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
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 them of harboring communist tendencies, and that it was only a matter of time before all the papers in the country were communist-controlled. When the publishers tried to explain that the article had been an April Fool's prank, the caller replied, "You expect me to believe a bunch of Commies?"