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|
American April Fool's Day Hoaxes
American April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Soap Fudge (1959)
Runaway Missile (1959)The Light of San Antonio, Texas reported that a huge army missile had accidentally escaped from Kelly Air Force Base during testing, "screamed over San Antonio," and crashed into a water tank near Trinity University. An accompanying picture showed the missile embedded in the ground as water from the tank poured over it. An Airforce Colonel was quoted as saying, "We're spending a great deal of money and much of this nation's international diplomacy is based on the armed strength this and other units like it achieve. So I hope you'll understand why I have no more time for this damned April Fool gag."
The Chicago Daily Defender interviewed Otto Ebar, the man responsible for answering the phones at the Cook County Morgue on April 1st, the day when numerous calls are received for Mr. Stiff, Mr. K. Dever, Mr. Casket, Mr. Graves, Mr. Rigor, or Mr. Mortis. Ebar said, "he has to brace himself for when business executives and general office girls discover they have been tricked by some of their associates, some let their venom out on him. 'But the vast majority are terribly nice about it.'"
[The Chicago Defender, Apr 2, 1959.]
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.]
"Those crazy college boys have done it again! In line with the current rocket and missile craze that has seized the world, a group of Kansas University science students Tuesday night sneaked up on Mt. Oread, equipped the Memorial Campanile with rockets and as APRIL 1 dawned today they ran their count-down and sent the famed 'singing silo' of Lawrence zooming toward orbit. There was some question today, however, as to whether Ronald Barnes, KU carilloneur, was allowed to get out of the tower before it was launched from its Jayhawk pad. When last heard from, Barnes was practicing at the carillon keyboard. He couldn't be located today. The KU Launching Society was not sure early this afternoon whether the Campanile had gone into orbit, but they were monitoring it carefully hoping at any time to hear a beeping of 'The Crimson and the Blue' from outer space. Oh, yes, if you haven't guessed it by now, this is all an April Fool joke. Nobody really launched the campanile and carilloneur Barnes wasn't out of this world today, having both feet solidly on Kansas soil as he went about his duties at KU. Journal-World photographer Leonard Bacon simply transposed a Campanile photo on that of a rocket leaving its pad at Cape Canaveral to create a bit of April tomfoolery."
The KU Campanile (image source)
Kokomo Police Cut Costs (1959)The Kokomo Tribune announced that the city police had devised a plan to cut costs and save money. According to this plan, the police station would close each night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. An answering machine would record all calls made to the station during this time, and these calls would be screened by an officer in the morning. The police reportedly anticipated that the screening process would save the city a great deal of money, since many of the calls would be old by the morning and would not need to be answered. A spokesman for the police admitted, "there will be a problem on what to do in the case of a woman who calls in and says her husband has threatened to shoot her or some member of the family." But in such a situation, the spokesman explained, "We will check the hospitals and the coroner, and if they don't have any record of any trouble, then we will know that nothing happened."
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:
An April Fool's joke by an amateur American astronomer was apparently taken seriously by a highly regarded Soviet scientist. Walter Scott Houston, professor of English at Kansas State College and editor of the Great Plains Observer, the monthly newsletter of the Great Plains Astronomical Society, included an article in the April edition that made the following claim:
Houston later explained that he chose the story because it was "so ludicrous it would not need to be labeled a gag." Both Dr. Hayall and the University of the Sierras were fictitious.
But soon after, the same theory was advanced by a Soviet scientist, Dr. Iosip Shklovsky, in an interview with Komsomol Pravda, a Communist youth league publication. American scientists were baffled by Shklovsky's assertion since there was no indication he was joking. Dr. Gerald Kuiper of the Yerkes Observatory was quoted as saying, "He is much too brilliant to believe such nonsense." [Jefferson City Post-Tribune, May 4, 1959.]
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]
In Denver, an unknown prankster transformed stop signs into giant flowers. It was suspected to be the work of "a recent arrival from neighboring Kansas, the sunflower state." [Spokane Daily Chronicle - Apr 2, 1958]
Beeping Cylinder (1958)
W.D. Loy of Charlotte, North Carolina first heard a loud bang, then a series of beeps coming from his front yard. He went out to investigate and found on his lawn a silvery cylinder shaped like a missile with an antenna protruding from the top.
Loy sent his family into the basement to hide, then called the police, and carried the object into the center of the road. Meanwhile, a crowd had gathered to look at the strange object. The suspicion was that it was some kind of Soviet satellite, similar to Sputnik.
But when the police arrived, they unscrewed the bolts holding the object together and found inside a beeping electric bicycle horn, as well as a note that read, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. April fool!"
The photo shows Officer K.K. Scott posing by the device and reading the note.
The Hawaiian Tax Refund (1954)
Hal Lewis, disc jockey on Hawaiian station KPOA, announced that the Senate had repealed islanders' income taxes and provided for return of 1953 taxes. The announcement elicited a huge reaction. Radio stations, newspapers, and the Internal Revenue Bureau were all flooded with calls from people seeking more information. Many banks received calls from people who wanted to place orders for stock and bond purchases with their forthcoming refund.
Lewis's announcement was believable because a tax refund for Hawaii had recently been in the news. Hawaiian congressman Joseph Farrington had, less than a month before, demanded that the islanders be given a refund of all the federal taxes they had ever paid if Hawaii was not granted full statehood. (Hawaii was made a state in 1959.)
Later in Lewis's show, the General Manager of KPOA came on the air to publicly apologize for the hoax announcement and fire Lewis. However, the audience responded with sympathy for Lewis, and many called in to urge the station to reconsider. But it turned out the "firing" was also a hoax. The "general manager" was actually one of Lewis' colleagues, Buck Buchwach.
IRS agent Stanley McKenney subsequently called the station and asked them to leave his office out of any further pranks. He said his office was busy enough processing the 1953 returns, without having to deal with numerous calls from people seeking a refund.
Lewis, who was the most popular dj in Hawaii, also went by the name "J. Aukhead Pupule," which was Polynesian for "Crazy Fishhead".
Hal Lewis, aka J. Aukhead Pupule, or Crazy Fishhead
“Too Sexy” headline banned (1950)
The Guidon, student newspaper of Adelphi College, ran a headline announcing "Mating Season Open." Adelphi President Dr. Paul D. Eddy deemed this headline to contain too much sex and temporarily suspended publication of the paper. [Syracuse Herald-Journal, Apr 3, 1950.]