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|
Zoo reroutes prank calls (1959)
The New York Times reported that "The Bronx Botanical and the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens are awaiting, wearily, their usual calls for Messrs Astor, Bush and Flower, and the Planetarium the usual requests for Mr. McCloud or Mr. Starr." However, the employees of the Bronx Zoo and the Coney Island Aquarium were given secret numbers to use, so that all calls to the regular numbers could be intercepted by the telephone company, "and the joke victims told the hard truth." The telephone company estimated that it intercepted well over 5000 prank calls. [New York Times, Apr 1, 1959.]
Bison march on Warsaw (1959)
Wire services reported a variety of April Fool's Day hoaxes perpetrated by the Polish media. One newspaper reported that a herd of thirty bison was marching on Warsaw; another that Buckingham Palace sentries were to be allowed to lick ice cream cones on duty. A third paper reported that gasoline stations were being converted into underground milk tanks in order to ensure a supply of cold milk during the summer.
Fake Snake (1959)A photographer for the Great Bend Tribune placed a fake snake on the pavement in downtown Great Bend and then hid in a car to capture people's candid reactions:
French Poodle (1959)"What's This? — Gail Speicher gives her French poodle 'Domino' an airing. But wait a minute ... that's no poodle! Seems like anything can happen today. It's April Fool."
[Lebanon Daily News - Apr 1, 1959]
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.
Pet Oyster-Eating Hippo (1937)"Charleston, R.I.—Dr. Harold Sand's pet oyster-eating hippo escapes from backyard." [Life, Mar 22, 1937.]
No Mr. Fish (1925)In an effort to sidestep the flood of calls asking for Mr. Fish, the New York aquarium asked the telephone company to disconnect their service for the day. [Oakland Tribune, Apr 1, 1925.]
Calling Dr. Lyon (1920)The Los Angeles Times reported that the Selig Zoo, in east LA, was swamped by calls on April 1. "Messages were left on various temporarily vacated desks in town and requests were made over phones to the unwary to ring up Dr. Lyon, Mr. Bear, Mrs. Fox, Miss Wolf and the Widow Campbell. Several people even were trying to locate certains Miss Cats. The only animals which escaped attention during the day were Mr. Hippopotamus, Mrs. Rhinoceros and Miss Elephant, who are too big to answer calls, over the wire anyhow." [Los Angeles Times, Apr 4, 1920.]
The Venetian Horse Mystery (1919)The citizens of Venice woke on the morning of April Fool's Day to find piles of horse manure deposited throughout the Piazza San Marco, as if a procession of horses had gone through there. This was extremely unusual, since the Piazza is surrounded by canals and not easily accessible to horses. The manure turned out to be the work of the infamous British prankster Horace de Vere Cole, who was honeymooning in Venice. He had transported a load of manure over from the mainland the night before with the help of a gondolier and had then placed it throughout the Piazza. Perhaps he should have been paying more attention to his wife while on honeymoon because, evidently tired by his constant hijinks, she divorced him within a few years.
Mouse in Egg Prank Goes Bad (1900)
Edith Walrach, a nineteen-year-old woman of a "very nervous temperament" was in serious condition as a result of an April Fool's Day joke that went bad. While visiting friends in Binghampton, New York, a practical joker "procured a small live mouse, which he put in an egg-shell, covering the opening with plaster of Paris. This was brought in with the breakfast and when Miss Walrach broke the shell and the liberated mouse jumped out she screamed and fainted away. During the day she had three nervous fits, and her physician pronounced her condition critical." The young man was wild with grief. He was her fiancee. [Fort Wayne Evening Sentinel, Apr 3, 1900]
“Subscribers Tickets—Admit bearer to the Zoological gardens on Easter Sunday. The procession of the animals will take place at 3 o’clock, and this ticket will not be available after that hour.—J.O. Wildboar, Secretary.“
The guard explained to the crowd that the tickets were not valid, and that they were all victims of an april fool’s day prank. Upon hearing this, the crowd grew more restless and began to insist loudly that they had paid their admission and were determined to see the animals of the zoo (the lions, tigers, bears, leopards, etc.) all walk in procession at 3 o’clock. Soon it became apparent that a riot was going to ensue unless these people were admitted, but before the situation became out of hand an extra force of constables arrived and dispersed the crowd.
The Zoological Society investigated the situation and discovered that the tickets had been sold by Mrs. Sarah Marks, a bookseller. The Society pressed charges against Mrs. Marks, but withdrew them when she wrote a letter apologizing for her behavior. Mrs. Marks’ prank recalled an old London custom of giving tickets to out-of-towners on the first of April granting them admission to see the feeding of the lions at the Tower of London. The out-of-towners would expectantly journey down to the Tower to see the feeding, only to learn that no lions had been kept in the Tower for many years. (See article: Washing the Lions)
Grand Exhibition of Donkeys (1864)
On March 31st, 1864, the Evening Star of Islington announced that a "grand exhibition of donkeys" would be held the next day at the Agricultural Hall. Early the next morning a large crowd gathered outside of the hall. Slowly it dawned on them that they themselves were the donkeys.
Washing the Lions (1857)Late in March 1860 numerous people throughout London received the following invitation:
By twelve o’clock on April 1st a large crowd had gathered outside the tower. However, no lions had been kept in the tower for decades, so the people went home disappointed. This prank had a very long pedigree. An instance of it was recorded as far back as 1698. For decades, it had been regularly perpetrated (on a smaller scale) upon unsuspecting out-of-towners. (See article: Washing the Lions)
The Washing of the Lions (1698)The April 2, 1698 edition of Dawks’s News-Letter reported that “Yesterday being the first of April, several persons were sent to the Tower Ditch to see the Lions washed.” This is the first recorded instance of a popular April Fool's Day prank that involved sending people to the Tower of London to see the "washing of the lions." The joke was that there was no lion-washing ceremony. It was a fool's errand. (For more info, see the Hoaxipedia article: Washing The Lions)