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 Durand Auto Plant (1984)The Durand Express, a Michigan weekly, reported that Nissan would built an auto plant outside of Durand City. The new plant would reportedly employ thousands and pay higher wages than the nearby General Motors plant. Furthermore, Nissan would pay farmers $10,000 an acre for the land on which the plant was to be built. Many unemployed auto workers believed the story and inquired about how to apply for jobs at the plant. However, the story was exposed as a fake by a reporter working at a newspaper in Flint, Michigan. Many people responded angrily to the news that the story was a prank and cancelled their subscriptions. The paper’s editor explained that he hadn’t been trying to hurt anyone, and thought that he had exaggerated his story enough to make it unbelievable.
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.
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.
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]
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.
Fire alarm pulled (1923)
The Newburyport fire department responded to an alarm from the business district, but upon arrival found no fire. Police interviewed men standing near the alarm box who swore it hadn't been pulled.
But soon after the fire engine returned to the station, the telephone rang. The caller said, "April fool," and then hung up. [Portsmouth Herald — Apr 2, 1923]
Fatal Shooting (1915)James Pooley, a bartender in Evansville, Indiana, shot and killed Frank Stein, a saloon porter. Pooley claimed he thought the gun was unloaded and was playing an April Fool joke on Stein. Walter Schmidel, owner of the saloon, later admitted that he had removed an old weapon that had been behind the bar and had replaced it with a loaded revolver. [The Indianapolis Star, Apr 2, 1915.]
Compressed Air (1915)In what appeared to be an April Fool's prank gone badly wrong, Harry Zahrichs of Lackawanna, New York had to be rushed to the hospital after his fellow workmen injected compressed air into his body, tearing and dislodging some of his internal organs. [Trenton Evening Times, Apr 2, 1915.]
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]
Man regrets scaring wife (1896)[Des Moines Daily News, Apr 3, 1896.]
“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)
The Train to Drogheda (1844)
During the final week of March, 1844, placards appeared around Dublin advertising a free train ride on April 1st to all who desired it, transporting passengers to the town of Drogheda and back. Early on the first of April a large crowd gathered at the station. As a train approached, the crowd surged forward, eager to secure their free seats. But the conductors and overseers intervened to keep the people away from the train, informing them that there was no free ride. The crowd grew displeased, and a riot broke out. "The labourers on the road supported the overseers—the victims fought for their places, and the melee was tremendous." The following day a number of people went to the police station to lodge official complaints, but the police dismissed all complaints "in honour of the day." [The London Times, Apr 6, 1844]