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San Serriffe -- April Fool's Day, 1977
The Guardian published a special seven-page supplement describing the tenth anniversary of the small (nonexistent) island of San Serriffe. The island’s geography was named after printing terms. For instance, its two islands were named Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, and its capital was Bodoni. Articles described the eccentric culture of the island. Authentic advertisements accompanied the articles and played into the hoax. For instance, Texaco offered a contest for which the first prize was a two-week trip to Cocobanana Beach in San Serriffe. Kodak ran an ad in which it said, “If you have a picture of San Serriffe, we’d like to see it.“ The Guardian reported that its phones rang all day as people called up requesting more information about the island. The success of this hoax was largely responsible for the flood of April Fool’s Day jokes that appeared in other papers in succeeding years.

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All text Copyright © 2014 by Alex Boese, except where otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.