Hoax Museum Blog: April Fools Day

The Australian Spaghetti Harvest — Many thanks to Chris Keating, who has not only uncovered the long-lost Australian tribute to the BBC's Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax, but has posted it on youtube. The date when this was broadcast is still uncertain. Seems to have been in the early to mid-1960s. It aired on Melbourne station HSV-7. The presenter is Dan Webb. Whereas the BBC's original broadcast described the bumper spaghetti crop that the Swiss were enjoying, the Australian version develops the story further by telling…
Posted: Mon Feb 16, 2009.   Comments (4)

April Fools Day 2008 - The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly — Some more reports from April 1st: the good (or at least midly amusing), bad, and plain ugly. The Good List Universe posted the Top 10 Bizarre Genetically Modified Organisms. I saw this today, without realizing it was an April Fool's Day joke, and it had me going for a while. My favorite on the list was the paper tree which "grows square leaves that, when dried, are already usable as writing paper." • ThinkGeek wrote about a strange new Nintendo Wii game: Super Pii Pii Brothers. The…
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008.   Comments (9)

April Fools Day, 2008 — Happy April Fools! I'm not going to attempt to catalog every April Fools prank that happens. Other sites have that covered, such as aprilfoolsdayontheweb.com and wikipedia. But I'll list a few of what I think are the better ones: • The BBC has captured footage of flying penguins. As reported by telegraph.co.uk: "Camera crews discovered a colony of Adélie penguins while filming on King George Island, some 750 miles south of the Falkland Islands." • YouTube UK has rickrolled its…
Posted: Tue Apr 01, 2008.   Comments (18)

April Fool, or the Evils of Deception — For the past week I've been researching the history of April Fools Day in order to revise and supplement the info I already have on the site. For instance, I've significantly revised my article about the origin of April Fool's Day. I think it's now just about the most thorough examination of this question in print -- which isn't saying much because most articles about the origin of April Fool's Day simply repeat the same old legends, and leave it at that. In the course of this research…
Posted: Sun Mar 30, 2008.   Comments (19)


NYC’s 23rd Annual April Fool’s Day Parade — The New York April Fools' Committee has announced that, once again, the city will host a parade on April 1st. But for those planning to attend, please note that "the parade route has changed temporarily due to construction in Washington Square Park. This year the parade will detour east across Fourteenth Street to Union Square where the post-parade festivities will begin." This year, floats will include Michael Vick "taking bets on his Dog Fight Float with caged, snarling pit bulls,"…
Posted: Sun Mar 09, 2008.   Comments (4)

Fossil Fools Day — The International Rising Tide network has declared this April 1, 2008 to be Fossil Fools Day. It's urging pranksters to target the fossil fuel industry on April 1st. They write: "Find a fossil fool in your community and pull a prank that packs a punch." Some of the pranks they suggest: Consider such tactics as blockading the entrance to a gas station, locking down to gas pumps, or having a die-in in front of the gas station. It is quite easy to gain access to the roof for a banner…
Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2008.   Comments (10)

Lego Halo — Rumors have been floating around suggesting that Bungie Software might be coming out with a new game called Lego Halo. It would be the same as the Halo series, except everything would look like it was made out of lego. The rumor is based on a scan of an article from an upcoming issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly which describes this game. There really is a Lego Star Wars game, so there's a precedent for this concept. However, Lego Halo appears to be a hoax. Gaming Today reports:
Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2008.   Comments (3)

Swedish Translator Needed — Does anyone reading this happen to speak Swedish? I'm looking for someone who could help me translate some material relating to SVT's famous "instant color TV" april fool's day hoax that took place in 1962. SVT has a page with a paragraph discussing the hoax. And the same page links to a video of the hoax itself. I'm hoping to be able to come up with an English transcript of the hoax. Anyone willing to help me out with this, I'd be happy to send them a free signed copy of my latest…
Posted: Sat Mar 01, 2008.   Comments (16)

