Fool Your Friends! Childhood Fun With Gags and Magic Tricks

When I was a kid there was a store in town, called House of Toys.  It’s long-gone.  But it was a big toy store, needless to say, with a HUGE selection of model cars and such.  Does anyone still build models?  Somehow I doubt it.

In any case, near the cash register was always a rotating rack filled with “magic tricks” and “gags.”  On top was a cardboard sign that said ‘Fool Your Friends!’  It was all sorts of stuff made by a company called Adams, and I was perpetually intrigued.

Included in this collection would always be trick playing cards, double-headed quarters, fake ice cubes with flies inside, soap that turned your skin black, fake barf, fake dog shit, fake bugs, hand buzzers, loaded dice, candles that would re-light themselves, mustard bottles with a yellow string that came shooting out, whoopee cushions, rubber chocolate, Chinese handcuffs, cans of mixed nuts with leaping “snakes” inside, etc.

And even though I perused this rack a million times, and the lineup rarely changed, I felt compelled to make a beeline to it whenever I was in the store.  Because it was all so freaking cool.

However… I can’t really remember buying too much of it.  I looked at it all the time, but didn’t actually make a lot of purchases.

I do recall buying a pen filled with “invisible ink.”  You’d write a message on a piece of paper, and nobody could see it.  Until you waved a lit match underneath, that is…  Then the super-secret message would be revealed.  I seem to remember it running out of ink around Day Two.  And my brother and I nearly burning down the house.

I also had a small booklet from that rack, filled with so-called gags.  It was illustrated with artwork that surely pre-dated World War II, and the language was peppered with phrases from when my grandparents were kids, or thereabouts.

I remember pulling one of the gags, and my parents getting really pissed about it.  It was in a restaurant, probably Shoney’s.  I took a glass of water, held the menu tight to the rim, and turned it over.  I then returned it to the table, and yanked out the menu. So, there was a glass full of water, upside-down in the middle of the table.  My mom and dad didn’t see the humor in it, whisper-yelled for five minutes, and apologized to the waitress about their retarded son, or whatever.

And I remember my brother having a bottle of Morning Breeze, which was a super-powerful fart smelling substance, housed inside a fake perfume bottle.  We’d walk around stores splashing a little on the floor, and watching the comedy take hold.  Freaking hilarious.  Man, that stuff smelled horrible…  Like you were trapped inside a phone booth with a giant egg salad fart.

But the best was the cigarette loads.  Both my parents smoked in those days, and we’d put these little white slivers into their cigs, and just wait.  I’m surprised they didn’t beat the shit out of us, because when the explosions went off they were LOUD.  And we did it all the time, yet they didn’t get too mad at us.

Until they’d had enough…

One day we were in Shoney’s (again), and my mom lit up a cigarette after dinner.  Immediately the end blew off, and every head in the restaurant turned our way.  My parents had officially run out of patience, probably because of the embarrassment factor, and told us we’d better knock it off.  And the tone of the message was clear:  we’re serious as a cancer heart attack.  Next time you’re gonna regret it, dumbasses.

We promised we’d stop, and my mother pinched off the damaged part of her cig (heh), and fired it up again.  And within ten seconds: KAPOW!  It went off a second time.  We’d double-loaded the thing!  And the second one was a doozy.  It sounded like a firecracker, and my Mom was just sitting there with a smoldering filter in her mouth, and little bits of paper and tobacco in her hair, and all over the table.

I almost caused myself to have a seizure trying not to laugh.  There was a tense second or two, and my dad finally cracked up.  The place had gone completely quiet, and every single person in that restaurant was looking at us.  And my mother was NOT amused. But my dad was laughing, and so were we.  However, we never used the cigarette loads again.  It’s a wonder we made it home alive.

Do you have any experience with these kinds of “gags?”  From the Adams rack, or anything similar…  If so, please tell us about it.  Use the comments link below.

And I’ll see you guys again tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Now playing in the bunker
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  1. Joel says

    I used to love that kind of stuff. I once bought a gag called “The Nickle and the Nail.” It was a nickel glued to a nail, and you were supposed to nail it into a wooden surface and laugh your ass off while unsuspecting rubes tried in vain to pick up the nickel. I paid 1.75 for a nail with a nickel glued to it, and then, because I only owned the one, I never even nailed it into anything, because I didn’t want to use it up.

    I never have been very smart with money…

    • The Kuban says

      If not, someone should start a franchise. I’d buy em.

      Although these days with everyone being so politically correct and all, I think I’d hafta do it anonymously in order to avoid the arrest for suspected terrorism or some shit. What is this world coming to??

