The April Fool Archive

Swiss Lunar Landing Hoax    (April Fool's Day - 1967)

An hour-long Swiss Radio broadcast announced that U.S. astronauts had just landed on the moon.

The broadcast (which aired on all German-language Swiss radio stations) began with a news flash interrupting the regularly scheduled show. Listeners heard reports from Swiss radio correspondents in cities around the world, as well as interviews with experts and men in the street. The broadcast also included (prestaged) "technical faults," such as slamming doors and the sound of newscasters running in with late-breaking bulletins.

The announcement generated enormous excitement. Telephone exchanges became jammed as people tried to phone friends to share the news. Even U.S. authorities in Switzerland initially weren't sure if the news was true or false. Americans vacationing in the resort of Klosters staged a huge celebration.

The broadcast concluded with the report that the moonship would take off from the moon at 7 p.m. Listeners were urged to climb to a high vantage point, away from the city lights, to watch it return to Earth. As a result, there was a huge rush of people who tried to leave Zurich and get to the top of Mt. Uetliberg, overlooking the city. The railroad up the mountain had to add additional trains to handle the number of passengers.

The hoax broadcast was directed by newscaster Hans Menge of Radio Zurich.

U.S. astronauts landed on the moon for real approximately two years later (July 20, 1969).

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