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|
The Return of Idi Amin (2001)Tanzania's Sunday Observer reported there was panic in the town of Tabora when former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was seen walking down the main street of the town dressed in a kilt. Accompanying him were an entourage of armed, semi-naked warriors, 37 of his children, and a member of the Saudi royal family. The Observer noted: "Unfortunately, because of the presence of the Saudi prince, nobody was allowed to photograph this unique whistle-stop visit." At the time, Amin was actually living in exile in Saudi Arabia. He had been deposed from power in 1979 by rebels backed by Tanzanian forces.
Internet Spring Cleaning (1997)
An email message circulated warning that the internet would be shut down for cleaning for 24 hours from March 31st until April 2nd. This cleaning was said to be necessary to clear out the "electronic flotsam and jetsam" that had accumulated in the network. Dead e-mail and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites would be purged. The cleaning would be done by "five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world." During this period, users were warned to disconnect all devices from the internet. The message supposedly originated from the "Interconnected Network Maintenance Staff, Main Branch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
The joke was an updated version of an old one that used to be told about the phone system. For many years, gullible phone customers had been warned that the phone systems would be cleaned on April Fool's Day. They were cautioned to place plastic bags over the ends of the phone to catch the dust that might be blown out of the phone lines during this period.
Blue Can Warning (1996)
Virgin Cola announced that in the interest of consumer safety it had integrated a new technology into its cans. When the cola passed its sell-by date, the liquid would react with the metal in the can, turning the can bright blue. Virgin warned that consumers should therefore avoid purchasing all blue cans. Coincidentally, Pepsi had recently unveiled its newly designed cans which were bright blue.
Operation Killer Bees (1994)
Residents of Glendale and Peoria, Arizona woke to find yellow fliers posted around their neighborhoods warning them of "Operation Killer Bees." Apparently, there was to be widespread aerial spraying later that day to eradicate a killer bee population that had made its way into the area. Residents were warned to stay indoors from 9 am until 2:30 pm. The phone numbers of local television and radio stations were provided. On the bottom of the flier the name of an official government agency was listed: Arizona Pest Removal Information Line (For Outside Operations Listings). The first letters of this agency spelled out "April Fool." Few people got the joke. Radio and television stations received numerous calls, as did the Arizona Agriculture Department. Many worried residents stayed inside all day, watching anxiously for the pest-control planes.
Drivers Must Wear Helmets (1992)Alison St. John, a radio reporter for KPBS, the San Diego affiliate of NPR, warned that San Diego would be pelted by hail "the size of duck eggs." Terry Boyd of Metro Traffic followed up this announcement by warning that all drivers "must wear a helmet."
WAQY-FM morning disc jockey David Lee warned his listeners of an "electrostatic power surge" that would happen between 7:30 and 7:45 AM. He told them to protect themselves by unplugging appliances and taping up wall sockets with electrical tape.
The local utility company received over 50 calls from people seeking to verify the warning, provoking it to send a letter of complaint to WAQY, calling the prank "beyond the bounds of having fun on April Fool's Day." It noted that one person had disconnected life-sustaining equipment "in order to avoid the consequences your announcer warned of."
No charges were brought against the station because the FCC determined that it had broken no federal law.
The Interfering Brassieres (1982)The Daily Mail published an article titled "Do not adjust your set—it could be your bra!" in which it claimed that 10,000 brassieres made by a local manufacturer had developed a serious problem. Apparently the support wire in the bras had been fashioned out of specially treated copper. This copper wire had originally been designed for use in fire alarms, but when it came into contact with nylon and body heat, it was producing static electricity. This static electricity, in turn, was then being emitted by thousands of unsuspecting women, causing interference with the reception of television signals throughout the country. As the article put it, "Widespread television interference, which has brought complaints from viewers all over Britain in recent weeks, is being caused not by unusual atmospheric conditions, but by 10,000 'rogue' bras."
The Daily Mail advised women to conduct a simple test to determine if their bra was "rogue": "After wearing the bra for at least half an hour, take it off and shake it a few inches above the TV." The paper displayed a picture of a model shaking her bra above a TV in order to show women how to perform the test.
Hundreds of readers took the article seriously, not recognizing it as an April Fool's Day joke. Among the readers who were fooled was the chief engineer of British Telecom. According to later reports, upon reading the article he immediately called his office and asked that all his female employees be checked to see if their bras were interfering with any electronic equipment.
Athens Pollution Alert (1982)Greece's state-controlled National Radio Network issued a warning that pollution had reached emergency levels in downtown Athens, and that the city would have to be immediately evacuated. All schools were called upon to close immediately, and the children to be sent home. Furthermore, anyone driving a car was asked to abandon it and flee to open ground. Many people took the broadcast seriously and attempted to leave the city, since pollution is a serious problem in Athens. Within three hours the Radio Network had retracted the broadcast, revealing it to be a joke, but by then the damage had been done. One man sued the network for $820,000, claiming the prank had caused him mental distress. The director of the network submitted his resignation over the incident, and the originator of the hoax was fired.
Rat Fur Coats (1980)The South African Star newspaper ran a story exposing an illicit ring of rat furriers. It said the police had raided a sewer where the ratters were breeding a special strain of imported Irish rats and selling the pelts as mink, seal skin, and other furs. Hundreds of rat fur coats had been sold. Women were warned that if their coats smelled fishy, they were probably made of rat fur. As a result of the story, furriers were besieged with calls from worried customers. After receiving complaints, the Star reminded its readers that the story had been run on April 1st. [Chicago Tribune, Apr 3, 1980.]
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.]
The Eruption of Mt. Milton (1980)The Channel 7 news in Boston ended with a special bulletin announcing that a 635-foot hill in Milton, Massachusetts, known as the Great Blue Hill, had erupted, and that lava and ash were raining down on nearby homes. Footage was shown of lava pouring down a hillside. The announcer explained that the eruption had been triggered by a geological chain reaction set off by the recent eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington. An audio tape was played in which President Carter and the Governor of Massachusetts were heard declaring the eruption to be a “serious situation.“ At the end of the segment, the repoter held up a sign that read “April Fool.“ However, by that time local authorities had already been flooded with frantic phone calls from Milton residents. One man, believing that his house would soon be engulfed by lava, had carried his sick wife outside in order to escape. The Milton police continued to receive worried phone calls well into the night. Channel 7 was so embarrassed by the panicked reaction that they apologized for the confusion later that night, and the executive producer responsible for the prank was fired.