From television revealing that spaghetti grows on trees to
advertisements for the left-handed burger, the tradition of April Fool's
Day stories in the media has a weird and wonderful history.
Here are several of the top ten April Fool's Day pranks ever pulled
off, as judged by the US website of Museum of Hoaxes for their notoriety,
absurdity, and number of people duped.
Swiss spaghetti harvest tops the hoax list. In 1957, a BBC television
show announced that thanks to a mild winter and the virtual elimination of
the spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop.
Footage of Swiss farmers
pulling strands of spaghetti from trees prompted a barrage of calls from people wanting to
know how to grow their own spaghetti at home.
Instant color TV sets in Sweden comes as the third. Sweden in 1962 had
only one television channel, which broadcast in black and white. The
station's technical expert appeared on the news to announce that thanks to
a newly developed technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to
receive color pictures by pulling a nylon stocking over the screen.
US ex-president Nixon's comeback is placed at sixth. In 1992, US
National Public Radio announced that Richard Nixon was running for
president again. His new campaign slogan was, "I didn't do anything wrong,
and I won't do it again." They even had clips of Nixon announcing his
candidacy. Listeners flooded the show with calls expressing their outrage.
Nixon's voice actually turned out to be that of impersonator Rich Little.
In 1998, a newsletter titled New Mexicans for Science and Reason
carried an article that the state of Alabama had voted to change the value
of pi from 3.14159 to the "Biblical value" of 3.0.
Burger King, an American fast-food chain, published a full-page
advertisement in USA Today in 1998 announcing the introduction of the
"Left-Handed Whopper," specially designed for the 32 million left-handed
Americans. According to the advertisement, the new burger included the
same ingredients as the original, but the condiments were rotated 180
degrees. The chain said it received thousands of requests for the new
burger, as well as orders for the original "right-handed" version.
Discover Magazine announced in 1995 that a highly respected biologist,
Aprile Pazzo (Italian for April Fool), had discovered a new species in
Antarctica: the hotheaded naked ice borer. The creatures were described as
having bony plates on their heads that became burning hot, allowing the
animals to bore through ice at high speed.
Noted British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on the radio in 1976
that at 9:47 am, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event, in which Pluto
would pass behind Jupiter, would cause a gravitational alignment that
would reduce the Earth's gravity. Moore told listeners that if they jumped
in the air at the exact moment of the planetary alignment, they would
experience a floating sensation. Hundreds of people called in to report
feeling the sensation.