If we bite a few friends with our April fools at the most, there are those who move to another level and cast the hook at millions of mouthfuls. By now we should be used to taking any news circulating on April 1st with a grain of salt, and instead we fall for it again and again. Here are some of the pranks that have gone down in history , starring among others a fake Richard Nixon, the spaghetti trees, those unrepentant jokers of Google and Richard Branson.
Nixon reappears as president
In the 1992 Richard Nixon, the least loved president (euphemism) in the history of the United States, announces to the microphones of the NPR radio his intention to reapply , twenty years after his resignation in following the Watergate scandal. The slogan of the new campaign: “I have done nothing wrong, and I will not do it again”. In the second part of the program it is revealed that this is a joke and that Nixon’s voice was that of comedian and imitator Rich Little. In the meantime, however, the editorial staff had been filled with phone calls from listeners, who wanted to let the former president know that even no, thanks, once was more than enough.
Spaghetti grows on trees
One of the most famous fish ever conceived. On April 1, 1957, the BBC broadcasts a report on the collection of spaghetti – particularly abundant that year thanks to the mild winter – grown on trees in Switzerland. Spaghetti was not a common dish in the UK back then and many were unaware of how it is made. The next day hundreds of viewers call the broadcaster to ask how they can grow their own pasta tree at home and the BBC replies: “Put a handful of spaghetti in a can of gravy and cross your fingers.”
A UFO over London
In the night of March 31, 1989 hundreds of people in disbelief sight a UFO flying over the skies of London . When the spaceship lands just outside the city, the alarmed police rush to the scene. The door of the aircraft opens and comes out… ET? It is actually a man disguised as the extraterrestrial in the film, the flying saucer is just a hot air balloon equipped with stroboscopic lights and inside is Richard Branson , the multimillionaire boss of Virgin . The policemen threaten to arrest the two jokers, but in the end they too laugh and let it go.
No internet if you are drunk
An article published in 1994 in the PC Computing magazine reveals the background of a bill under discussion in Congress, which would ban the use of the Internet to people in a state of intoxication . Despite the name of the contact mentioned in the piece, Lirpa Sloof (read backwards as April Fools), many readers drink the hoax.
Google people have a real passion for April fools: they started with first joke in 2000 and they haven’t skipped a year since. Among the various jokes: the Google Gulp drink that improves the ability to use the search engine by increasing your intelligence ; Gmail Paper, a free service where you can ask Google to print your emails on paper and send them to you by post; Google Play for Pets which distributes apps for dogs and cats; the announcement of the creation of the first human settlement on Mars (in collaboration with Virgin of Branson, again him), complete with an application form to join the expedition.
La Liberty Taco Bell
On 1 April 1996 the fast food chain Taco Bell published in several national newspapers the announcement of having purchased the Liberty Bell , one of the greatest symbols of the United States, which will be renamed the Liberty Taco Bell. The protests of thousands of American citizens explode, before the chain reveals the joke.
3.1415926535… Pi is a fundamental mathematical constant, but let’s face it, it’s too complex. And so in 1998 the news circulated that the state of Alabama intends to fix by law the value of Pi at a more comfortable, simple and rounder 3. The administration of the Alabama is buzzed with phone calls, but then it turns out that the news is an April fish circulated by physicist Mark Boslough, known for his joker spirit.