  2. Dogberry says

    Weren’t cigarette loads the greatest?? I still employ to odd pop-n-snap sneak attack, but it’s nothing compared to a destroyed cigarette. Thanks for reminding me.

  3. Ginger says

    Hilarious! Great report.

    A few years ago, my daughter got curious about April Fool’s Day, and asked me to really get her. I asked her if she was sure, because she was only about 7, and very very sensitive. She said she was sure. When April 1st rolled around, I played all the old skool tricks on her, and she loved them, until the classic rubberband around the vegetable sprayer trigger. That sent her over the edge, and into tears. Talk about laugh-stifling self-induced seizures!

  4. Mark T. says

    I used to buy shit like that ALL THE TIME when I was a kid. There was this catalogue we’d get from the Johnson & Smith Company, and it was all stuff like that.
    I remember my brother bought a fake pack of chewing gum. It looked like a pack of Wrigley’s Double-Mint, with one stick left. You’d hold the pack out to a friend, who’d grab the last stick and pull it out, but on top of the stick was a spring-loaded mousetrap-type device that would snap down on their finger. And that thing hurt like a sonofabitch, too. My brother got my dad with that thing, and the only thing that saved him from being beaten beyond recognition was the fact that we were in church. However, the fake gum got confiscated, and was never seen again.
    One thing we got, which I still think is cool, was solidifying powder. It was a canister of this white powder, non-toxic, that would turn any liquid to a gel. You’d scoop about a teaspoon of this stuff into a glass of water, or coffee or whatever, and stir it up, and in about 3 seconds you’d have a cup of goo.
    So, I was showing this to a good friend of mine in school. I had a cup that I filled with water, stirred in the powder, and then acted like I was going to throw the water in his face. He flinched, but of course the gelatin water didn’t move, and just stuck in the cup. He thought that was cool, so I gave him some. We went over to his house after school and his mom was sitting in the living room drinking coffee. So my buddy said “Hey mom, let me show you something!”, and grabbed her coffee and put some of the magic powder in it. Welp, he didn’t use enough. Yes, the coffee still turned to gel, but it wasn’t thick enough to stay stuck in the cup. So he acted like he was going to throw the coffee at her, and she flinched, but this big wad of coffee gel popped out of the cup and splattered all over the carpet. And of course, OF COURSE, they just had brand new carpet installed. His mother’s reaction was so violent and severe I thought she was posessed.
    I wasn’t allowed back in that house for years, because my buddy naturally blamed me. But the last time I was there, sometime around our high school graduation, that brown splatter stain was still barely visible.

  5. Patty says

    My brother and I bought that stupid fake gum and that did hurt like a son of a bitch. Probably be outlawed today.

  6. says

    Everyone says popcorn kernels work just as well, but they aren’t nearly as loud. The volume of a genuine cig load in a small room is so satisfying.

  7. The Kuban says

    It took me five minutes to post this comment simply because I had to allow the tears of laughter to clear before I could make out the comment link. Holy hell that’s some funny shit.

  8. Tipsey McChugney says

    I am beginning to think that this penis enlargement therapy I bought last week from Dr. Maxman might be a gag. I just got done measuring my John Thomas, and it is exactly the same size as it was a week ago.

  9. Dave says

    Jeff, I’ve been reading you for years and that may well be one of the best entries you’ve ever posted. You painted a perfect written image of double-loading your Mom. Spectacular, my brother.

  10. madz1962 says

    Since it is allergey season, I’m just going to go on the record here and say it IS possible to blow snot multiple times while reading this post AND comments. Son of a sea monkey, that’s some side splittin’ shit.

    The only gag I remember pulling was switching the salt and sugar on April Fool’s Day. Did it once. Made a mental note to myself (at the tender age of 9) to NEVER fuck with the mother’s first cup of coffee. Ever. Again.

    Siblings, however, were a whole different playing field. My sisters and I used to play this blind folded game “Guess what I just put in your mouth” which ended on a terrible puking/crying jag when Sister A fed Sister B a spoonful of horse radish. Another time, Sister B squeezed lemon juice in my milk which curdled when I took a mouthful. That ended up across the kitchen curtains. ANd an ass beating on both of us.

  11. Clueless says

    Dang, how I wish my parents had smoked…

    Mothers just love when you throw that fake vomit and it sticks to the wall near the ceiling for a few days because when it finally falls down, it leaves a stain that doesn’t wash off and needs several coats of paint to cover.

  12. Alex says

    Cigarette loads where a blast! In college we peppered a cigar from one of the instructors. He’d join the smoking crowd every now and again for a puff on his ceegar. Hehe.

