April Fool's Day Content
April Fool's Day Content
April Fool Categories
April Fool: Recurring Pranks
April Fool: Regions
April Fool: Perpetrators
April Fool's Day Archive, Contents:
|Before 1900:||Origin of April Fool's Day | 1700-1799 | 1800-1899|
|Early 1900s:||1900 | 1901 | 1915 | 1919 | 1920 | 1923 | 1925|
|1930s & 40s:||1933 | 1934 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1949|
|1950s & 60s:||1950 | 1957 | 1959 | 1960 | 1962 | 1965 | 1969|
|1970s:||1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973 | 1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979|
|1980s:||1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987 | 1988 | 1989|
|1990s:||1990 | 1991 | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999|
|2000s:||2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009|
|2010s:||2010 | 2011|
Corporate Tattoos (1994)National Public Radio's All Things Considered program reported that companies such as Pepsi were sponsoring teenagers to tattoo themselves with corporate logos. In return, the teenagers would receive a lifetime 10% discount on that company's products. Teenagers were said to be responding enthusiastically to the deal.
Cologne radio station Westdeutsche Rundfunk announced that city officals had decreed that joggers could only run at a maximum speed of six miles per hour through the city's parks. Any faster, it was said, and they would inconvenience the squirrels who were in the middle of their mating season.
Dave Rickards, a deejay at KGB-FM in San Diego, announced that the space shuttle Discovery had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base and would land instead at Montgomery Field in a few hours (at 8:30 am). Montgomery Field is a small military airport located in the middle of a residential area just outside of San Diego. Thousands of commuters immediately headed towards the supposed landing site, causing enormous traffic jams that lasted for almost an hour. Police eventually had to be called in to clear the traffic. People arrived at the military airport armed with cameras, camcorders, and even folding chairs, ready to witness the landing. Reportedly the crowd swelled to over 1,000 people.
Of course, the shuttle never landed. In fact, the Montgomery Field airport would have been far too small for the shuttle to even consider landing there. Moreover, there wasn't a shuttle in orbit at the time. The police were not amused by the prank. They announced that they would be billing the radio station for the cost of forcing officers to direct the traffic. In its defense, the radio station said, "It was a joke. We're sorry, but it was April Fools. We're just trying to have some fun." The prank was actually not original. A Belgian newspaper had perpetrated the identical hoax on its readers in 1992. However, the San Diego hoax fooled far more people than its Belgian predecessor.
Nixon For President (1992)National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program reported that former-President Richard Nixon had declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Accompanying the announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech and declaring "I never did anything wrong, and I won't do it again." Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman then came on the air to offer their analysis of Nixon's decision and its possible impact on the 1992 presidential race. A clip from Torrie Clarke, press secretary of the Bush-Quayle campaign, was also played in which she said, "We are stunned and think it's an obvious attempt by Nixon to upstage our foreign policy announcement today." Listeners reacted very emotionally to the announcement, flooding NPR with calls expressing shock and outrage. During the second half of the program host John Hockenberry revealed that the announcement had been an April Fool's Day joke and explained that Nixon's voice had been impersonated by comedian Rich Little.
Chicago radio station WXRT-FM announced it was turning into a digital, commercial-free "pay-per-hear" station. Its signal would be scrambled and divided into five different program formats that listeners would have to pay to listen to. The five formats would be "'XRT Basic," "'XRT Live," "'XRT Gold," "'XRT Espanol" and "sports-rock." The station announced the format change all day and then switched to a scrambled signal for several minutes. Hundreds of listeners called in to protest the change. One listener even showed up with a picket sign outside the station.
Tax the Poor (1992)
Rush Limbaugh, a radio talk-show host famous for his support of conservative issues, declared his belief that the U.S. government should raise taxes for the poor because "they're the wealthiest poor in the world." Many of his listeners called in to applaud his belief. Later Limbaugh confessed that he does not actually support such a belief and chastised his listeners for being "too quick to believe anything that hits a hot button."
Drivers Must Wear Helmets (1992)Alison St. John, a radio reporter for KPBS, the San Diego affiliate of NPR, warned that San Diego would be pelted by hail "the size of duck eggs." Terry Boyd of Metro Traffic followed up this announcement by warning that all drivers "must wear a helmet."
