March 31, 2014

10 Greatest April Fools Day Hoaxes

There have been thousands of April Fool's pranks but these stand out:

1. The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest:  On 1 April, 1957 the popularly respected BBC news show "Panorama" broadcast a short video clip about a bumper spaghetti harvest in Switzerland. The bumper harvest was attributed to an unusually mild winter and the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil".

They even showed a video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees.

The BBC was inundated by thousands of calls from viewers who wanted to know how to own a spaghetti tree. The BBC replied with this advice: "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomatoe sauce and hope for the best".

It turned out to be a big hoax.

2. Richard Nixon for President:  On April 1, 1992 the popular radio show "Talk of the Nation" revealed that Richard Nixon was running for President of the U.S.A again and his campaign slogan was, "I did't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again".

This was followed by audio clips of Nixon declaring his candidacy.

The show was flooded by phone calls from listeners expressing shock and outrage. It was during the second half of the show that it was revealed that it was a practical joke and Nixon's voice impersonated by comedian Rich Little.

3. Flying Penguins: April 1, 2008 on the BBC programe series, "Miracles of Evolution" they claimed to have captured footage of Adelie Penguins in Antarctica taking to the air and flying..

They even showed a video of the penguins flying, and it became one of the most viewed videos on the internet.

They claimed the penguins took to the air and then flew thousands of miles to South America where they "spent the winter basking in the tropical sun".

It turned out to be one big joke and the BBC then showed a follow-up video explaining how they created the special effects of the flying penguins.

4. Metric Time: April 1, 1975 Australia's "This Day Tonight" news show revealed that the country would soon be converting to the new "Metric Time" in which 100 seconds would make 1 Minute, 100 Minutes would make 1 Hour, and 1 Day would be 20 hours.

Seconds would become Millidays, Minutes would become Centidays and Hours would become Decidays. It even included an interview with Deputy Prime Minister Des Corcoran who praised this new time system.

The news room was inundated with calls from viewers who fell completely for this hoax and were asking questions on how to switch.

5. Bomb Blast!: World War I was raging and on April 1, 1945 a French pilot flew his plane over a German army camp and dropped what appeared to be a very large bomb.

The terrified German soldiers immediately scampered in all directions seeking desperately to escape the impending blast...but nothing happened.

After several long minutes, the soldiers carefully crept forward to have a look at the bomb. They found that it was actually a large football with a note attached to it saying, "APRIL FOOL!

6. Big Ben Goes Digital: On April 1, 1980 the BBC repirted that in order to keep up with the times the famous Big Ben was going to be given a digital read out. There were angry responses from listeners both near and wide condemning this move.

The programe also announced that the hands would be sold to the first four listeners to contact them. Immediately one Japanese seaman located in the middle of the Atlantic called in to make a bid.

7. Operation Parallax: April 1, 1979 and London's Capital Radio, quoting official sources, announced the commencement of "Operation Parallax". It explained that because of constant switching back and forth from Summer Time, Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of the rest of the world and "Operation Parallax" was a Government plan to resynchronise the British calender with the rest of the world by canceling April 5 and 12 if that year.

There were many calls by listeners as a result of this: One business owner wanted to know if she had to pay her employees for the missing days. Many other people wanted to know what would happen to their birthdays which fell on the "cancelled days".

8. On April 1, 1962 the only television station in all of Sweden (Sveriges Television) brought a "technical expert" and described a process of turning a black and white television instantly into a colored television.

He started a very lenghty explanation filled with confusing technical jargons but the summary was that you can change the images to colored by taping nylon stockings in front of the screen.

Thousands of hoseholds across Sweden immediately began implementing this "miracle" which,of course, did not work.

9. On April 1, 1974 residents of the town of Sitka, Alaska woke up to an alarming sight, plumes of black smoke were coming out of Mount Edgecumbe a volcanic mountain that had been dormant for 400 years.

Everybody in the town came out and there was panic, the whole town began preparing for an evacuation.

Soon an helicopter was called in to observe the volcano and when it came untop the mountain, the pilot could not believe his eyes. Right inside the volcanic crater he saw piles of old rubber tyres burning and spray-painted beside the tyres were giant black letters which read, "APRIL FOOL!

10. Wisconsin Capitol Collapses: April 1, 1933 in a breaking news article, the "Madison Capital-Times" newspaper declared that the Wisconsin State Capitol building had collapsed and lie in ruins as a result of a series of explosions caused by "large quantities of gas generated through many weeks of verbose debates in the Senate and Assembly chambers".

It even showed a picture of the building collapsing. Many people were actually fooled and there were serious outrage when it was revealed to be a hoax.

One reader wrote, "it was not only tactless and void of humor, but also a hideous jest".