GRZNY (AP)—A group of Serbian rape camp prisoners, held captive and brutally victimized by the Serbs since early 1994, fell victim again yesterday, this time to Dick Clark’s outrageous TV’s Bloopers and Prac-tical Jokes. An estimated two dozen prisoners were duped by the Bloopers crew, who for years have delighted American TV audiences with their outrageous, perfectly laid pranks.
First to be tricked by the Bloopers gang was prisoner Katrina Milosevic, a Tuzla-area seamstress.
As Bloopers spokesperson Teri Norris explained: “We had Jack Haynes, a Hollywood actor, dress up as a U.N. soldier and pretend to liberate the camp. He went over to Katrina and about a dozen other prisoners—all of whom were also hired actors—and announced they were free. They all started celebrating and jumping up and down, including Katrina. She was completely fooled!”
“I truly thought I was free from this horrible place,” Milosevic said. “When I found out I was on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, it was like dying a thousand deaths.”
The Serbian Bloopers, scheduled to air this Friday at 8 p.m. on NBC, is expected to be the most successful international episode of the show since Nov. 7, 1993, when fake relief packs were airdropped over Rwanda.
“The packs were labeled ‘Delicious Filling Food’,” Norris said. “But when they cut them open, it was just sand. You should have seen their reaction!”
Also duped yesterday was Rodja Ilsovic, 34, a dishwasher from Grzny. Ilsovic was escorted by her boyfriend, Gheorghe Duresan, to a fake Italian restaurant, carefully constructed by the Bloopers crew.
“We sat down to eat, and all of a sudden, these bombs went off and the restaurant walls started exploding in flames,” Duresan said. “We all screamed, ‘It’s a Serb attack! We are going to die!’ Rodja fell for it completely and started crying and screaming herself.”
When told she was on TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes, Ilsovic cried even harder. “I guess she was overwhelmed at the thought of being on national TV,” Duresan said.
According to Norris, the Serbian camp is an ideal place for the show’s famous brand of trickery.
“These prisoners are perfect. For years they have desperately hoped that they will be saved,” Norris said. “As such, they’re susceptible to being duped, often with hilarious results.”
Among the most successful pranks was one pulled off against Gorazde’s Krizia Sabonis. A mother of five, Sabonis was tricked by a “Serb official” (in reality a paid actor) into thinking her two youngest children were killed when their elementary school was firebombed. “They had a fake telegram and everything,” Sabonis said. “I really thought Toni and Mlodan were dead.”
According to observers, the prisoners were ill-prepared for such wild scheming. “For years, these prisoners have been brutally tortured mentally and physically, relentlessly preyed upon by their captors,” New York Times Bosnia correspondent Roger Moresay said. “But that can’t possibly compare to being the prey of the out-of-this-world pranks of TV’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes.”