    On the front of just plain jackassery, I used to put air gaps into co-workers cigarettes. Tap out the tobacco, restuff the cigarrette (little piece of bent wire to hold the gap until you could pack it properly) and wait for them to get pissed off. One person I’d randomnly replace a short length of tobacco with a wad of (fresh) tea leaves. That one never failed to amuse everybody else around the table when they got to the wtf part of their smoke.
    In the pc room (printed circuit) we did a lot of hand soldering as well, we had nichrome wire that was the same diameter as the solder, take about 6″ of nichrome, solder it to the end of the spool and then solder about an inch of solder to the end again to throw them off …and wait for the ouch when they didn’t clue in the solder wasn’t melting.
    And then on the transforer side of the wall, the hipot tester provided amusment as well, that one I better stay quiet about, I don’t think the statute of limitations has run out to be able to tell about those… Ah the good old days, when you learned about safety by experimenting.

    • chill says

      My buddy Russ built a floor-to-ceiling Jacob’s ladder out of a neon sign transformer. Wish I’d thought of that.

  13. Erin says

    I think I damn near stroked out while laughing at the visual of your mother with her blown up cigarette. LMAO! The first one had me rolling, but the second! That was epic comedic timing, even if it did almost cost you and your brother your lives. Brilliant.

  14. dto says

    I might start smoking just so I can blow myself up now and then. Damn…what an ice breaker Fuck a pick up line. I see a cool chick stepping out for a smoke and I go light up, stand near by and then…BANG!!!…I don’t even have to inhale.

  15. dto says

    A buddy of mine would come to Vegas for the CES thing every year. He was (or is it is) a mucky-muck for Audiovox. We’d hang and he always wanted to go to this magic shop to buy stuff to take home to his kids. A guy came over and asked us if he could help us find something. Derf (Fred) said he wanted to get something for his kids. I said, “Yeah he wants them to disappear. Can you help with that?” ……crickets

  16. CIH says

    I loved that Adams stuff. I probably still have the squirting nickel somewhere. At parties, one friend always used to bum smokes off of me. Until I gave him the double loaded one. Good thing he was drunk at the time. The magic smoke from fingertips never really worked so well, but the trick decks of playing cards were great.

  17. johnnyonthespot says

    Jeff……do you remember Rita ? from the ATL ? The very first day i worked in the warehouse ( 1981 ) I loaded her cigarette……you could smoke in the w’house in those days…..I didn’t know her from adam, but saw her pack lying there in the racks and loaded her up……she never knew who did it until about 10 years later when we were tore up at a co. Christmas party……what fun….

    • Jeff says

      I remember Rita. She was cool. It’s a good thing she didn’t know who did it, though. She might’ve tried to kick your ass.

      You started there in 1981?? They were probably still shipping 8 Tracks out of there. 8 Tracks with cigarette ashes on them. Was that your first job out of high school? Man, what a cool first job…

      • johnnyonthespot says

        No, I was 25 when I started there and yes we were still shipping 8 tracks……only for a few more months however…..and yes, Rita might’ve kicked my ass……

  18. ACG says

    Cigarette loads. My sister smoked like a chimney.

    God, was she pissed. Just remembering is making me laugh again.

  19. chill says

    I saw this (Adams, I guess) stuff advertised in the back of comic books and Mad magazine, but never actually saw it in the flesh.

    The best toy store ever was Polk’s in Manhattan. I guess they’ve moved to Jersey now.

    And you know what laughed my ass off? Not the loaded cigarette, but the “giant egg salad fart”. That is pure comedy gold right there.

  20. Uncle_Wedgie says

    Did anyone try the x-ray glasses? Living in So Cal I could really put a pair of those to good (bad?) use.

  21. says

    Forget about second rate, low rent, sulfur-based fart gags. If you really want to induce people to actually gag, wretch, and in some cases actually vomit, then there’s only one choice: Liquid Ass! Some of the testimonials are hilarious.

  22. knucklehead says

    I almost just spit out my coffee. cigarette loads were the GREATEST! Jesus, you could go to jail for assault with those things now. This whiny age blows.
    My dad taught me how to short sheet a bed once, which I promptly did to their bed. He woke me up and made me re-make the bed, so that was the last time that particular gag was used.

    Happy Wednesday, Surfers!

  23. t-storm says

    We did the cigarette loads until my mom nearly killed me. WHAT IF I WAS HOLDING MICHAEL!?? (my then infant brother)

    Which seems ironic now, but whatever.

  24. bikerchick says

    My mother smoked like a campfire. One in each hand and one between her knees in case the others burned out. She would have fucking whooped my ass. Plus, with all the Aqua Net Hairspray (red can), her hair would have gone up in a puff of smoke too.

    I had whoopie cushions. My dad loved them too. What’s not to love about a big wet fart coming from your prim and proper-wear gloves to dinner-grandmother?