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|
German April Fool's Day Hoaxes
German April Fool's Day Hoaxes
The iShave (2004)
The German software company Application Systems Heidelberg debuted an iShave attachment for the iPod, allowing you to transform your iPod music player into an electric razor. The website boasted: "Now with your iPod you can not only hear good music everywhere, you can also get a smooth shave to look good."
US To Move Berlin Embassy (2003)
Germany's Tageszeitung claimed that the US had decided to move its Berlin embassy because it was too close to the French embassy. (Relations between the two countries were tense at the time because of French resistance to the U.S. war in Iraq.) Also, the embassy was located on Pariser Platz (meaning Parisian Square). The newspaper noted that Washington might reconsider the move, "but only if the name of the square is changed."
The German Der Tagesspiegel reported that the City of Berlin planned to raise money by auctioning the naming rights of the city's railway stations to the highest bidders. The city hoped it could raise as much as DM5m per station in this way. There was also discussion of charging the descendants of the 19th century composer Richard Wagner retrospectively for the existing station at Richard Wagner Platz.
The German newspaper Die Welt reported that Lufthansa airline would soon be offering its flyers an in-flight matchmaking service. Passengers who opted-in to the service would be seated next to someone who had been selected as a potential romantic partner. One outraged feminist was quoted as saying that Lufthansa should rename itself "Lust-hansa."
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.
A Martian in the USA (1950)
The Wiesbadener Tagblatt published a photo of a "Martian in the USA," showing American soldiers accompanying a one-legged creature with "a large head and a very small body."
The photo, as the paper subsequently explained, was created with the participation of Americans at the Wiesbaden US Army base, who posed with photographer Hans Scheffler's five-year-old son, Peter. Scheffler then replaced his son in the photo with the alien.
Scheffler's photo subsequently surfaced in the UFO-research community, where it was thought to be actual evidence of a captured extraterrestrial. This happened after an unknown informant, in May 1950, sent a clipping of the photo to the FBI, without noting its origin as an April fool spoof. The FBI duly filed away the photo and then released it to UFO researcher Barry Greenwood in 1979 after he filed a Freedom of Information Act request. The next year, 1980, the photo was included in The Roswell Incident, an alien-conspiracy book written by William Moore and Charles Berlitz.
Extraterrestrial Silverman (1950)
The Cologne Neue Illustrierte published a picture of "a tiny, aluminum-covered man" who had supposedly been rescued from a saucer that had crash landed after being shot by American anti-aircraft guns. The planet this being came from was unknown.
The photo subsequently became a famous "alien" photo, after its origin as an April fool hoax was forgotten. It was reproduced in books such as "Flying Saucers from Outer Space" (1953) by Donald Keyhoe and "The UFO Encyclopedia" (1980) by Margaret Sachs.
Charleston Daily Mail - Apr 6, 1950
Man Flies By Own Lung Power (1934)In April 1934, numerous U.S. newspapers printed a photograph distributed by the International News Photo agency showing a man flying through the air by means of his own lung power. The man was identified as German pilot Erich Kocher. Captions accompanying the photo explained that Kocher was wearing a device strapped to his chest which consisted of a box and two horizontal rotors. By blowing into the box, he could make the rotors revolve. This created enough suction in front of him to propel him through the air. He also wore skis on his feet as landing gear, and a fin on his back to steer himself.
Among the papers that printed this photo as an authentic piece of news were the New York Daily News (which, at that time, had the largest circulation in the U.S.), the New York American, the Daily Mirror, and the Chicago Herald & Examiner,
Even the prestigious New York Times ran the photo on April 15, 1934 in its Rotogravure Picture Section, placing the following caption beneath it:
A man flies on his own power for the first time in history: Erich Kocher, wearing a safety costume and blowing into a box to make two rotors revolve, soars from a runway into the air near Berlin. A tail skid attached to his waist steadies him in the air and skis on his feet act as landing gear.
