Swiss Spaghetti Harvest: Comments
(most recent posts first)

There were two other memorable April Fools hoaxes, one on the BBCin the 60', I think where a building had been errected, by an "Irish contractor", upside down. Inverviews and photos were presented in a similar manner to the Spaghetti episode. The other wat a "1000 Watt" amplifier which was in the April edition of Wireless World/ This included full information on how to build the phonograph amplifier on to you house heating radiators (for cooling) and how one needed to take care not to drop the phonograph needle ont the record in-case the impact of the sound damaged the house walls. The following month included a letter from a reader who said he'd built speakers for the amplifier into a Fighter jet ejector seat. This was so that life-threateningly loud passages of music could be detected and the seat fired to protect the seated listener
david perkins
Sunday, November 02, 2003 at 05:44:32
I, too, saw this with my family when I was a child. We all had a good laugh! I never bumped into any one else who saw it over all these years!
April Fools Issue Montreal Star Sunday Magazine Section - around 1975 The entire magazine, like the USA Parade Sunday Magazine, was a joke; story after story! One was about an under ground sugar mine, another about Margaret Trudeau changing her mind in every paragraph about her goals in life...I wish I could read it again. Maybe I'll find it's already on your site!

Barbara Ann
Friday, October 31, 2003 at 10:54:58
I remember seeing that program on TV when I was a kid. I got a good laugh from it. I thought it was a Lowell Thomas special at the time. I have told many people about over the years. That one was one of the best and harmless.
Dave K
Thursday, October 16, 2003 at 22:50:24
Thanks for the info. I updated the link on the site.
Posted By: Alex Boese
April 2, 2003
Hi, The link to the Panorama Spaghetti Harvest has changed. It is now: http://news.bbc.co.uk/olmedia/70000/video/_70980_aprilfool_vi.ram
Posted By: Edward
April 1, 2003
well ok I shall let you off, the media of text is not one to convey subtleties of humour!
Sorry

Posted By: "world-wise Brit"
April 1, 2003
Sorry that you seem offended by what I said about the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. The comments were certainly not intended to be offensive. Instead, they were intended to be teasing, the way one would tease a very, very dear friend. I lived a good portion of my life in England (ten years), and even recently married a British woman. So I certainly would have to be classified as an anglophile.
Being able to laugh at their own culture seems to me to be one of the great qualities of the British. That's what led me to believe that it would be obvious to most readers that I do indeed greatly admire the British and their humor, even if I tease them for being a bit insular (though when I said insular I was referring to their culinary tastes, which, let's face it, have never been known as the most cutting-edge or cosmopolitan in the world... though times are changing, and I realize that British cuisine has become far more varied in recent decades).
Best Wishes,

Posted By: Alex Boese
April 1, 2003
I am saddened to see a comment from yourself regarding a generalisation of the British people at the time of the Spaghetti Trees hoax.
The British, unlike many many countries including the USA (where I now live), are not at all "a bit insulated" and indeed know quite a bit "about Europe"!
Unfortunately in ALL countries there are those who have "dumbed down" and part of this process is believing everything that the media says (see current war situation), which is part of the reason the BBC played this wonderful joke. I remember it well and it showed that people believe anything they are told if it is on the News and on the TV. I am sure that if NBC or CNN played such a hoax it would be taken literally by a bigger percentage of the US population than you would suppose.
If anything I think that the US citizens have a MORE insular society in todays western world and don't understand much about ANY of the rest of the world let alone other parts of their own country! (again see current war situation).
In future, generalised comments regarding so called insular societies should be thought about before being made.
Sincerely

Posted By: "world-wise Brit"
April 1, 2003
Alex,
Excellent!
I must thank you, too, for exorcising a childhood hobgoblin about "spaghetti harvesting". It stuck with me all my life and anyone I told it had never heard of it... until now. It wasn't just a dream. I just ordered two of your books from Amazon. I look forward to reading them.

Posted By: CLiFF
March 15, 2003
Sorry - it's I again. I finally unearthed on your site the full story of the BBC spaghetti spoof - (far more imaginative than I remembered it being).
January 26, 2003
I haven't read all of your stories but in the April Fools section you may care to tell people of the famous BBC April Fools hoax when they produced a 30 minute TV documentary on Italian farmers, sweating in the hot sun, harvesting the ripened spaghetti from their trees in Tuscany. (I am sure the BBC would provide you with fuller details)
January 26, 2003
Hi Andre,
Sorry I don't have any quicktime clips of the hoax. The BBC controls all pictures of the show, so you need to go through them to get any stuff: the BBC TV archive http://www.bbcresearchcentral.com/tv.html

Posted By: Alex Boese
January 14, 2003
Greetings From a Very Cold And Snowy Montreal,
Do you have any mpeg or quicktime clips of the spaghetti hoax ? Alternatively,any pictures of the farce ? Best Regards

Posted By: Andre
January 11, 2003
Dear Alex Boese,
I learned about your site from the Scout Report and have enjoyed poking around in it. Great stuff, nicely laid out. Thanks, especially, for the story about the homegrown spaghetti and the link to the original BBC film. It may interest you to know that some time in the 1960s or 1970s, Johnny Carson showed the same film on The Tonight Show. A week or so later, he had to respond to irate letters of people who took it seriously and thought he was making fun of the simple farmers. I remember him holding up a box of spaghetti and reading off the list of ingredients to prove that spaghetti is made, not born. And gullible Americans at the time didn't have the excuse that some Britons had in the 1950s that spaghetti wasn't a familiar dish. Thanks for the site.

