I gave some thought to trying to pull an April Fool’s joke on you guys by telling you that this would be the last post ever on Filosofa’s Word, but … I figured some would see the title or read the first sentence and say, “Whew, it’s a good thing, for that old hag never had anything interesting to say anyway.” And then my feelings would be hurt. Not to mention that I’ve never been any good at pulling April Fool’s jokes. The best one I tried was hiding my daughter’s car after she went to bed one March 31st night. But, after an hour or two, I feared she might wake up, think it had been stolen, and call the cops (I only moved it one street over), so I moved it back before going to bed. My girls … and anyone who knows me … can tell when I’m “up to something”, for my face gives me away every time. So … instead of pulling a prank on you guys, I’m going to share some of the best April Fool’s pranks by others in years past.
Nearly every site I visited had this one …
On April 1, 1957, the BBC TV show “Panorama” ran a segment about the Swiss spaghetti harvest, enjoying a “bumper year” thanks to mild weather and the elimination of the spaghetti weevil. Many credulous Britons were taken in, and why not? The story was on television – then a relatively new invention – and Auntie Beeb would never lie, would it?
It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” Even the director-general of the BBC later admitted that after seeing the show he checked in an encyclopedia to find out if that was how spaghetti actually grew (but the encyclopedia had no information on the topic). The broadcast remains, by far, the most popular and widely acclaimed April Fool’s Day hoax ever, making it an easy pick for the #1 April Fools’ hoax of all time on the Museum of Hoaxes website – a fine source for all things foolish.
More recently, in 2015, Cottonelle tweeted that it was introducing left-handed toilet paper for all those southpaws out there.
Few people may have been taken in by Cottonelle, but that wasn’t the case in 1973, when Johnny Carson cracked a joke about a toilet paper shortage. Worried Americans immediately stocked up. Well, you can never be too sure.
In this now-classic 1996 prank, Taco Bell took out newspaper ads saying it had bought the Liberty Bell “in an effort to help the national debt.” Even some senators were taken in, and the National Park Service even held a press conference to deny the news. At noon, the fast-food chain admitted the joke, along with donating $50,000 for the bell’s care. The value of the joke, of course, was priceless.
In 1994, PC Magazine ran a column about a bill making its way through Congress that would prohibit the use of the Internet while intoxicated. Despite the name of the contact person, Lirpa Sloof (“her name spelled backward says it all,” the column concluded), many people took the story seriously.
In retrospect, however, perhaps the bill – fake or not – wasn’t such a bad idea.
Here are some of the best April Fool’s pranks from around the globe …
France: According to Le Parisien, in 1986, the Eiffel Tower was going to be dismantled and rebuilt inside the new Euro Disney park.
Denmark: In 1965, a Copenhagen newspaper reported that Parliament had passed a law that all dogs be painted white to improve road safety because they could then be seen clearly at night.
Norway: In 1987, after reading that the government was planning to distribute 10,000 litres of wine confiscated from smugglers, hundreds of citizens turned up carrying empty bottles and buckets.
China: Claiming that it would reduce the need for foreign experts, the China Youth Daily joked in 1993 that the government had decided to exempt PhDs from the nation’s one-child-per-family policy. After foreign press picked up the hoax, the government condemned April Fools’ Day as a Western tradition.
Great Britain: In 1980, those serial pranksters at the BBC announced that Big Ben, London’s historic clock tower, would undergo a face-lift and become digital to keep up with the times. This one didn’t go over so big, as enraged callers flooded the station with complaints.
Canada: In 2008, WestJet airlines advertised its overhead cabin bins as “among the most spacious of any airline” and said it would charge passengers an extra $12 to use these “sleeper cabins.”
Taiwan: In 2009, the Taipei Times claimed that “Taiwan-China relations were dealt a severe setback yesterday when it was found that the Taipei Zoo’s pandas are not what they seem.” The paper reported that the pandas, a gift from the Chinese government, were brown forest bears dyed to resemble pandas. Among the complaints sent to the paper was one from the zoo’s director.
Germany: In 2009, BMW ran an ad promoting its new “magnetic tow technology.” The invention enabled drivers to turn off their engine and get a “free ride” by locking onto the car ahead via a magnetic beam.
Perhaps the most fun part of April Fool’s pranks are that somebody, somewhere, will fall for almost anything!
And if you need some ideas for your own pranks, Bored Panda has a few …
Attach An Airhorn To Their Seat
Delight Their Taste Buds With Caramel Onions
Prank At Walmart
Now, use your imagination and have a bit of fun with the day … just keep it fun, not mean. Unless you’re pranking someone who deserves mean … then it’s okay to be mean.