The Museum of Hoaxes
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April Fool's Day, 1963
Mothers Day Already?. (1963)
"Boss Wally Gerdes must have thought it was Mothers Day when 14 of his employees in the installation department at Western Electric Co.'s Montebellow, Calif., plant showed up Monday in maternity smocks well filled out. But it was just the girls' pregnant (pillows) idea of an April Fool's Day joke. Five of them aren't married." More…
Pittsburgh Pirates Move to Titusville. (1963)
The Titusville Herald ran a headline across the top of its sports page declaring that the Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball team was moving to the small town of Titusville, Pennsylvania (population 5000). The team reportedly was making the move because it was "tired of battling the city fathers for a new stadium on Pittsburgh's North Side." Players for the Pirates were said to be happy with the move, although reliefer Roy Face asked, "Where's Titusville?" The April Fool's Day announcement caused the first sellout of the Titusville Herald in many years, as people bought copies for their scrapbooks. More…
The Yenom Tree. (1963)
VIEW magazine revealed the existence of the Yenom Tree, a "rare perennial" owned by Mrs. Loo Flirpa of Appleton, Wisconsin, which sprouted "bright, green American one-dollar bills with uniformly high serial numbers." In an unusual mutation, this year the Yenom Tree had also sprouted a "flawless five-dollar bill." Mrs. Flirpa had entered into "an exclusive arrangement with the U.S. Mint to sell Yenom tree seedlings through a system of greenhouses to be operated through local offices of the Federal Reserve System." More…
Dennis the Menace. (1963)
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Bogus Bank Robbery. (1963)
A 14-year-old Connecticut schoolboy walked into a bank during lunch and handed the teller a napkin, on which was written a demand for money. The teller handed him $600. The boy began to leave the bank, then turned around and handed the money back. Police later arrested him and sent him to a New Haven juvenile detention center. [Chicago Tribune - Apr 2, 1963] More…
The Glossoresonator. (1963)
In the week before April 1st, the New York Telephone company announced that it planned to use a new transistorized device called a "Glossoresonator" to intercept prank calls to the Bronx zoo. It noted that on the last April 1, 929 prank calls had been made to the zoo. However, it declined to explain exactly how the glossoresonator worked. But when April 1st arrived, the company admitted that no such device existed. Nor had its announcement done anything to deter pranksters from calling the zoo. 755 hoax calls were intercepted by operators. More…
Cassius Clay Wins Literary Prize. (1963)
The Yale Literary Magazine announced that pugilist Cassius Clay, aka the "Louisville Lip" (later known as Muhammad Ali), had been awarded the Ephraim Barnard Gates Award, given to the person "who has done the most to revitalize poetry during the last year." The award committee cited "his mockery of the loose trochee, culminating in shocking spondees in the penultimate lines, and the final heavy line in irregular iambics" which produced "stanzas almost perfectly orchestrated." The Literary Magazine explained that the Ephraim Barnard Gates Award was a little-known prize, presentation of which had been discontinued after the Civil War but which had been revived in honor of Clay. More…
Fire Chief Laughs. (1963)
As East Haven Fire Chief Thomas J. Hayes was watching a ventriloquism show at the New Haven Arena, the ventriloquist announced that there was a message for Hayes: the Edgewater Beach Club was on fire. Hayes laughed as the ventriloquist repeated the message. Finally a receptionist was sent to alert Hayes that the message was true and that he needed to join his men. The fire department, at a loss about how to locate Hayes in the audience, had asked the ventriloquist to deliver the message. Hayes, however, interpreted the message as a prank on him. The unoccupied beach club burned to the ground. [Meriden Record - Apr 2, 1963] More…
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