The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
On April 1, 1957, BBC news show Panorama pranked the world by showing footage of Swiss farmers pulling spaghetti down from trees. What came to be known as ‘the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest’ had all sorts of people calling in to ask how they could plant spaghetti trees in their homes!
Instant Color TV
In 1962, Sweden had only one TV channel and it broadcasted in black and white. The channel’s tech guy Kjell Stensson, on April 1, came on air to announce that he had found a way to convert existing black and white TV sets into color. He even demonstrated the process with thousands or viewers following along step-by-step process! Stensson told the viewers that in order to convert from black and white to color, all they would have to do is cut open a pair of stockings and tape them over the screen of their TV set. Et Volia! Instant Color TV. Decades later, Stensson, who had become somewhat of a celebrity over the years, posed for a picture next to a TV set and a pair of mutilated stockings.
The Left-handed Whopper
In the April 1, 1998 issue of USA Today a Burger King advertisement claimed that the popular burger chain had created a whopper specifically for the 32 million left-handed Americans. All the condiments were said to have been rotated 180 degrees for convenience. Jim Watkins, senior vice president of Burger King at the time, even went out and send that the Left-Handed Whopper is the “ultimate ‘HAVE IT YOUR WAY’ for our left-handed customers.” The following day, the burger joint revealed that even though the ad had been a hoax, thousands had flooded Burger King restaurants requesting their own left-handed sandwich and some right-handed folks even showed up to order an exclusive right-handed version!
Close Encounter of The English Kind
On March 31 1989, London motorists were bedazzled by the sighting of a glowing unidentified flying object slowly descending and finally landing in a field outside the city. London’s finest police officers were called to the scene. One of the them approached the craft with his truncheon and when the door opened, a little figure stepped out. The officer ran in the opposite direction. The craft turned out to be a hot air balloon and the mastermind turned out to be none other than Richard Branson, chairman of Virgin Records. C’mon Richard, you can do better.
The Plight of The Flying Penguins
BBC found itself at the helm of yet another April Fool’s Day prank, this time in 2008. They claimed that flying penguins had been discovered in the Antarctic and even followed up with a video clip narrated and by presented Terry Jones. He explained that these penguins and taken to the air to “spend the winter basking in the tropical sun.” I don’t know about you but I found the video below to be very convincing.
The Loch Ness Monster Found Dead
For ages, what lurks beneath the legendary Loch Ness in Scotland has been a mystery. On April 1, 1972, newspapers baffled the world with headlines announcing that the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster, nicknamed Nessie, had been discovered. The body weighed over a ton and was 15½ feet long. The removal of the body became quite controversial as the 1933 act of Parliament prohibited the removal of “unidentified creatures” from Loch Ness. Following the controversy, hoaxer John Shields came out and admitted that he had set up the prank targeting his colleagues…but then it got out of hand. Seriously.
Bras And Broadcasts
It was announced via Daily Mail on April 1, 1982, that over 10,000 “rogue bras” had been sold. These bras were fitted with copper wires originally used in fire alarms and upon contact with nylon and body heat, it produced static electricity, interfering with local TV and radio broadcasts. One guy, a chief engineer of British Telecom, actually had his female employees disclose their bra sizes. The kinky fella…
Mount Edgecumbe Felt A Little Edgy
For residents of Sitka, Alaska, the morning of April 1, 1974 was nightmarish to say the least. They awoke to an onslaught of smoke billowing from Mount Edgecumbe. Chaos ensued and people fled their homes in desperate attempts to evade mother nature’s volcanic wrath, only to find out that it was none other than local practical joker Porky Bickar. He had slipped hundreds of old tires into one of the dormant volcano’s craters and lit them on fire. Who names their child ‘Porky’ anyway?
A Capitol Prank
In 1933, Madison Capital-Times reported that the Wisconsin state capitol building had collapsed into smithereens from explosions originating from unknown sources. The primary reason eventually cited was due to “large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers.” Despite public outrage, the hoax was named as one of the best ever by The Science Digest.
Australia was greeted by a thoroughly elaborate prank on April 1, 1975. News program This Day Tonight announced that the country would soon transition to “metric time”, where there would be 100 seconds in a minute, 100 minutes in an hour, and 20 hours in a day. They even rolled out a 10-hour metric clock and a statement from Deputy Premier Des Corcoran all in favor of the new system!