The April Fool's Day "Stupid Law" Hoax
Dogs to be painted white.
Politiken, a Copenhagen newspaper, reported that the Danish parliament had passed a new law requiring all dogs to be painted white. The purpose of this, it explained, was to increase road safety by allowing dogs to be seen more easily at night. [Appleton Post-Crescent, Apr 1, 1965.]
Europeans To Drive On Left Side.
French state-run radio announced that European motorists would soon be required to drive on the left side of the road, in order to help British drivers when they joined the Common Market. Almost immediately the radio station began receiving hundreds of phone calls from enraged French motorists. As a result, the station quickly confessed that the story was a hoax.
Families limited to .75 children.
The Rivereast News Bulletin (Glastonbury, Connecticut) announced that the city's Board of Education had devised a plan to eliminate overcrowding in classrooms. The plan was to forbid families from having more than .75 children per household for the next 15 years. The Board of Education admitted that it had not yet figured out how families could limit themselves to .75 children, but that a computer had determined that this was the ideal number. It was suggested that families unhappy with this ruling move to California. The Board added that the new ruling would not become law for another ten months. Therefore, parents who wanted more than .75 children were urged to "get started this afternoon."
Royalty Fees for Impersonations.
The London Sunday Telegraph reported that a new European law would grant individuals the right to own their voice and distinctive mannerisms. As a consequence, comedians and impressionists would be forced to pay royalties to those they imitated. Politicians, actors, and other public figures who are frequently imitated by satirists could therefore begin to receive substantial payments in addition to their regular income. Impressionists anticipated that the ruling would present a serious challenge to their livelihood. The ruling apparently arose from a case involving a French singer, Yves Gainsbourg, who claimed that other entertainers were profiting by imitating his idiosyncratic stage manner, "described as a cross between Tom Jones and Charles Aznavour." The ruling would extend even to "end-of-pier shows, where journeymen comedians still make careers out of impersonating Norman Wisdom, Mick Jagger and Boy George." The Finnish European Commssioner, Larip Loof, was quoted as saying that the ruling was "a logical progression" from existing laws covering intellectual property rights. The ruling was scheduled to become law on April 1, 2003.
European Committee Bans Single-Shelled Eggs.
The European Committee issued a communique in which it declared that it was banning single-shelled eggs, in order to prevent cracked eggs being found in food stores. The ban was a play on the French word "coque" which means both egg shell and ship's hull.
New Zealand's Southland Times reported that all those attending the Invercargill Civic Theatre would be required to first weigh-in if they wanted to sit upstairs, due to concerns about the ability of the second level to support heavy weight:
"'Luckily, Southlanders seem relatively slim and it could be an incentive for some people, including myself, to watch what we eat,' [Mayor Boniface] said. Anyone more than 75kg who wanted to sit upstairs would have to buy two seats, he said. 'However, if you're a man with a petite wife or girlfriend, you might be able to get away with it.' Telephone bookings would still be accepted but customers would have to declare their weight and would be weighed at the theatre."
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.