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
The Left-Handed Whopper (1998)
Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.). However, the left-handed whopper had "all condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of the condiments will skew to the left, thereby reducing the amount of lettuce and other toppings from spilling out the right side of the burger."
Jim Watkins, senior vice president for marketing at Burger King, was quoted as saying that the new sandwich was the "ultimate 'HAVE IT YOUR WAY' for our left-handed customers." The advertisement then noted that the left-handed Whopper would initially only be available in the United States, but that the company was "considering plans to roll it out to other countries with large left-handed populations." The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."
Mouth Sounds (1997)
NPR's All Things Considered interviewed Reed Summers, winner of a "Mouth Sounds" competition in Bellevue, Illinois. Summers explained that "mouth sounders" use their mouth, tongue, teeth, lips, and vocal chords to create a variety of sounds. In the studio he demonstrated the sound of an angry cockatoo, a goose, a train, and Bach's Toccata. The sounds grew increasingly elaborate and realistic as the interview progressed, causing host Robert Siegel eventually to declare, "If I hadn't seen you doing that in front of me just now, I would have assumed that was a recording." Summers attributed his mouth-sounding skill to the fact that he didn't speak until he reached the age of 10, but instead spent his childhood listening to the sounds around him.
The stunt was masterminded by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott, creators of the Baby Blues comic strip. When asked why he participated, Scott Adams noted, "You don't get that many chances to tunnel under the fence."
Life Discovered on Jupiter (1996)
In 1996, the internet-based service America Online had gained five million subscribers, all of whom were greeted with a news flash that read, "Government source reveals signs of life on Jupiter," when they logged onto the service on April 1. This headline was backed up by statements from a planetary biologist and an assertion by Ted Leonsis, AOL's president, that his company was in possession of documents that proved the government was hiding the existence of life on the massive planet. The story quickly generated over 1300 messages on AOL, and hundreds of people called the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California trying to obtain more details about the discovery. When it turned out to be a prank, many questioned whether the service had risked losing its credibility by perpetrating such a stunt, but AOL dismissed these concerns. A spokeswoman for the company later explained that the hoax had been intended as a tribute to Orson Welles' 1938 halloween broadcast of the "War of the Worlds."
The Discovery of the Bigon (1996)
Discover Magazine reported that physicists had discovered a new fundamental particle of matter, dubbed the Bigon. It could only be coaxed into existence for mere millionths of a second, but amazingly, when it did materialize it was the size of a bowling ball. Physicist Albert Manque and his colleagues accidentally found the particle when a computer connected to one of their vacuum-tube experiments exploded. Video analysis of the explosion revealed the Bigon hovering over the computer for a fraction of a second. Manque theorized that the Bigon might be responsible for a host of other unexplained phenomena such as ball lightning, sinking souffles, and spontaneous human combustion. Discover received huge amounts of mail in response to the story.
The Taco Liberty Bell (1996)The fast food chain Taco Bell took out a full page ad in the New York Times to announce that they were purchasing the Liberty Bell and renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Their reason for doing this was to "do their part to reduce the country's debt." In a related release, the company pointed out that corporations had been adopting highways for years, and that Taco Bell was simply "going one step further by purchasing one of the country's greatest historic treasures." Thousands of people called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the Liberty Bell was housed to angrily protest the selling of the bell. Taco Bell kept a straight face until noon, at which point it revealed that the earlier press releases were jokes. Soon afterwards Mike McCurry, the White House spokesperson, responded to the jest by declaring that the federal government would also be "selling the Lincoln Memorial to Ford Motor Company and renaming it the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial." The hoax paid off for Taco Bell. Their sales during the first week of April shot up by over half a million dollars. (For more details, see the article: Taco Liberty Bell.)
Hotheaded Naked Ice Borers (1995)Discover magazine published an article detailing the discovery by wildlife biologist Dr. Aprile Pazzo of a fascinating new species: the hotheaded naked ice borer. Dr. Pazzo, the article explained, encountered this creature while studying penguins in Antarctica. She noticed a frightened penguin rapidly sinking into the ice, and when she pulled the hapless creature out of the rapidly growing slush pool, she found small, bizarre animals attached to its lower body. They were about half a foot long, and quite light. Their unique feature was a bony plate on their head that they could cause to become burning hot, allowing them to bore tunnels through the ice at high speeds, "much faster than a penguin can waddle." Packs of them would rapidly melt the ice beneath a penguin, causing it to sink into the slush, at which point they would surround the creature and consume it.
