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|
Parking Fees Reduced (1970)A radio station in Vienna, Austria told its audience that the city had decided to reduce parking permit fees. It also said that car drivers would be able to buy permits in tobacco shops and hand them to police officers in case of need. One police officer called the radio station to ask, "Could you please give me more details on the new order as I have not heard from my superiors yet." [The Washington Post, Apr 2, 1970.]
Swiss Lunar Landing Hoax (1967)
An hour-long Swiss Radio broadcast announced that U.S. astronauts had just landed on the moon.
The broadcast (which aired on all German-language Swiss radio stations) began with a news flash interrupting the regularly scheduled show. Listeners heard reports from Swiss radio correspondents in cities around the world, as well as interviews with experts and men in the street. The broadcast also included (prestaged) "technical faults," such as slamming doors and the sound of newscasters running in with late-breaking bulletins.
The announcement generated enormous excitement. Telephone exchanges became jammed as people tried to phone friends to share the news. Even U.S. authorities in Switzerland initially weren't sure if the news was true or false. Americans vacationing in the resort of Klosters staged a huge celebration.
The broadcast concluded with the report that the moonship would take off from the moon at 7 p.m. Listeners were urged to climb to a high vantage point, away from the city lights, to watch it return to Earth. As a result, there was a huge rush of people who tried to leave Zurich and get to the top of Mt. Uetliberg, overlooking the city. The railroad up the mountain had to add additional trains to handle the number of passengers.
The hoax broadcast was directed by newscaster Hans Menge of Radio Zurich.
U.S. astronauts landed on the moon for real approximately two years later (July 20, 1969).
Lirpa Loof Concert (1961)
The BBC promised radio listeners that they wouldn't want to miss the concert of the "distinguished continental pianist" Lirpa Loof. But when the scheduled time arrived, there was no concert. "Actually, of course, Lirpa Loof is April Fool spelled backward," an announcer explained.
The national news in the Netherlands reported that the Tower of Pisa had fallen over. The announcement caused widepread shock and mourning.
The Hawaiian Tax Refund (1954)
Hal Lewis, disc jockey on Hawaiian station KPOA, announced that the Senate had repealed islanders' income taxes and provided for return of 1953 taxes. The announcement elicited a huge reaction. Radio stations, newspapers, and the Internal Revenue Bureau were all flooded with calls from people seeking more information. Many banks received calls from people who wanted to place orders for stock and bond purchases with their forthcoming refund.
Lewis's announcement was believable because a tax refund for Hawaii had recently been in the news. Hawaiian congressman Joseph Farrington had, less than a month before, demanded that the islanders be given a refund of all the federal taxes they had ever paid if Hawaii was not granted full statehood. (Hawaii was made a state in 1959.)
Later in Lewis's show, the General Manager of KPOA came on the air to publicly apologize for the hoax announcement and fire Lewis. However, the audience responded with sympathy for Lewis, and many called in to urge the station to reconsider. But it turned out the "firing" was also a hoax. The "general manager" was actually one of Lewis' colleagues, Buck Buchwach.
IRS agent Stanley McKenney subsequently called the station and asked them to leave his office out of any further pranks. He said his office was busy enough processing the 1953 returns, without having to deal with numerous calls from people seeking a refund.
Lewis, who was the most popular dj in Hawaii, also went by the name "J. Aukhead Pupule," which was Polynesian for "Crazy Fishhead".
Hal Lewis, aka J. Aukhead Pupule, or Crazy Fishhead
The Great Wasp Swarm Hoax (1949)Phil Shone, a New Zealand deejay for radio station 1ZB, announced to his listeners that a mile-wide wasp swarm was headed towards Auckland. He urged his listeners to take a variety of steps to protect themselves and their homes from the winged menace. For instance, he suggested that they wear their socks over their trousers when they left for work, and that they leave honey-smeared traps outside their doors. Hundreds of people dutifully heeded his advice, until he finally admitted that it had all been a joke.
The New Zealand Broadcasting Service was not amused by Shone's prank. Its director, Professor James Shelley, denounced the hoax on the grounds that it undermined the rules of proper broadcasting. From then on, a memo was sent out each year before April Fool's Day reminding New Zealand radio stations of their obligation to report the truth, and nothing but the truth.
April Fool Experiment (1940)Radio comedian Don McNeill staged experiments in the lobby of Chicago's Merchandise Mart to test whether people would still fall for some of the oldest April fool gags. He discovered that 20 of the first 25 people who saw a bill fold lying on the floor stooped to pick it up, only to have it yanked away. In addition, McNeill set up an aquarium with a sign "Invisible Peruvian fish." He asked spectators to estimate the length of the fish. Fifty-six of the spectators turned in written estimates. (For more about the "invisible fish" prank, see Brazilian Invisible Fish.) [The Galveston Daily News, Apr 2, 1940.]
World To End Tomorrow (1940)On March 31, 1940 the Franklin Institute issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day. The release was picked up by radio station KYW which broadcast the following message: "Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city." The public reaction was immediate. Local authorities were flooded with frantic phone calls. The panic only subsided after the Franklin Institute assured people that it had made no such prediction. The prankster responsible for the press release turned out to be William Castellini, the Institute's press agent. He had intended to use the fake release to publicize an April 1st lecture at the institute titled "How Will the World End?" Soon afterwards, the Institute dismissed Castellini.