Instant Color TV.
Sveriges Television, Sweden's National TV broadcaster, revealed that it had developed new technology that allowed people to see color pictures on their black-and-white sets. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, explained that the technology took advantage of the prismatic nature of light and the phenomenon of "double slit interference." To see color images, all a viewer had to do was pull a nylon stocking over the tv screen.
After Stensson demonstrated the process, thousands of viewers at home obediently imitated him. Actual color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.
"A frogman and a crane were employed to retrieve a giant fish caught this morning at Canada Lake. The proud fisherman, not identified, smokes a cigaret and sips coffee at the scene. Now look at the calendar and you will see that tomorrow is April 1 and that this is the photographer's April Fool joke."
(Gloversville and Johnstown, NY) - Mar 31, 1962.]
Easter Island Statue Washes Ashore.
On March 29, 1962, a man walking along the beach near the Dutch town of Zandvoort reported a bizarre discovery. He had found, washed up on the sand, a small statue that looked just like the famous statues on Easter Island. Based on the statue's weathered appearance, it seemed that the ocean currents must have carried it all the way from the South Pacific to the Netherlands.
The discovery made headlines around the world. An expert from Norway confirmed it was an authentic Easter Island artifact. But on April 1, a local artist named Edo van Tetterode confessed that he had actually made the statue and planted it on the beach, having been inspired by the research of Thor Heyerdahl.
Berlin Wall Border Prank.
When the Berlin Wall was erected in 1961, it ran along Bernauer Strasse
, and consequently the East German border guards bricked up the doors and windows of the houses in this street facing the border. But many people tried to escape by removing the bricks from windows and jumping down into the West.
On 1 April 1962, West German police saw a light flashing from a partly bricked-up second floor window on Bernauer Strasse, and they believed it to be someone signalling their intent to escape. So they enlisted the help of firemen and rushed to the house to spread nets beneath the window to catch the person when they jumped. But they were met by three East German guards who stuck their heads out the window and shouted down "April Fool!"
The incident was widely reported in the western media as a grim example of "communist humor."
Discovery of Odd Beast.
The Appleton Post-Crescent
reported that a bizarre "half-animal half-reptile" creature had been discovered by a local resident, Lester E. Grube:
"Possessed of a head and fore-legs like a dog, the creature's body-trunk and tail is reptile-like — similar to an alligator or iguana. It weighs about 35 pounds and thus far has uttered not one sound."
The next day, the Post-Crescent
noted that Lester Grube (who was a real Post-Crescent
employee) had received calls all day from people wanting to see the creature.
Stolen Pieta Driven Through Florence.
Thousands of people in Florence, Italy came out to see Michelangelo's Pieta statue driven through the city in the back of a truck. A poster on the truck declared that the statue, which normally resided in the Vatican City, had been "taken from Rome by Florentine artists so it won't be shipped anywhere."
The artists were angry at the Pope's decision to allow the Pieta to be temporarily moved to New York to be displayed at the 1964 World's Fair.
The people lining the streets applauded the truck and the brazen theft of the statue, but when the truck stopped before the cathedral in the city, it could be seen that the statue was actually only a plaster cast of the Pieta.
The real Pieta was still in Rome and was later shipped to New York, as promised. It was subsequently safely returned to Italy.