor and the whole thing was just an April Fools' joke.

Kathy Tran
2. Emporium Pies' "Mean Green Pie"
There are a few sacred cows in Dallas culture that no one should ever mess with unless they really need a good ass kicking. You don't make fun of the Cowboys unless, you know, they kind of deserve it. You never play "Keep Away" with a DART cop's tazer. And you never, EVER make fun of Emporium Pies. 

The We Denton Do It blog flirted with this hard and fast rule but still pulled off an epic foodie prank in 2016 that not only got the hopes up of Denton's hungry masses, but they also threw in a nice shot at UNT football fans and lovers of patriotic symbols. The blog reported in 2016 that Emporium Pies would open a fourth location in Denton and add a special pie to their menu to honor the occasion called the "Mean Green Pie." The special pie wouldn't just honor the North Texas Mean Green with its name. The special filling of "hard to find eagle meat" would make it twice as honorable. The readers clearly understood that the "eagle meat pie" was a joke based on the blog post's comments but the hopes the blog dashed with fake news about a Denton location were met with cries of "that's just wrong! :(," "SO CRUEL" and "is this a joke? part joke? don't joke about pies !!!!" So I guess the lesson is...sorry, eagles. You're no longer as American as pie.

3. iHeartRadio Becomes iHarpRadio

The once giant broadcast radio empire pulled an ingenious prank in 2015 by announcing a new online station that would compete with the growing competition brought by streaming services and online podcasts. Considering that iHeartRadio is now facing a looming bankruptcy, it's a shame that it didn't work.

The radio broadcaster that still has a strongfold in Dallas posted a video on its YouTube station and social media channels that they would offer a new online station called "iHarpRadio" that would offer (you guessed it) all harp music, all the time. However, it wouldn't just crank out the usual, bougeois harp music fare like Elias Parish Alvars's "La Danse des fées, Op 76" or Germaine Tailleferre's "Le Petit livre de harpe de Madame Tardieu." Their station would try to bring hip youngsters to the new format by showing them how much you can rock and thrash on a harp with covers of Katy Perry's "Roar," Sam Smith's "Stay With Me" and John Legend's "All of Me." It's funny, but you just know that at least one harp fan had their heart ripped out of their chest as soon as they heard someone say "April Fool's!" 

4. Terry Dorsey's Name Change
The legendary Dallas broadcaster who passed away in 2015 was well known for his pranks — well, if you actually lived in the city limits for any stretch of time. The rest of the country wasn't so sure when he pulled off an epic prank with the help of Texas Motor Speedway.

The KSCS morning show DJ cooked up a fake press release in 2010 with the help of TMS officials that Dorsey would legally change his name to as part of a deal with TMS President Eddie Gossage. The name change would net Dorsey a $10,000 prize and the right to carry the name of his raceway's website on all of Dorsey's legal documents. Dorsey confirmed the story on his radio show that he would accept the offer after talking it over with his very patient and understanding wife. Pretty soon, the national news wires picked up the story before anyone had a chance to yell "April Fool's!" and news shows and networks like ESPN, NBC's Today, Fox News and CNN as well as countless newspapers including USA Today and even a newspaper in Romania had to issue corrections and retractions to the story. Even if they believed the story was real, they would have known it was a prank since the first letter of each paragraph in the press release spelled out "April Fool."

click to enlarge WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Wikimedia Commons

5. Parade of Flesh's Hall and Oates Hoax
The indie music show promoter has done an awesome job of bringing an eclectic mix of unique acts and shows in both music and comedy to the Dallas area. However, they scored an epic coup that gave a giant middle finger to the likes to Ticketmaster and their convenience charging minions when they announced a special last minute show in 2011 featuring the '80s greatest electric guitar rock duo.

According to our archives, Parade of Flesh posted a notice on their blog announcing that Hall and Oates would playing "a last-minute, free performance at Club Dada" scheduled on the same night of the post. The group scored the duo after the two came to Dallas for a wedding and decided to ask them if they'd be interested in doing a quick show for their Dallas fanbase. The joke quickly unraveled as you read further down the announcement that the other bands on the playlist included "Cocky Americans and the disbanded League of Fucking Decency" and how no H&O merch would be available for sale since the duo "only planned on playing the Friday morning wedding and then hanging out in West End afterwords [sic]; they were thinking abou [sic] going to the Dallas World Aquarium and then maybe go eat at Hooter's." Now that was mean. It's been my dream to eat substandard chicken wings with Hall and Oates since I was but a wee lad with a perm.

6. Meet Noah W. Bailey, Food Critic
April Fool's Day was made for the alternative press and the Dallas Observer pulled one off in 2010 by announcing its newest, high-profile hire.

The Observer announced that local junk food critic and high sodium consumer Noah W. Bailey would be moving on up to the big leagues as the paper's lead food critic. The editors made the contentious decision despite the fact that the portly writer of the Dude Food column did not enjoy vegetables of any make or model except for potatoes and how the move would "mark a change in direction for the paper's food criticism." Some of the sweeping changes would include new weekly receipes that usually only involved bacon and a microwave, exclusive, yearlong coverage of all of Dallas' barbecue restaurants and absolutely no others and a new "scatalogical slideshow entitled 'How It Looked Coming Out.'"
KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.