Two Bombs Found in a Piano

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The Montgomery Advertiser has run a report stating that two explosive devices were recently found at a property in the city of Millbrook (Alabama, US).

Authorities received a call from a man who said he had discovered two suspicious devices when cleaning his piano.

Bomb squads were sent to the address and two “crude, pipe bomb like” objects were found. Police are questioning the occupier of the house (the same person who originally called the police), with a possible view to pressing charges.

This was a very serious incident, however no one was hurt. Local residents suffered some anxiety and considerable disruption.

This “find” is a stark contrast to the somewhat more encouraging discovery of 913 gold coins in a 1904 Broadwood, a few months ago.

You never know what you are going to find hidden in a piano. So please let us know if you’ve come across anything of interest secreted away in your old upright.


I am going to add a short supplement to this news item. This is at the risk of being accused of gross insensitivity and the use of inappropriate material. However, as no one was hurt in the above incident, I’ll take that risk.

The “bomb-in-a piano” scenario has featured many times in the movies and on TV—nearly always in a slapstick context.

One of the first occurrences of this “device” was in the Keystone comedy The Fatal High C (1914). Anarchists plant a bomb in a piano in order to kill the local constable’s wife. You can probably work out how the bomb was triggered from the film’s title. It’s a Mack Sennett comedy.

In the Laurel and Hardy movie Swiss Miss (1938), a bomb was also supposed to be triggered by the playing of a particular piano key. Director Hal Roach, however, removed the scene from the final cut (against Stan Laurel’s wishes).

Looney Tunes did incorporate the idea. They used the exploding piano scenario in several of their cartoons, repeating the same joke, linked to exactly the same tune!

The piano Juliette Binoche (Hana) plays in the Oscar-winning film The English Patient (1996) is also rigged with a bomb.

More recently the idea was used in the 2008 movie remake of the TV series Get Smart. Here a bomb is hidden in a piano, and is destined to explode at the end of an orchestral rendition of Ode to Joy.

Do send in any other examples you know about.

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