View April Fools Day - 1980
Type: April Fool’s Day Hoaxes.
Summary: Hoaxes perpetrated on April Fool’s Day, 1980.
Big Ben Goes Digital
The British Broadcasting Corp. reported that Big Ben was going to be given a digital readout. It received a huge response from listeners protesting the change. The BBC Japanese service also announced that the clock hands would be sold to the first four listeners to contact them, and one Japanese seaman in the mid-Atlantic immediately radioed in a bid.
The Eruption of Mt. Milton
The Channel 7 news in Boston ended with a special bulletin announcing that a 635-foot hill in Milton, Massachusetts, known as the Great Blue Hill, had erupted, and that lava and ash were raining down on nearby homes. Footage was shown of lava pouring down a hillside. The announcer explained that the eruption had been triggered by a geological chain reaction set off by the recent eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. An audio tape was played in which President Carter and the Governor of Massachusetts were heard declaring the eruption to be a “serious situation.” At the end of the segment, the repoter held up a sign that read “April Fool.” However, by that time local authorities had already been flooded with frantic phone calls from Milton residents. One man, believing that his house would soon be engulfed by lava, had carried his sick wife outside in order to escape. The Milton police continued to receive worried phone calls well into the night. Channel 7 was so embarrassed by the panicked reaction that they apologized for the confusion later that night, and the executive producer responsible for the prank was fired.
The Island of Murango
The London Times reported about a small, Pacific island state named Murango whose inhabitants (most of whom seemed to be of British descent) were busy preparing to send a delegation to the Moscow Olympics, despite the western boycott of the games. The Murango islanders were said to enjoy two things most in life: their local drink, ourakino, and sports. In 1972 the small island state had achieved a brief moment of glory on the international stage by winning a bronze medal in boxing during the 1972 Munich Olympics. The winner of the medal had been named Dick T. Murango. Dick T. Murango and the island of Murango were entirely fictitious. However, in 1972 a man named Dick T. Murunga did win a bronze medal for boxing. Mr. Murunga, however, was from Kenya.
The Real Sherlock Holmes
The London Times also published an article that revealed shocking revelations about the private life of the famous detective Sherlock Holmes. The revelations were said to have been unearthed in a collection of papers found at the home of Sherlock Holmes’s former physician, Dr. Moore Agar. According to the Agar papers, Holmes’s faithful sidekick, Dr. Watson, had engaged in a systematic cover-up of the true character of Holmes “in order that so great a man as Sherlock Holmes should not be pilloried in the public prints.” The most shocking revelation was that Holmes’s arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty, was merely “a figment of the detective’s imagination, distorted by stress and despair and by a burning desire to ‘punish’ Watson for what Holmes saw as his disloyalty.”
Gazette Buys New London Day
The Connecticut Gazette, a small weekly newspaper, announced that it was purchasing the New London Day, a large daily newspaper. The article also announced the Gazette planned to expand the news staff of the New London Day “by cutting it in halfliterally, at the waist; this would create twice as many reporters although, of course, they would be half their former stature.” The article concluded with an “April Fool.” Nevertheless, according to the paper’s editor their phones were ringing off the hook for weeks. In addition, the fictitious purchase was reported as fact in the New England Printer and Publisher, a trade journal.