||April Fool's Day Hoaxes Involving False Financial Windfalls
Parking Fees Reduced.
A Vienna, Austria radio station reported that the city had decided to reduce parking permit fees, and that car drivers would be able to buy permits in tobacco shops and hand them to police officers in case of need. One police officer called the radio station to ask, "Could you please give me more details on the new order as I have not heard from my superiors yet." [The Washington Post, Apr 2, 1970.]
Dutch Government Shares Budget Surplus.
A Dutch radio program announced that the government planned to distribute its budget surplus equally among tax-payers. The announcement received an excited response from listeners eager for their share.
The Durand Auto Plant.
The Durand Express, a Michigan weekly, reported that Nissan planned to build an auto plant outside of Durand City. The new plant was going to employ thousands of people and pay higher wages than the nearby General Motors plant. Furthermore, Nissan would pay farmers $10,000 an acre for the land on which the plant was to be built.
Many unemployed auto workers believed the story and inquired about how to apply for jobs at the plant. However, the story was exposed as a fake by a reporter working at a newspaper in Flint, Michigan.
The prank story attracted a lot of angry criticism. Many readers threatened to cancel their subscriptions. In response, the paper's editor explained that he hadn't been trying to hurt anyone, and thought that he had exaggerated his story enough to make it unbelievable.
St. Louis Arena Fund.
Rick Sanborn, a deejay for KLOU-FM in St. Louis, revealed to his listeners that a $24 million trust fund had recently been discovered that would be distributed to local residents. The trust fund had supposedly been established by the builder of the local sports Arena in 1929. He had left instructions to distribute the money to locals should the Arena ever be torn down. Since it was torn down in 1999, his order would go into effect. The money would be paid to anyone who held a St. Louis birth certificate issued after 1929. They would receive $1000 for every year of their age. Sanborn included fake reports and interviews along with his announcement. As a result of the prank, the St. Louis Citizens Service Bureau received over 75 calls before Sanborn revealed that the story was a hoax.
Oil Found in Japan.
The Tokyo Shimbun reported the discovery of a huge oil field (over 110 billion barrels, about the size of Iraqi reserves) in the Tokyo Gulf. It was predicted that this would tip the balance of power with Washington in Japan's favour.
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