Ah, the first of April. A day you can sit down with your breakfast, switch on your television and find out about newly discovered islands, dogs that drive cars and all sorts of other weird stuff.
Of course, as everyone laughs at you at work for repeating these ludicrous stories you swear that next year you won’t fall for a single April Fool’s Day joke. If only it were that easy, though. The following are some of the pranks which have fooled and bemused us over the years.
Where Does Spaghetti Come From?
1957 was such an innocent time, wasn’t it? Some hip young cat called Presley was young and fresh and might not even have eaten his first peanut butter coated hamburger yet, the lovably annoying Frisbee was invented and the Brits believed that pasta grew on trees. The respected TV show Panorama produced one of the earliest and finest April Fool’s pranks when they went to Switzerland and showed how spaghetti grows on trees. The public loved it and many people contacted the BBC to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti trees.
YouTube in a Box
We need to jump forward a few years for the next one but it is worth it. The 2012 joke from YouTube was that you could buy their entire collection of videos on a set of DVDs. Your first delivery would come through a fleet of delivery vans and then you would get new discs sent to you as videos were added to the site. The YouTube collection promised the complete experience when you were offline. Can you imagine how you would feel the day the truck rolled up with the entire Gangnam Style parodies collection?
Southpaws Can Eat Junk Food Too
As a left hander I am always on the lookout for new products designed for those of us who would once have been described as “evil” and “sinister”. It has been a long time since they stopped persecuting southpaws but it took until 1998 for us to get our own burger. Burger King announced the release of the Left-Handed Whopper in the US with a great deal of fanfare and their explanation of the condiments being “rotated 180 degrees” certainly sounded plausible. Apparently there were a lot of requests for it that day and some right handers even asked if they could get a version made for them. Stupid right-handed fools.
Penguins Can Fly After All
Back to the BBC for this one, which proves that despite the corporation’s stuffy image it can play a prank like the best of them. This one happened in 2008 and involved surprisingly realistic footage of flying penguins. Documentary veteran David Attenborough was on hand to discuss the amazing flying sequence as bemused Brits who hadn’t yet read the date marveled at the sight and older viewers wondered whether the penguins would fly to Switzerland to hunt for fresh spaghetti.
Stockings on the Telly
Another veteran prank came back in 1962 and happened in the fun loving country of Sweden. There was only one TV channel in the country at that time and the technology dude it was called Kjell Stenson. This Scandinavian prankster fooled a nation by saying that they could make their black and white telly into a colour one by sticking a nylon stocking over the screen. To be fair, it sounds plausible. Well, if you were a hopelessly naïve, technologically backwards Swede in the early 1960s it might have sounded plausible, I guess. I would like to have seen whether people actually tried this out and how big their disappointment was when they stood there bare-legged and shivering as Kjell remained resolutely monochrome.