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Book Cover: Compleat Practical Joker The Compleat Practical Joker
Doubleday and Company, 1953

On a night when a couple inches of snow had fallen, Hugh Troy and one of his friends went out on the Cornell campus with a rhinoceros-foot wastepaper basket. They had filled it with scrap metal to give it weight, and they had attached a length of clothesline to either side of it. Now they moved across the campus, each holding an end of the clothesline at a distance of perhaps thirty feet from the rhinoceros foot. Carefully they raised and lowered it to make rhinoceros tracks at the proper intervals in the snow.
When the campus awoke the next morning the strange tracks were found. Professors who knew about animals were summoned, and they inspected the tracks and exclaimed over them. "Gad, Whitley!" they cried. "It's a rhinoceros!"
The trail of the rhinoceros was followed. It led across the campus and down to the shore of Beebee Lake, from which the University gets its water supply. The lake was frozen over, and the rhinoceros tracks led out across the ice to a point about fifty feet from shore and ended at a large gaping hole.
There wasn't much to be done about it. The local newspapers trumpeted the story, and almost at once half the population of Cornell quit drinking tap water. Those who continued to drink it swore that they could taste rhinoceros in it.

--from chapter 11, "Genius at Work"

Wow. The Compleat Practical Joker is nothing but stories about various pranks that have been perpetrated over the years (the years before 1953, anyway.) As evidenced in the excerpt above, the point of view is very "educated white males pulling stunts". One can imagine these fellows settling into leather chairs at the club, discussing past hijinks over cigars and brandy:
"I say! Jolly clever, wot?"
"Jolly clever indeed."