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|
Skyforest Orange Trees (1950)
Residents of Skyforest, near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California, staged an elaborate prank. Twenty-five of them, led by cartoonist Frank Adams, crept out during the night and strung 50,000 oranges along a one-mile section of the scenic Rim of the World highway, making it appear that the region's pine and cedar trees had suddenly grown fruit. The oranges were leftovers from the recent National Orange Show in San Bernardino. [The Independent Record (Helena, Montana), Apr 2, 1950.]
Flying Bus (1950)
International Soundphoto distributed a photo of a flying bus swooping over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The photo ran in many papers, accompanied by the caption: "Well, Well, look how all those Parisians are being missed by the bus at Place de la Concorde. Anything can happen in the French capital on April Fool's day, they say, but it is suspected that some zany darkroom jokester had something to do with this." [Newsweek - Apr 10, 1950.]
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.]
Naked in L.A. (1940)Fifty-three-year-old Ed Draper walked completely naked out of a downtown hotel in Los Angeles and strolled for four blocks before he was picked up by cops in their radio patrol car. He was taken to the General Hospital psychopathic ward for observation. [Oakland Tribune, 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.
Tire in the Street Gag (1940)Ivan Pavic, a student a Frank Wiggins Trade School, lay a tire in the middle of the intersection of 17th and Hill Sts. in Los Angeles. He had anchored the tire to a manhole cover. The Los Angeles Times reported that, "It drew its usual number of motorists who stopped to try to pick up the tire." [Los Angeles Times, Apr 2, 1940.]
Woman Murdering Her Husband (1940)The Los Angeles Times reported that police officers were kept busy responding to fictitious reports of "big fires" throughout the city. They also responded to a report of a "woman murdering her husband" on N. Gower St. "The woman, mystified when a squad of detectives rushed to her home demanding the body and the suspect, soon joined the officers with a hollow laugh which somehow lacked the humor which the prankster probably expected."
Hutchins Quits (1940)The University of Chicago's student newspaper, the Daily Maroon, reported that UC President Robert Maynard Hutchins had resigned due to the unfavorable reaction from his comments on football. A successor was not named, but the article mentioned Postmaster Gen. James A. Farley (said to be an expert in "political science") as a possibility. The article also stated that the French government had presented the university with the luxury liner, the Normandie, as a gesture of goodwill. [The Freeport Journal Standard, Apr 1, 1940.]
Stranded Steamer (1938)North Carolina's Twin City Sentinel ran a story on its front page claiming that "a long sleek transatlantic steamer," the S.S. Santa Pinta, had "plowed through the muddy waters of Yadkin River and anchored ten miles west of Winston-Salem." An accompanying photo showed the stranded steamer. Hundreds of people (who hadn't read to the end of the article to see the phrase "An April Fool's Dream!") decided to drive out to see the steamer, resulting in a traffic jam on the highway. [Winston-Salem Journal, Apr 1, 2009]
Spring Recess Cancelled (1938)
The student body of Cornell University was thrown into turmoil when the Cornell Daily Sun announced on its front page that school officials had decided to cancel spring recess. The reason given was that "a sub-committee appointed at the last meeting of the faculty to investigate student marks at the end of the first six weeks discovered that marks were so far below the required standard that they felt some immediate drastic action was necessary." The local railroad reported receiving frantic calls from students trying to get refunds on tickets they had already purchased to travel home.
Pet Oyster-Eating Hippo (1937)"Charleston, R.I.—Dr. Harold Sand's pet oyster-eating hippo escapes from backyard." [Life, Mar 22, 1937.]
Old Rye Willow Trees (1937)"Old Rye, N.H.—A freak windstorm spells things in branches of willow trees." [Life, Mar 22, 1937.]