Dr. Pazzo hypothesized that the hotheads might have been responsible for the mysterious disappearance of noted Antarctic explorer Philippe Poisson in 1837. "To the ice borers, he would have looked like a penguin," she was quoted as saying. Discover received an enormous amount of mail in response to this article. The responses of most readers were very tongue-in-cheek, but a few readers were annoyed that Discover had taken liberties with the trust of its readers. (For more details, see article: Hotheaded Naked Ice Borer.)
Holy Grail Discovered (1994)Discover magazine reported that an archaeologist digging in Jerusalem had uncovered the legendary Holy Grail. The archaeologist, Leon Decoeur, found the grail on Christmas eve when, for no particular reason, he had decided to work late at the dig. The discovery had sparked intense excitement and controversy in the scientific community, although some doubted Decoeur's findings, remembering that 15 years earlier he had claimed to have found the Sermon on the Mount. Most exciting of all, blood had been found at the bottom of the cup. Decoeur hypothesized that the DNA of Jesus might reveal, once and for all, "that we're closer to chimpanzees than to the deity."
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.
Corporate Tattoos (1994)National Public Radio's All Things Considered program reported that companies such as Pepsi were sponsoring teenagers to tattoo themselves with corporate logos. In return, the teenagers would receive a lifetime 10% discount on that company's products. Teenagers were said to be responding enthusiastically to the deal.
Dave Rickards, a deejay at KGB-FM in San Diego, announced that the space shuttle Discovery had been diverted from Edwards Air Force Base and would land instead at Montgomery Field in a few hours (at 8:30 am). Montgomery Field is a small military airport located in the middle of a residential area just outside of San Diego. Thousands of commuters immediately headed towards the supposed landing site, causing enormous traffic jams that lasted for almost an hour. Police eventually had to be called in to clear the traffic. People arrived at the military airport armed with cameras, camcorders, and even folding chairs, ready to witness the landing. Reportedly the crowd swelled to over 1,000 people.
Of course, the shuttle never landed. In fact, the Montgomery Field airport would have been far too small for the shuttle to even consider landing there. Moreover, there wasn't a shuttle in orbit at the time. The police were not amused by the prank. They announced that they would be billing the radio station for the cost of forcing officers to direct the traffic. In its defense, the radio station said, "It was a joke. We're sorry, but it was April Fools. We're just trying to have some fun." The prank was actually not original. A Belgian newspaper had perpetrated the identical hoax on its readers in 1992. However, the San Diego hoax fooled far more people than its Belgian predecessor.
Welcome to Chicago (1992)Airline passengers descending into Los Angeles Airport saw an 85-foot-long yellow banner on the ground that spelled out, in 20-foot-high red letters, "Welcome to Chicago." It was raised above the Hollywood Park race track, about three miles from the airport. Park spokesman Brock Sheridan explained, "It was something we always wanted to do. We thought it would be kind of funny and our new management... thought it would be a great practical joke." The sign remained up for two days.
Nixon For President (1992)National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" program reported that former-President Richard Nixon had declared his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination. Accompanying the announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech and declaring "I never did anything wrong, and I won't do it again." Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman then came on the air to offer their analysis of Nixon's decision and its possible impact on the 1992 presidential race. A clip from Torrie Clarke, press secretary of the Bush-Quayle campaign, was also played in which she said, "We are stunned and think it's an obvious attempt by Nixon to upstage our foreign policy announcement today." Listeners reacted very emotionally to the announcement, flooding NPR with calls expressing shock and outrage. During the second half of the program host John Hockenberry revealed that the announcement had been an April Fool's Day joke and explained that Nixon's voice had been impersonated by comedian Rich Little.
Chicago radio station WXRT-FM announced it was turning into a digital, commercial-free "pay-per-hear" station. Its signal would be scrambled and divided into five different program formats that listeners would have to pay to listen to. The five formats would be "'XRT Basic," "'XRT Live," "'XRT Gold," "'XRT Espanol" and "sports-rock." The station announced the format change all day and then switched to a scrambled signal for several minutes. Hundreds of listeners called in to protest the change. One listener even showed up with a picket sign outside the station.