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April Fool's Day Hoaxes Involving Celebrities and the Entertainment Industry
Brandenburg Gate Photo. (1919)
Hundreds of people, mostly shop girls and women, gathered in front of the Brandenburg gate in Berlin, drawn there by an announcement placed in Berlin papers the night before stating that a motion picture camera was going to take a picture in front of the gate at noon, and that everybody who was in front of the gate would be in the picture. The announcement was a prank perpetrated by a night worker at the papers. The Chicago Tribune foreign news service reported: "Some people stood there for hours before they realized that this was the first day of April, known in Germany as in the United States as April Fools' day." [Chicago Daily Tribune, Apr 5, 1919.] More…
Looking for Charlie Chaplin. (1931)
A large crowd and squads of police gathered in Genoa, Italy to greet the arrival of the Riviera train, having been lured there by a report published in numerous newspapers that Charlie Chaplin had recently left Nice and would be arriving that day in Genoa. A movie manager admitted to having planted the false story, in the hope of attracting attention to one of Chaplin's films. More…
Phoomph. (1942)
"Men at the Fort Riley, Kan., remount replacement center voted Judy Canova the April Fool glamour girl. "She has phoomph instead of oomph," they explained in inviting her to be the presiding wallflower at one of their Wednesday night dances. The April Fool pattern followed through. She's going to accept." [AP] More…
Nat Tate. (1998)
On the eve of April Fool's Day, a lavish party was held at Jeff Koons's New York studio to honor the memory of the late, great American artist Nat Tate — a troubled abstract expressionist who destroyed 99 percent of his own work before leaping to his death from the Staten Island ferry. At the party, David Bowie read aloud selections from William Boyd's soon-to-be released biography of Tate, Nat Tate: An American Artist, 1928-1960. Critics in the crowd murmured appreciative comments about Tate's work as they sipped their drinks. What they didn't know is that Tate had never existed. He was the satirical creation of William Boyd. Bowie, Boyd, and Boyd's publisher were the only ones in on More…
South Park Bait and Switch. (1998)
The animated Comedy Central series South Park had been heavily promoting that on the April 1 season premiere of the second season of the show, it would reveal the identity of the father of a character Cartman, thus resolving the cliffhanger it had left viewers with the season before. The April 1 show began as normal, with clips shown from previous episodes, but then a message flashed on the screen stating it had all been an April Fool's joke. Nothing was going to be revealed. Instead the episode focused on the completely unrelated adventures of the flatulent characters Terrance and Philip. Fans of the series were irate. Comedy Central received over 1500 angry emails. A spokesman admitted More…
Azcot. (1999)
The Tucson Weekly revealed that the Disney Corporation was planning to build a 150 square-mile theme park in Kokopelli County, Arizona. The park, which would be like a 21st century EPCOT, was code-named Azcot. It would include "a simulated Colorado River adventure, featuring raft-like carts which travel on submerged rails through a 1/4-scale fiberglass replica of the Grand Canyon," as well as "a cliff-dweller city featuring animatronic Anasazi grinding corn and weaving baskets," and Duckville, "a frontier town so expansive that if it were real, it would be the seventh largest city in Arizona, complete with covered-wagon monorail and a complex municipal stagecoach system." Lawyers for Disney had supposedly tried to suppress publication of the article before the Tucson Weekly went to print with the scoop. More…

Mock Listing in New York Times. (2001)
In its television section, the New York Times ran a capsule review of the 1924 movie The Sea Hawk, describing it as a "high-tech swashbuckler about a mild-mannered news assistant who ransacks a New York newspaper office via remote control." Two Times staffers, Tim Sastrowardoyo and Marilyn McCauley, were listed as stars. Two days later the Times ran a correction, noting that the film "is actually an adaptation of Rafael Sabatini's 1915 novel about an English nobleman sold into slavery. It stars Milton Sills and Enid Bennett." It further explained: The mock listing came from a feature syndicate that maintains The Times's movie capsule database and assembles the daily and weekly listings. An investigation has found that the "Sea Hawk" entry was one of three dummy listings written at The Times in December 1998 and transmitted to the syndicate to test the technology; they were not supposed to be stored. "The Sea Hawk" had most recently been televised in November 1998 and was not again scheduled until last Sunday. The Times regrets any inconvenience to readers. It is also, frankly, speechless at the coincidence of the April Fool's Day publication. More…
Steve Jobs Joins IKEA. (2005)
The Register reported that Steve Jobs was going to take command of the retail giant IKEA, while maintaining his role as CEO of both Apple Computer and Pixar. Jobs intended to shake-up IKEA's "flatpack self-assembly aesthetic" by introducing "high margin, ready-assembled furniture." Jobs, known to be a fruitarian, also intended to makeover IKEA's canteen by eliminating the "celebrated Swedish meatballs," replacing them with "a thin miso soup garnished by a solitary piece of carrot or tofu."