Some papers also ran a second smaller photo as an insert, showing Kocher operating the "lung-power motor."
The Daily Independent, Monessen, Pa. (April 13, 1934)
The TruthWhat the American papers didn't realize was that the original source of the photo was the April Fool's Day edition of a German magazine, the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. International News Photo had distributed the photo to its American subscribers without identifying the photo as a joke.
International News Photo also confused details of the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung's original article. In the original, it wasn't the force of Kocher's breath that caused the rotors to turn. Instead, the pilot breathed normally into the box, triggering a chemical reaction that extracted the carbon dioxide from his breath and used it to power a small motor. The fact that carbon dioxide is not very combustible and thus would make a terrible fuel was part of the joke. International News Photo also misspelled the pilot's name. In the original it was Erich Koycher, which was a pun on the German word "keuchen" meaning to wheeze or gasp for breath.
Archaeologist Howard Carter, shown in the picture below, had recently — on Feb. 16, 1923 — opened the burial chamber of Tutankhamen.
Atmospheric Energy Harnessed (1923)The Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung reported that a Russian scientist, Professor Figu Posakoff, had discovered a method of "harnessing the latent energy of the atmosphere," the energy displayed in thunderstorms and other atmospheric catastrophes. Harnessing this energy would allow the Soviets to hurl objects "of any weight almost unlimited distances."
The prospects opened by the new invention are of incalculable importance and certainly surpass by far the discovery of steam and electric power. This discovery was the reason for the military blockade of Uralsk and vicinity while for weeks the experiments proceeded with astounding results, which extended far into the Caspian plain and Siberia, the details of which are being kept strictly secret.
The Soviets were said to have promised to use this discovery only for peaceful purposes. However the Allgemeine Zeitung noted that it would certainly give the nation a powerful advantage in warfare.
The New York Times ran the story on its front page on April 3, having failed to realize that it was a joke.
Brandenburg Gate Photo (1919)
Hundreds of people, mostly shop girls and women, gathered in front of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin, drawn there by an announcement placed in Berlin papers the night before stating that a motion picture camera was going to take a picture in front of the gate at noon, and that everybody who was in front of the gate would be in the picture. The announcement was a prank perpetrated by a night worker at the papers. The Chicago Tribune foreign news service reported: "Some people stood there for hours before they realized that this was the first day of April, known in Germany as in the United States as April Fools' day." [Chicago Daily Tribune, Apr 5, 1919.]
Sunflower Lamps (1901)The German Gardener's News, edited by Herr Möller, issued an April Fool's Day edition that revealed various botanical discoveries. For instance, it was noted that scientific investigation had discovered some varieties of flowers that were so phosphorescent they gave sufficient light to read by. "Under proper conditions the flowers of the clematis glow like stars, while sunflowers, if correctly nurtured, make it quite possible to read a newspaper by their unaided light." An accompanying photograph showed Herr Möller reading by the light of sunflower lamps in his garden at 10 o'clock at night.
Also discussed in the same edition was the new fad of growing fruit trees in the likeness of Emperor William, and the accidental discovery of a hybrid of bottle gourds and grape vine that produced gourds full of delicious Rhine wine. [Chicago Tribune, Apr 13, 1901.]
Echinocereus dahliaeflorus (1900)
A German garden journal, Möllers Deutsche Gärtner Zeitung (15:148), printed details of a fictitious species of cactus, Echinocereus dahliaeflorus, in its April edition. The editor of the journal apparently forgot his own joke because he indexed the cactus name at the end of the year. [The Cactaceae]
A Meeting in Augsburg (1530)According to German legend, a meeting of lawmakers was supposed to occur in Augsburg on April 1, 1530 in order to consider various financial matters. Because of time considerations, the meeting did not take place. But numerous speculators, who had bet on the meeting occurring, lost their money and were ridiculed. German folklore has it that this was the origin of the custom of playing pranks on April 1.