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|
Flying Penguins (2008)The BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series Miracles of Evolution had captured footage of Adélie penguins taking to the air. It even offered a video clip of these flying penguins, which became one of the most viewed videos on the internet. Presenter Terry Jones explained that, instead of huddling together to endure the Antarctic winter, these penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they "spend the winter basking in the tropical sun." A follow-up video explained how the BBC created the special effects of the flying penguins.
Repent, Criminals! (2004)
Norway's TV 2 announced a new crime-reduction strategy being considered by the police. Prisons were going to send inmates to see The Passion of the Christ. Police officers would then position themselves outside the theater and wait for the criminals to confess and repent after seeing the movie.
Russian Hair-Restoring Well (2001)Russian Public TV reported that a spring had been discovered in the Caucasus mountains with the ability to cure male baldness. "According to the latest statistics, the number of bald men in Adygeya has plummeted," the report noted. The news program showed "before" and "after" pictures of the man who had made the discovery. The BBC had perpetrated a similar April Fool's Day hoax in 1977.
South Park Bait and Switch (1998)
The animated Comedy Central series South Park had been heavily promoting that on the April 1 season premiere of the second season of the show, it would reveal the identity of the father of a character Cartman, thus resolving the cliffhanger it had left viewers with the season before. The April 1 show began as normal, with clips shown from previous episodes, but then a message flashed on the screen stating it had all been an April Fool's joke. Nothing was going to be revealed. Instead the episode focused on the completely unrelated adventures of the flatulent characters Terrance and Philip. Fans of the series were irate. Comedy Central received over 1500 angry emails. A spokesman admitted that the fans "got the joke... they just didn't like it." Fans had to wait until April 22 before the identity of Cartman's father actually was revealed.
The HA! Network (1990)
MTV, VH-1, and Nick at Nite turned over their airwaves (and their 50 million viewers) to the HA! network, a comedy channel which broadcast in their place for the day. No one in the broadcast industry had been informed that the switch would take place. The broadcast was the debut of the MTV-backed HA! network. MTV had hoped that the prank would give the fledgling network some much-needed publicity.
The HA! network lasted a year before merging with the Comedy Channel.
Space Needle Collapses (1989)
Seattle's "Almost Live" comedy show started their April 1 program with a news flash: the Seattle Space Needle had collapsed. A reporter presented the news, and then several shots of the Space Needle lying on its side in a pile of rubble were shown.
A banner across the images read, "Space Needle — April 1, 1989. April Fools Day." Also, the show's host, John Keister, appeared after a commercial break and assured viewers the announcement had only been a joke. Nevertheless, many people were fooled. Staff at the Space Needle reported receiving over 700 calls from concerned viewers, and 911 lines jammed from the sudden rush of calls from people seeking more information.
Craig Smith, the channel's programming director, told the Seattle Times the next day, "I really think they used as much common sense as they could, but maybe it (the disclaimer) was too subtle. If we scared anybody, we certainly want to apologize."
The Eruption of Mt. Milton (1980)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.
Hair-Restoring Well (1977)Nationwide, a BBC television program, profiled a well located on James Coatsworth’s farm in Rothbury, Northumberland. This well supposedly had the power to make hair grow on bald men’s heads.
Metric Time (1975)Australia's This Day Tonight revealed that the country would soon be converting to "metric time." Under the new system there would be 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour, and 20-hour days. Furthermore, seconds would become millidays, minutes become centidays, and hours become decidays. The report included an interview with Deputy Premier Des Corcoran who (participating in the prank) praised the new time system. The Adelaide townhall was shown sporting a new 10-hour metric clock face. The show received numerous calls from viewers who fell for the hoax. One caller wanted to know how he could convert his newly purchased digital clock to metric time. [Source: Talking TelevisionAU]
Sydney Opera House Sinking (early 1970s?)Australia's This Day Tonight reported that the Sydney Opera House was sinking into the harbor. The report showed scuba divers examining the foundations and included interviews with concerned "experts".
Dial-O-Fish (circa 1970?)Australia's This Day Tonight ran a segment about the "Dial-O-Fish," a new electronic fishing rod that could be set to catch any desired species. A "fishing expert" demonstrated how to use the device. First he dialed up garfish, and soon had caught half a dozen. Next he dialed up tommy ruff. Hundreds of viewers reportedly called in wanting to know where to buy one, and a Japanese manufacturer declared it was ready to go into production immediately.
BBC TV interviewed a professor from London University who had perfected a technology he called "smellovision." It allowed viewers to smell aromas produced in the television studio in their homes. The professor explained that his machine broke scents down into their component molecules which could then be transmitted through the screen.
The professor offered a demonstration by placing first some coffee beans and then onions into the smellovision machine. He asked viewers to report by noon whether they were able to smell anything, instructing them that "for best results stand six feet away from your set and sniff." Viewers called in from across the country to confirm that they distinctly experienced these scents as if they were there in the studio with him. Some claimed the onions made their eyes water.
The Smellovision experiment was repeated on June 12, 1977 by Bristol University psychology lecturer Michael O'Mahony, who was interested in exploring the effect of the power of suggestion on smell. O'Mahony told viewers of Reports Extra, a late-night news show that aired in the Manchester region, that a new technology called Ramen spectroscopy would allow the station to transmit smells over the airwaves. He told them he was going to transmit "a pleasant country smell, not manure" over their TV sets, and he asked people to report what they smelled. Within the next 24 hours the station received 172 responses. The highest number came from people who reported smelling hay or grass. Others reported their living rooms filling with the scent of flowers, lavender, apple blossom, fruits, potatoes, and even homemade bread. Two people complained that the transmission brought on a severe bout of hay fever.
Instant Color TV (1962)Sveriges Television, Sweden's National TV broadcaster, announced that it would be conducting an experiment that would allow its viewers to receive color reception on their black-and-white sets. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, explained thanks to a new technology that took advantage of the prismatic nature of light and the phenomenon of “double slit interference," viewers could convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their tv screen. Stensson proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970. (For more details, see the article Instant Color TV in the Hoaxipedia.)
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest (1957)The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied that they should "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best." For more information, see the Swiss Spaghetti Harvest article in the Hoaxipedia. (The footage of the hoax itself can be seen on YouTube.)