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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A Short List of Famous San Francisco Pranks

Posted By on Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 8:00 AM

For your April Fools' Day amusement, I offer in no particular order, three examples of San Francisco shenanigans.

If you have lived in San Francisco longer than a week and been anywhere near Fisherman's Wharf, you’re probably familiar with city institution, The Bushman. The Bushman, whose real name is David Johnson, makes his living hiding behind a few leafy branches from which he springs forth to scare the beejesus out of unsuspecting tourists. See his craft in the video above. The Bushman was once taken to court over his pranking in 2004, but was acquitted. After the jump, a feat of engineering and one punk rock mayoral candidate. (click 'more')


On Feb 5, 2001, Bay Area commuters were confronted with a massive traffic snarl on the Golden Gate Bridge. Engineering students from the University of British Columbia, who have a history of pulling pranks,suspended an intact VW Beetle beneath the bridge using a cable. The prank not only wrecked havoc on the morning commute, it stopped ships from traveling under the bridge. Authorities cut the car down, which sunk into the bay. According to the Chronicle article about the incident, the Golden Gate Bridge wasn’t even the students’ preferred target. They tried to dangle the Beetle off the Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver, but tripped a silent alarm.


Former front man for the Dead Kennedys, Jello Biafra, aka Eric Reed Boucher, ran for mayor of San Francisco in 1979 as a joke and came in fourth. His campaign slogan? 'There's Always Room for Jello.' Here's an excerpt from San Francisco based RE/Search publications (sponcers of the first ever Pranks Film Fest at the Roxy) interview with Biafra about his farcical bid for office:

My platform included banning cars from city limits, making police run for re-election in the neighborhoods they patrolled (practical idea if you ask me), and so on. Proposition 13, a tax initiative, had just passed and the city had laid off 7,000 city employees due to budget cuts. I proposed hiring them back as panhandlers on a 50% commission and sending them to rich neighborhoods and the entrances to private schools.
Happy April Fools' Day!(pic of Jello Biafra from RE/Search)-Andy Wright

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