1 THE SPAGHETTI TREE: A FAMILY AFFAIR
Switzerland is well known for its banks and its chocolate – and amongst some 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 disapearance of the Spaghetti beetle. 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 from now on life will be easier for the 32 million Left-Handed Americans thanks to the Left-Handed Whopper. 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 the viewers could convert their TV sets to color. How? By simply stretching a nylon stocking over the screen. Hundreds of thousands of Swedes turned their houses upside down looking for stockings. Ironically color TV in Sweden was launched on April 1st, 1970.
4 THE BRITS SUSPEND GRAVITY
In 1976 astronomer Sir Patrick Moore announced on BBC’s Radio station 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 conspicously similar to 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 (reffering to the font Sans-Serif) remained undiscovered by a lot of readers, hectically 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 started with the simple goal to find the best video in the world. Time had come to crown a victor – which would be announced in 2023.
7 VOLCANIC RUBBER
When in 1974 billows of black smoke suddenly began to belch out of the long-dormant volcano Mount Edgecumbe, Alaska, residents started to panic, terrified of an eruption. 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 1, 1978 a giant iceberg emerged in the Harbour of Sydney – not very surprising for Sydneysiders. Millionaire businessman Dick Smith had previously announced that he would tow an iceberg from Antarctica to Sydney Harbor, near the famous Opera House. Why? The iceberg should be carved into small ice cubes, which would be sold to the public – the “Dicksickles” were promised to improve the flavor of any drink. Then it began to rain. “Dickenberg One” disolved into firemen’s foam, shaving cream and plastic sheets.
9 GMAIL PAPER: “YOU CLICK. WE STACK. YOU GET.”
Because 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”. Easy.
South Korean kids probably take April Fools’ Day a little too seriously…
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