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|
Traffic and Transportation
Traffic and Transportation
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.
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.]
Gasoline for Statue (1977)Radio Leeds reported that the city government had approved a plan to demolish the City Square and ship the Black Prince’s statue to an Arab buyer. In return, local citizens would receive a bargain price for gasoline—30 pence a gallon.
Parking Fees Reduced (1970)A radio station in Vienna, Austria told its audience that the city had decided to reduce parking permit fees. It also said that car drivers would be able to buy permits in tobacco shops and hand them to police officers in case of need. One police officer called the radio station to ask, "Could you please give me more details on the new order as I have not heard from my superiors yet." [The Washington Post, Apr 2, 1970.]
Bedford Bypass Airlift (1969)"A helicopter airlift has been initiated to carry slow moving vehicles over the Bedford Bypass Detour. Two pick-up points, one along Sunnyside Road and the other along Mile Level, have been established. The air lift will be limited to daylight hours. Those who desire to view the operation should first check their calendar."
[Bedford Gazette - Apr 1, 1969]
San Diego Freeway (1968)"So there you are on the San Diego Freeway and you want to make a simple little old turn. It's a problem, though. There are two ways to figure it out. One is that photographer Curt Johnson decided to whomp up an April Fool's Day picture and this is the result. In that case, it's no problem at all. You just steer home the usual way. The second way, though, is that it is four o'clock in the morning, you stayed too long in your favorite pub and it really looks like this. That, friend, IS a problem. Aren't you glad it's April Fool?"
[Long Beach Press-Telegram - Apr 1, 1968]
Scottdale Sinkhole (1967)The front page of the Scottdale Daily Courier showed a photo of a large sinkhole that had reportedly formed at a busy intersection downtown. The crater was estimated to be 45 feet deep.
The picture fooled many readers, despite the "April Fool" notation in the caption. The Courier later reported:
"One family was indignant when a member returned home from downtown Saturday and did not even mention the fact that a large portion of the street had caved in. Other readers expressed concern for the safety of passengers in the autos in the picture. Others coming downtown later Saturday to see the hole marveled at the rapid fill-in and repavement of the mythical 'mine sink.'"
Flying Bus (1950)
International Soundphoto distributed a photo of a flying bus swooping over the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The photo ran in many papers, accompanied by the caption: "Well, Well, look how all those Parisians are being missed by the bus at Place de la Concorde. Anything can happen in the French capital on April Fool's day, they say, but it is suspected that some zany darkroom jokester had something to do with this." [Newsweek - Apr 10, 1950.]
Tire in the Street Gag (1940)Ivan Pavic, a student a Frank Wiggins Trade School, lay a tire in the middle of the intersection of 17th and Hill Sts. in Los Angeles. He had anchored the tire to a manhole cover. The Los Angeles Times reported that, "It drew its usual number of motorists who stopped to try to pick up the tire." [Los Angeles Times, Apr 2, 1940.]
Stranded Steamer (1938)North Carolina's Twin City Sentinel ran a story on its front page claiming that "a long sleek transatlantic steamer," the S.S. Santa Pinta, had "plowed through the muddy waters of Yadkin River and anchored ten miles west of Winston-Salem." An accompanying photo showed the stranded steamer. Hundreds of people (who hadn't read to the end of the article to see the phrase "An April Fool's Dream!") decided to drive out to see the steamer, resulting in a traffic jam on the highway. [Winston-Salem Journal, Apr 1, 2009]
The Madmen of Gotham (circa 1200)British folklore links April Fool's Day to the town of Gotham, the legendary town of fools located in Nottinghamshire. According to legend, it was traditional in the 13th century for any road that the King placed his foot upon to become public property. So when the citizens of Gotham heard that King John (1166-1216) planned to travel through their town, they refused him entry, not wishing to lose their main road. When the King heard this, he sent soldiers to the town. But when the soldiers arrived in Gotham, they found the town full of lunatics engaged in foolish activities such as drowning fish or attempting to cage birds in roofless fences. Their foolery was all an act to make the King believe they were insane. The King fell for the ruse and declared the town too foolish to warrant punishment. Ever since then, according to legend, April Fool's Day has commemmorated their trickery. (The thumbnail shows a 1630 woodcut depicting a citizen of Gotham trying to trap a bird inside a roofless fence.)