The April Fool Archive

Mock Listing in New York Times    (April Fool's Day - 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.

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