The April Fool Archive:
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April Fool's Day, 1950
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.]
Ocean Liner in LA River. (1950) A giant ocean liner was spotted traveling down the Los Angeles River. The Los Angeles Examiner published the photographic evidence.
Skyforest Orange Trees. (1950) Residents of Skyforest, near Lake Arrowhead in Southern California, staged an elaborate prank. Twenty-five of them, led by cartoonist Frank Adams, crept out during the night and strung 50,000 oranges along a one-mile section of the scenic Rim of the World highway, making it appear that the region's pine and cedar trees had suddenly grown fruit. The oranges were leftovers from the recent National Orange Show in San Bernardino. [The Independent Record (Helena, Montana), Apr 2, 1950.]
Pennsylvania Flying Saucer. (1950) The Progress (Clearfield, Pennsylvania) published a picture of a flying saucer, supposedly hovering over the business section of Clearfield. The photo caption read, "Scoring an unquestioned scoop on the other newspapers of the nation, Life, and Look magazines and other pictorial publications, The Progress proudly presents today the first published picture of a 'flying saucer' in the air."
Firemen Don’t Respond. (1950) When fire station No. 2 in High Point, North Carolina received an emergency call from fire station No. 1, they decided not to respond, thinking it must be an April Fool gag. They were incorrect. It turned out that fire station No. 1 really was on fire. An explosion had resulted in flames which damaged their truck. [Waterloo Sunday Courier, Apr 2, 1950.]
The Norwegian Wine Surplus. (1950) Aftenposten, Norway's largest newspaper, announced on its front page that the government-owned Wine Monopoly (Vinmonopolet) had received a large shipment of wine in barrels, but it had run out of bottles. To get rid of the extra wine, they were running a one-day sale, offering wine at 75% off and tax-free. The catch was that buyers had to bring their own containers to put the wine in. "Buckets, pitchers, and the like" were recommended.
When the Vinmonopolets opened at 10 a.m., long queues formed outside. According to legend, numerous empty buckets were later seen lying in the streets, left there by people who had realized, while standing in line, that the sale was a hoax.
Hawaiian Flying Saucer. (1950) The Honolulu Star-Bulletin reported that a flying saucer had crashed into the side of the Punchbowl crater on the island of Oahu. The joke unintentionally took in victims thousands of miles away when a local ham radio operator, believing the report to be real, broadcast a description of the flying-saucer. An amateur radioman in Michigan then heard this broadcast and reported it to his local paper, the Herald-Press which, in turn, only realized the report was an April Fool's Day joke after it queried the AP, who queried their office in Hawaii.
Abduction from the Grand Guignol. (1950) A few days before April 1st, an actress disappeared from Paris's Grand Guignol theater during a production of No Orchids for Miss Blandish. The police launched a massive manhunt. But on the morning of April 1st, the actress walked into a police station, unhurt, claiming she had been kidnapped and imprisoned by "Puritans" for the past two days. The police were skeptical, and under interrogation the actress eventually admitted that her disappearance was an April Fool's Day publicity stunt engineered by the Grand Guignol's manager. The play being performed when she disappeared was, not coincidentally, about a woman who is kidnapped.
Extraterrestrial Silverman. (1950) The Cologne Neue Illustrierte published a picture of "a tiny, aluminum-covered man" who had supposedly been rescued from a saucer that had crash landed after being shot by American anti-aircraft guns. The planet this being came from was unknown.
A Martian in the USA. (1950) The Wiesbadener Tagblatt published a photo of a "Martian in the USA," showing American soldiers accompanying a one-legged creature with "a large head and a very small body."
Stick ‘Em Up!. (1950)
“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.]