10 April Fools’ Pranks you must know
1. THE SPAGHETTI TREE: A FAMILY AFFAIR
Switzerland is well known for its banks and its chocolate – and amongst some Brits also for its flourishing Spaghetti industry. In 1957, the BBC reported about a Swiss family harvesting Pasta from their “family spaghetti tree”. The respected broadcaster Richard Dimbleby explained that this year they were especially lucky because of the mild winter and the dissapearance of the Spaghetti weevil. The BBC received hundreds of calls from people interested in planting their own Pasta trees. Their standard reply: “Place a sprig of Spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
2. THE LEFT-HANDED WHOPPER
In 1998, Burger King proudly announced in a full-page ad in USA Today that, thanks to the Left-Handed Whopper, life would be easier for the 32 million left-handed Americans. All the condiments were rotated 180° to suit the left-handers special eating habits. The next day thousands of customers ordered the new burger – and right-handers angrily demanded equal rights, wanting their own version.
3. DIY COLOUR TV
In 1962, Sweden’s only TV station still broadcasting in monochrome announced a sensation. Well-known technical expert Kjell Stensson explained that from now on all viewers could convert their TV sets to colour. How? By simply stretching a nylon stocking over the screen. Hundreds of thousands of Swedes turned their houses upside down looking for stockings. Ironically, colour TV in Sweden was launched on April 1st, 1970.
4. THE BRITS SUSPEND GRAVITY
In 1976, astronomer Sir Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio that a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur. Jupiter and Pluto would be in line with the Earth, temporarily weakening the Earth’s gravity. Jumping in the air at 9:47 on the dot would cause a strange floating sensation. The BBC received hundreds of phone calls from listeners, claiming to have felt the strange phenomenon.
5. THE IDYLLIC ISLANDS OF SAN SERRIFFE
Have you ever heard of San Serriffe? In 1977, the British newspaper The Guardian published a seven-paged special about San Serriffe, a small republic located in the Indian Ocean consisting of several islands, shaped like a semi-colon. Its two main islands, Upper Caisse und Lower Caisse, the capital city Bodoni and the breathtaking beach Gill Sands described to be definitely worth a holiday. The typographical twist (referring to the font Sans-Serif) remained undiscovered by a lot of readers frantically calling The Guardian to find out more about the fictional magical islands.
6. BYE, BYE YOUTUBE
In 2013, YouTube executives announced that the video platform would shut down after eight years. CEO Salar Kamangar explained that YouTube had only been created with the simple goal of finding the best video in the world. Time had come to crown a victor – which would be announced in 2023.
7. VOLCANIC RUBBER
Alaskan residents started to panic in 1974 when black smoke suddenly began to belch out of the long-dormant volcano Mount Edgecumbe. It turned out that local Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano’s crater and then lit them on fire. Next to it he wrote in big, fat letters “April fools”.
8. THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG
In the morning of April 1st 1978, a giant iceberg emerged in Sydney harbour. Were people surprised? No. Millionaire businessman Dick Smith had previously announced that he would tow an iceberg from Antarctica to Sydney Harbour, near the famous Opera House. Why? The iceberg should be carved into small ice cubes, which would be sold to the public. The “Dicksickles” promised to improve the flavour of any drink. Then it began to rain. “Dickenberg One” desolved into firemen’s foam, shaving creme and plastic sheets.
9. GMAIL PAPER: “YOU CLICK. WE STACK. YOU GET.”
Apparently everyone loves Gmail, but not everyone loves E-mails. In 2007, Google announced the solution to the problem: Gmail Paper would provide on-demand printed copies of E-mails for their users, sent by (real) mail. The expenses would be covered by advertisements on the back of each sheet, printed in “red, bold, 36-pt. Helvetica”. Simple as.
10. SUICIDE PRANK
South Korean kids probably take April Fool’s Day a little too seriously…