The filming of pranks has a history that reaches back to the very earliest days of cinema. In fact, the very first comic bit ever commited to film was the acting out of a prank. L’Arroseur Arrose (The sprinkler sprinkled) was filmed in 1895 by the Lumiere brothers.
This sort of mishchief film became a standard approach to early comedy. Here is another one.
I suppose this next one could be considered a prank film, even though it’s interesting that the prankster is supposed to be dead.
Animated films continued the tradition of characters creating mishchief. Here is Felix the Cat playing the rascal.
When television was young, the prank film returned. Allen Funt brought us the great “Candid Camera” Now, the pranks were being properly played on unsuspecting people. What is wonderful is that it is just as funny now as it ever was.
Thanks to youtube, we are living in the golden age of prank videos. It is arguable that the Japanese are the very best at them. Here is an excellent example.