Posted By: Alan
January 10, 2003
You need to have the RealAudio player installed on your computer in order to get it to work. I find the RealAudio format to be a bit touch-and-go. Sometimes files encoded in that format will play, sometimes they won't. It seems to depend on what kind of computer you're trying to play it on, how old the computer is, how you've got your preferences set on the browser, etc. But the BBC link definitely works for me. And it works on other computers that I've tested it out on.
Posted By: Alex Boese
December 19, 2002
I was not able to download the "Swiss Spaghetti" video using your link to the BBC. Is the video still available for viewing? Thanks
Posted By: Bill
December 19, 2002
I would like to get a copy of the "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" Is it available?
October 27, 2002
You need to go through the BBC. Try the BBC TV Archive at http://www.bbcresearchcentral.com/tv.html or Phone # 020 7557 2452
Posted By: Alex Boese
September 25, 2002
Alex, Enjoy your web-site very much. Having a large, Italian family, and, enjoying pasta as we do, I was wondering if you knew where I could obtain a video of the BBC Panorama presentation "Swiss Spaghetti Harvest". Is it available in the States, or, must I approach the BBC? Thank you.
Posted By: Nick
September 25, 2002
I am trying to locate a copy of the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest for my language arts class. Can you help?
Posted By: Joyce
Wednesday, July 10, 2002
The spaghetti hoax was also broadcast on the Jack Paar show. The sudio audience laughed heartily. A few weeks later Jack announced that there were so many enquiries asking what was so funny that he had to show it again. Which he did. However, he never did explain what was so funny!
Posted By: Paul
Monday, May 27, 2002
I was in London on 4/1/57 when BBC ran the "Spaghetti Harvest" Documentary. I could not for the life of me figure out why everyone was laughing so hard. I was about eight or, nine at the time. That's how I found your site. Google helped.
Posted By: Lloyd
April 8, 2002
In 1958 or 1959, we were shown the BBC spaghetti harvest hoax as a film in grammar school. This was presented as a real film to us. Just shows you how bad the Chicago schools were 30 years before Bill Bennett said they were the worst in the country.
April 3, 2002
Those are great. My favorite was the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest.
March 31, 2002
This site is one of the best. Thank you, in particular, for reminding me of the Swiss spaghetti harvest, which I recall as the biggest childhood laugh I ever had from anything not involving the Marx Brothers. And for San Serriffe, which I'd never heard of, and had me laughing so loud my neighbors complained. And on and on...
Posted By: Tom, Boston, MA
March 17, 2002
Years ago I saw twice a black and white hoax film on a Spaghetti Harvest. I saw it one on the Johnny Carson show and another time I cannot remember and thought it was great. I did a google search of "spaghetti tree" with "hoax" and I found what is below the line.
============
When a British news show broadcast a report on April 1, 1957, about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland, an inquisitive public flooded the station with calls requesting tips on how to grow a spaghetti tree. I found it at: Cape Cod Times
http://www.capecodonline.com/cctimes/archives/2001/jul/5/nethoax5.htm

March 14, 2002
Try contacting the BBC TV archives: http://www.bbcresearchcentral.com/tv.html Phone # 020 7557 2452 Good Luck!
Posted By: Alex Boese
November 17, 2001
I am a horticulture teacher and I would like to get a copy of the spaghetti harvest video to show my students. The BBC link is outdated (plus my computer probably couldn't handle it anyway...) Do you know where I could get a VHS copy of the video?
Posted By: Libby
November 17, 2001
A delightful site, which I've bookmarked.
Reading the item about the Swiss spaghetti reminded me of a similar story that was broadcast by our ABC TV (www.abc.net.au) when I was a kid.
Unfortunately there's nothing on their website about it so I'm forced to rely on memory. I recall the footage was in black & white (colour TV started here in 1975), and it was broadcast by the ABC's current affairs show of the time. Probably late '60s or early '70s timeframe?
Anyway, the ABC version described the devastation of that year's Australian spaghetti crop by the "spaghetti worm", a ravenous creature which ate the unripe spaghetti from the inside, rendering it worthless. Application of pesticides was said to be ineffective, because anything powerful enough to kill the worm also rendered the spaghetti unfit for eating.
The report included dramatic footage of infested spaghetti bushes being cleared & burned in an effort to contain the outbreak, interviews with distraught spaghetti farmers facing financial ruin, etc. And as was (and still is) common practice for these types of stories, the report concluded with an appeal for donations from the public.
It was one of the best April Fool's ever done by the Australian media. Apparently thousands of people went to post offices & banks all over the country during the following days, trying to hand over wads of money to "those poor spaghetti farmers". About the only people not taken in were (obviously) those who actually lived in the supposed "spaghetti-growing heartland" some of whom had helped pull off the prank.
The following week's show admitted the hoax, and described how it was done. Unfortunately this confession provoked a backlash about how public funds (the ABC is govt-owned) had been wasted on this prank; and since then the ABC news & current affairs have never done an April Fool's of their own.
Of course you only needed to look at the date the story aired and the ingredients label on any spaghetti to realize it was a joke!
cheers

Posted By: Fraser
July 6, 2001
Favorite Hoax: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
April 12, 2001
I'm the millionth person to pick this, I'm sure: the BBC April Fool's Spagetti Harvest!
Posted By: Kathy
March 6, 2001