I realize we've drifted a bit from the original post, but the discussion of faking out people with non-functional buttons reminded me of a passage from the book "The Fabulous Phonograph", by Roland Gelatt. It's a history of sound recording up until the 50's, mostly focusing on classical music.
The author is discussing Victor records and their first electrical recordings with Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra:
"From the same source in 1927 and 1928 came a half dozen issues that set a world standard for reproduced sound... Stokowski was not content merely to conduct and leave all else to the engineers. Microphone placement, the seating arrangement of his orchestra, sound reflectors, monitoring panels - the entire paraphernalia of recording intrigued him. It has been said, indeed, that he became too intrigued and dabbled so persistently in the deep waters of electrical engineering that Victor had to appease his lust by providing him with a set of control dials next to the podium that were connected to absolutely nothing."
So, this may be one of the oldest tricks of the trade.