The Museum of Hoaxes
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The April Fool's Day "Unlikely Acquisition" Hoax
Mantle Traded to Angels. (1961)
The Long Beach Independent reported that the New York Yankees had traded center fielder Mickey Mantle to the Los Angeles Angels. In return for Mantle, the Yankees received "$1 million dollars, half interest in radio station KMPC and a player package of Ned Garver, Del Rice, Aubrey Gatewood and Gene Leek." 1961 was the first year of the LA Angels existence. So it would have been extremely unlikely for them to have acquired a player as prominent as Mantle in any trade. More…
Gazette Buys New London Day. (1980)
The Connecticut Gazette, a small weekly newspaper, announced that it was purchasing the New London Day, a large daily newspaper. The article also announced the Gazette planned to expand the news staff of the New London Day “by cutting it in half—literally, at the waist; this would create twice as many reporters although, of course, they would be half their former stature.“ The article concluded with an “April Fool.“ Nevertheless, according to the paper’s editor their phones were ringing off the hook for weeks. In addition, the fictitious purchase was reported as fact in the New England Printer and Publisher, a trade journal. More…
CBS Newsmen Buy Local Weekly. (1981)
The Connecticut Gazette, a weekly paper based in Old Lyme, Connecticut, announced it was being purchased by the CBS newsmen Walter Cronkite and Charles Kuralt, who owned a vacation home in nearby Essex, Connecticut. Although the story was not true, it was picked up by the New York Post and run as fact several months later. The Post was forced to admit its blunder several days later. More…
The TNBC Network. (1982)
On Cable magazine reported that Turner Broadcasting was going to merge with NBC. The new logo of the resulting company (TNBC) would show a peacock wearing Ted Turner's trademark railroad engineer's cap. Ted Turner would personally add some variety to the new company's entertainment lineup by co-hosting a country music show called "Atlanta Howdown" with Slim Whitman and Barbara Mandrell. On Cable magazine received angry phone calls from executives at both NBC and TNT complaining that their management had taken such a step without informing them first. More…
The Laytonsville Dump Stadium. (1982)
State Senator Victor Crawford of Montgomery, Maryland introduced a bill into the Maryland senate proposing that his district receive $45 million to buy the Baltimore Colts and build a new stadium for them at the Laytonsville dump site in upper Montgomery County. More…
Tass Expands into American Market. (1982)
The Connecticut Gazette and Connecticut Compass, weekly newspapers serving the Old Lyme and Mystic areas, both announced they were being purchased by Tass, the official news agency of the Soviet Union. On their front pages they declared that this was "the first expansion of the Soviet media giant outside of the Iron Curtain." The article also revealed that after Tass had purchased the Compass, its two publishers had both been killed by "simultaneous hunting accidents" in which they had shot each other in the back of the head with "standard-issue Soviet Army rifles." An accompanying picture showed Gazette and Compass staff members wearing winter coats and fur hats, and carrying hockey sticks and bottles of vodka. The announcement itself was bylined "By John Reed," and the new publisher, Vydonch U. Kissov, announced that the paper would be "thoroughly red." A new delivery system was also promised: cruise missiles (the publisher then admitted that this proposal was a 'leetle Soviet joke.') In response to the news, the offices of the Compass and the Gazette received calls offering condolences for the death of the publishers. One caller also informed them that he had long suspected More…

The New York City Packers. (1985)
New York City Comptroller Harrison Goldin called a news conference at which he announced that the city was purchasing the professional football team, the Green Bay Packers. City retirement funds would be used to make the purchase, and the Packers would replace the Giants and the Jets. Reporters had already phoned the story into the New York Post and Daily News when a press representative in Golden's office announced that the news was an April Fool's day joke. The Post complained that they had almost put the story on their front page, a mistake which would have cost them $100,000 to correct. More…
Maradona Joins Soviet Soccer Team. (1988)
The Soviet newspaper Izvestia reported that the Moscow Spartak soccer team was in negotiations with Argentine star Diego Maradona. On the table was an offer of $6 million for him to come play for them. If all went well, he would join the team within a year. The report was met with astonishment around the world — not because many people believed it, but because it was the first time the normally very serious Izvestia had ever published an April fool's day hoax. Frivolity of this kind had previously been frowned upon by the Kremlin. More…
Euro Disney Lenin. (1995)
The Irish Times reported that the Disney Corporation was negotiating with the Russian government to purchase the embalmed body of communist leader Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, which had been kept on display in Red Square since the leader's death. Disney wanted to move the body and the mausoleum to the new Euro Disney, where it would be given the "full Disney treatment." This would include displaying the body "under stroboscopic lights which will tone up the pallid face while excerpts from President Reagan's 'evil empire' speech will be played in quadrophonic sound." Lenin t-shirts would also be sold. More…
The Taco Liberty Bell. (1996)
The fast food chain Taco Bell took out a full page ad in the New York Times to announce that they were purchasing the Liberty Bell and renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Their reason for doing this was to "do their part to reduce the country's debt." The company pointed out that corporations had been adopting highways for years, and that Taco Bell was simply "going one step further by purchasing one of the country's greatest historic treasures." More…
MITkey Mouse. (1998)
The homepage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology displayed some startling news: the prestigious university was to be sold to the Walt Disney Co. for $6.9 billion. A photograph of the university's famous dome outfitted with a pair of mouse ears accompanied the news. A press release explained that the university was to be dismantled and transported to Orlando where new schools would be added to the campus including the School of Imagineering, the Scrooge McDuck School of Management, and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics. The fact that the announcement appeared on MIT's homepage lent credibility to it. But in reality, the announcement was the work of students who had hacked 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."
Encyclopædia Britannica Buys Wikipedia. (2005)
Wikipedia announced it was being taken over by Encyclopædia Britannica, in exchange for a £133.7 million severance package given to each of the five trustees of the Wikimedia Foundation. One of the first changes was that Wikipedia would henceforward be spelled Wikipædia. In addition, users would be charged £99.97 to create or edit a page. More…
Canada Buys Ely. (2008)
The Chamber of Commerce of Ely, Minnesota announced that Canada had expressed interest in buying the town and moving it north of the US/Canada border. In response to the offer, the town launched a "Keep Ely in Minnesota" campaign. Other buyers said to be interested in the town were Kansas, Oklahoma, Uzbekistan and a private party who wanted to move Ely to the South Pacific. The Ely Tourism Board subsequently said it dreamed up the hoax as a way to remind tourists that "we're still here." Reportedly, one woman phoned up the Chamber of Commerce in a panic, worried about what would happen to her property once the town moved to Canada. More…
Playboy Invests in Rotorua. (2009)
The tourism board of Rotorua, New Zealand (a town famous for having a rotten egg smell caused by sulphur released from hot springs) ran full-page ads in The New Zealand Herald and The Dominion Post noting that scientists from Italy's University of Naples had recently discovered a positive link between the town's smell and male sexual arousal. This was true. But the ads went on to claim that, as a result, Playboy founder Hugh Hefner had decided to invest in Rotorua by converting the Rotorua Museum into his Holiday Mansion. Although some locals were unhappy, the long-term tourism benefits were expected to be huge. More…
Melbourne makes bid to host Running of the Bulls. (2009)
Melbourne Tourism Minister Tim Holding announced the city was making a bid to host the Running of the Bulls: "For too long the people of Pamplona have monopolised this event, the Brumby Government is determined to grab the bull by the horns and snare this important event for Melbourne." Holding said the bull run would "start in the historic theatre precinct at the Paris End of Collins Street, travel through Chinatown, across Swanston Street, through the quaint King Street district and end at a packed Etihad Stadium." More…
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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.