Super Pii Pii Brothers. (2008)
ThinkGeek described an unusual new Nintendo Wii game — Super Pii Pii Brothers, an "Amazing Virtual Pee Experience from Japan." "Prepare yourself by strapping on the included belt harness and jacking in your Wiimote. A series of toilets are presented on screen and the challenge is to tilt your body to control a never-ending stream of pee. Get as much pee in the toilets as you can while spilling as little on the floor as possible." More…
Lindsay Lohan Pregnant?. (2013)
26-year-old actress Lindsay Lohan tweeted that she was pregnant. She posted the announcement at 10:35 pm (west coast time) on April 1st, which caused confusion because it was already April 2nd on the east coast. Therefore, her followers weren't sure whether or not she was joking. She clarified her intent the following day by tweeting, "April Fools. Where's everyone's sense of humor?" Then she deleted the posts. Curator's Note — The official rules of April Fools state that jokes are supposed to be sprung before noon. Those who delay their jokes until after noon are themselves considered to be the fools. More…
Beckham fractures his coccyx. (2013)
RTL Belgium disappointed soccer fans by reporting that soccer star David Beckham had fallen and fractured his coccyx while collecting Easter eggs with his children. "Beckham is clearly not as nimble at picking Easter eggs as he is with a football at his feet," the report noted. Beckham suffered the injury while celebrating Easter in England with his family. He slipped on wet grass and fell violently backwards. He quickly realized he was hurt as he lay immobilized on the ground. A doctor examined him and declared that he would have to rest for the next six weeks, and would not be able to play as Paris Saint-Germain midfielder during this time. More…
Roselyne Bachelot Bond Girl. (2013)
French station RTL announced that Roselyne Bachelot, former French Minister for Health, would play a "Bond girl" in the next 007 movie alongside Daniel Craig, despite the fact that Bachelot was 66 years old. Apparently the production company in charge of casting was hoping, by choosing her, to appeal to a "more senior" audience in the next movie.
Citizen Kane 3-D. (2014)
NPR movie critic Bob Mondello reported for All Things Considered on a remake of the 1941 movie classic Citizen Kane. The new version, titled Citizen Kane 3-D, was directed by and starred Keanu Reeves, and added a martial-arts subplot to the tale of a wealthy media tycoon who dies friendless, haunted by his childhood. Mondello noted, "Perhaps it's best to think of this Kane as a reinterpretation, not a remake. Citizen Keanu, if you will." More…
Beyonce offers to pay interns with selfies. (2014)
HerCampus, a news site for women in college, posted an announcement that Beyoncé was looking for interns to help organize the "official Beyoncé archive." She wasn't offering any financial compensation, but she did promise "the opportunity to take three selfies with BeyoncĂ© over the course of the internship." The announcement seemed believable enough that several media outlets picked up on the story and reported it as news. It also circulated widely on social media. More…
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Media Organizations and Corporations with April Fool Traditions
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.