WAQY-FM morning disc jockey David Lee warned his listeners of an "electrostatic power surge" that would happen between 7:30 and 7:45 AM. He told them to protect themselves by unplugging appliances and taping up wall sockets with electrical tape.
The local utility company received over 50 calls from people seeking to verify the warning, provoking it to send a letter of complaint to WAQY, calling the prank "beyond the bounds of having fun on April Fool's Day." It noted that one person had disconnected life-sustaining equipment "in order to avoid the consequences your announcer warned of."
No charges were brought against the station because the FCC determined that it had broken no federal law.
KISW Format Change (1991)
KISW, a Seattle Rock radio station, changed its format to what it called 'classical rock' for a day, playing a selection of classical music and rock. It advertised itself as "Seattle's best mix of the 1600s, 1700s, 1800s and today." It also promised a no-repeat Monday, saying that "you won't hear the same sonata twice."
Los Angeles disc jockey Steve Morris announced on KRTH-FM that freeways in Los Angeles and Orange counties would be closed for major repairs from April 8 to May 1 so that road crews could work nonstop. Morris discussed the news throughout his morning show, which began at 6 a.m. He included a series of segments outlining the closure plans as well as interviews with "Lon Chevelle," a (fictitious) spokesman for the "Southern California Highway Advisory Board," aka SCAB. Finally, at 9:30 a.m. Morris interrupted his show to broadcast a SCAB press conference, airing live, at which it was announced, "April Fool!"
The radio station received hundreds of calls in response to the announcement, and both Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol reported that they were flooded with calls all day from worried commuters. KRTH later admitted that it was stunned by the reaction to the hoax and revealed that it had received a call from Caltrans "telling us that they didn't think it was very funny."
Carolyn Fox, a disc jockey for WHJY in Providence, Rhode Island, announced that the 'Providence Labor Action Relations Board Committee' had decided to close the city for the day. She gave out a number for listeners to call for more information. The number was that of a rival station, WPRO-AM. Hundreds of people called WPRO, as well as City Hall and the police. Even more called into their offices to see if they had to go into work. WHJY management later admitted that it had never imagined its joke would have such a dramatic impact on the city.
Reagan Heads Barstow Parade (1986)Radio station KIOT in Barstow, California announced that a parade was to be held through the city, and that President Reagan would participate in it as the grand marshal. A few people showed up and waited in the heat for the parade (which had never been scheduled).
Take This Job and Shove It (1986)
Charlie Bee, a disc jockey at country music station WAPG-AM in Arcadia, Florida, locked himself in the station's studio while repeatedly broadcasting Johnny Paycheck's "Take This Job and Shove It." He explained to listeners that he was "fed up" with not receiving an adequate salary and would play the song until his employers agreed to give him a raise. Police eventually arrived and escorted him out of the building. The next disc jockey in the studio, Bill Madison, dedicated the song to Bee and played it one last time. However, the entire incident turned out to have been a staged prank with which the police were cooperating.
Fondue Hot Springs (1983)National Public Radio's All Things Considered ran a segment about the threat of extinction facing the Vince Lombardi Fondue Springs, the "last surviving spring of natural fondue cheese in the United States," located in the fondue country of northern Wisconsin. For years the fondue springs had been a "point of pilgrimage for cheese communicants." But now, the Cheese Watch Society warned, the Fondue Pocket was reducing. The society recommended "a highly trained force of cheese rangers to control visitors to the fondue pocket using sniffer dogs." If steps weren't taken, the society warned, the cheese would soon be gone. After all, "the only way to make cheese is to take it out of the earth with your hands."
Athens Pollution Alert (1982)Greece's state-controlled National Radio Network issued a warning that pollution had reached emergency levels in downtown Athens, and that the city would have to be immediately evacuated. All schools were called upon to close immediately, and the children to be sent home. Furthermore, anyone driving a car was asked to abandon it and flee to open ground. Many people took the broadcast seriously and attempted to leave the city, since pollution is a serious problem in Athens. Within three hours the Radio Network had retracted the broadcast, revealing it to be a joke, but by then the damage had been done. One man sued the network for $820,000, claiming the prank had caused him mental distress. The director of the network submitted his resignation over the incident, and the originator of the hoax was fired.