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|
British April Fool's Day Hoaxes
British April Fool's Day Hoaxes
The British Weather Machine (1981)The Guardian reported that scientists at Britain's research labs in Pershore had "developed a machine to control the weather." The article was titled, "Britain Rules the Skies." The article explained that, "Britain will gain the immediate benefit of long summers, with rainfall only at night, and the Continent will have whatever Pershore decides to send it." Readers were also assured that Pershore scientists would make sure that it snowed every Christmas in Britain. Accompanying the article was a picture of a scruffy-looking scientists surrounded by scientific equipment. The picture was captioned, "Dr. Chisholm-Downright expresses quiet satisfaction as a computer printout announced sunshine in Pershore and a forthcoming blizzard over Marseilles."
The 26-Day Marathon (1981)
The Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles.
The Daily Mail showed pictures of Nakajimi running and reported that he was still somewhere out on the roads of England, determined to finish the race. Supposedly he had been spotted occasionally, still running.
The translation error was attributed to Timothy Bryant, an import director, who said, "I translated the rules and sent them off to him. But I have only been learning Japanese for two years, and I must have made a mistake. He seems to be taking this marathon to be something like the very long races they have over there."
Big Ben Goes Digital (1980)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 Island of Murango (1980)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 supposedly 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. However, Dick T. Murango and the island of Murango were entirely fictitious, though in 1972 a man named Dick T. Murunga had won a bronze medal for boxing. Mr. Murunga, however, was from Kenya.
The Real Sherlock Holmes (1980)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.“
The article quoted Maj. Ursa who noted, "Bears hibernate in the winter and the amazing thing is that in the spring the skins really start to sprout." An accompanying photo showed Guardsmen sitting in an army barbershop having their helmets trimmed. The story was picked up by the London Daily Express and run as a straight story.
Ipswich Chunnel (1980)An Ipswich radio station reported plans for a tunnel under the North Sea, connecting Felixstowe in England with Zeebrugge, Belgium. The station claimed that 800 Felixstowe homes would have to be bulldozed to make way for a terminal and that digging would begin on April 1, 1981. Listeners jammed the switchboard. "We were amazed that so many people were taken in," the station admitted later. [Kingman Daily Miner, Apr 2, 1980.]
Operation Parallax (1979)Capital Radio, a London radio station, announced that Operation Parallax would soon go into effect. This was a government plan to resynchronize the British calendar with the rest of the world. It was explained that ever since 1945 Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of all other countries because of the constant switching back and forth from British Summer Time. To remedy this situation, the British government had decided to cancel April 5 and 12 that year. Capital Radio received numerous calls as a result of this announcement. One employer wanted to know if she had to pay her employees for the missing days. Another woman was curious about what would happen to her birthday, which fell on one of the cancelled days.
San Serriffe (1977)The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement describing the tenth anniversary of the small (nonexistent) island of San Serriffe. The island’s geography was named after printing terms. For instance, its two islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, and its capital was Bodoni. Articles described the eccentric culture of the island. Authentic advertisements accompanied the articles and played into the hoax. For instance, Texaco offered a contest for which the first prize was a two-week trip to Cocobanana Beach in San Serriffe. Kodak ran an ad in which it said, “If you have a picture of San Serriffe, we’d like to see it.“ The Guardian reported that its phones rang all day as people called up requesting more information about the island. The success of this hoax was largely responsible for the flood of April Fool’s Day jokes that appeared in other papers in succeeding years. (See the Hoaxipedia article: San Serriffe)
Gasoline for Statue (1977)Radio Leeds reported that the city government had approved a plan to demolish the City Square and ship the Black Prince’s statue to an Arab buyer. In return, local citizens would receive a bargain price for gasoline—30 pence a gallon.
Wordsworth’s Cottage Sold (1977)Radio Carlisle reported that Wordsworth’s Dove Cottage had been sold to an American and was being shipped to Arizona brick by brick.
Bionic Horse (1977)Radio Merseyside in Britain reported about a ‘bionic’ horse. The broken leg of this horse had been replaced with a plastic leg that gave the horse more spring in its step. As a result, the horse was favored to win the Grand National.
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.
The Musendrophilus (1975)The famous naturalist David Attenborough gave a report on BBC Radio 3 about a group of islands in the Pacific known as the Sheba Islands. He played sound recordings of the island’s fauna, including a recording of an alleged night-singing tree mouse called the Musendrophilus. He also described a web-footed species whose webs were prized by inhabitants of the island as reeds for musical instruments.