Banning Patio Heaters — Last year the Daily Mail ran an April Fool's Day article in which it claimed that Brits would have to pay a "carbon offset" tax if they wanted to barbecue in their backyards: IT IS one of the timeless rituals of the new globally-warmed great British summer: firing up the barbecue and slinging on a steak. But people who choose to burn charcoal may have to think twice as councils now have swingeing new powers to force homeowners to buy 'carbon offsets' before they light up or face a…
Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008.   Comments (15)

Big Ben Goes Digital (Again) — Status: Prank Recently Big Ben's chimes have been silenced as repairs are made to it. Apparently this has inspired policemen at Westminster to revive the BBC's 1980 April Fool's Day joke. The BBC Reports: Policemen at the Palace of Westminster are notorious for their mischievous sense of humour when it comes to dealing with tourists. For example, they once nominated a camera-shy constable as the "official" PC to be photographed by visitors eager to be snapped with a British bobby. But…
Posted: Wed Jul 05, 2006.   Comments (6)

Donut Maker Sponsors High School — Status: April Fool Prank Students at Hugh McRoberts School in Richmond, British Columbia were stunned when they learned that donut-maker Tim Hortons was going to become an official sponsor of their school. As a result the nickname for the school's team would change from the "Strikers" to the "Dunkers". Also: The school’s Snack Shack had been sold, students were told in a survey that asked which doughnuts they preferred for the new shack’s menu. What’s more, the school was to undergo a…
Posted: Wed Apr 12, 2006.   Comments (11)

Plane Delays Landing for Tea Break — Status: True Imagine getting delayed because of this: STUNNED holiday-makers flying back to Britain from Tenerife said they were told by the captain they could not land because an air traffic controller was on a tea break. Because this occurred on April 1st, the passengers initially thought the captain was joking when he announced the reason for the delay over the intercom, but it turned out he wasn't. So the plane had to circle for almost half an hour until the guy came back to…
Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006.   Comments (13)

Bank Withdrawal Prank — Status: Prank that backfired The Brainerd Dispatch (requires registration) reports on an April Fool's Day prank that went slightly wrong, ending up with the prankster, a 57-year-old woman, getting charged with disorderly conduct: About 10:15 a.m. Saturday, the woman stopped at Wells Fargo Bank at 424 W. Washington St. in Brainerd to make a legitimate withdrawal from an account. When she was finished, she handed the teller a note that read, "I'm here to take money," said Brainerd Police…
Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006.   Comments (7)

Attack of the Mario Power-Up Cubes — Status: Misinterpreted April Fool's Day Prank This story offers a sad commentary on the state of affairs in America. Five teenage girls living in Ravenna, Ohio got into the spirit of April 1st by decorating a few public places in their town with brightly colored boxes designed to look like the power-up cubes in the Super Mario Bros. game (the ones you jump up to hit and get extra energy). They got the idea from qwantz.com. Local residents who didn't recognize what the boxes were…
Posted: Wed Apr 05, 2006.   Comments (15)

Did UKTV Do Their Own Research? — Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but it sure seems like all the items in UKTV's list of 20 Great April Fools, which Jon Holmes presented on air on April 1st over in Britain, were lifted almost verbatim from my list of the Top 100 April Fools ever. Not to complain (actually to complain bitterly), but it took me a long time to create that list... a lot of tedious searching through decades of old newspaper archives to find all the April Fool's Day classics that had been, for the most part,…
Posted: Tue Apr 04, 2006.   Comments (28)

April Fool’s Day Roundup, 2006 — Status: April Foolery Happy April Fools, everyone! Sorry about the light posting recently, but the past few days I've been doing almost back-to-back radio interviews to promote Hippo Eats Dwarf. (I've got a few more radio interviews today, then I'm doing a book signing at the Borders in downtown San Diego.) You may also have noticed that the site is loading slowly. That's the April Fool's Day effect, which happens every year. Traffic to the site spikes, causing the server to grind to a…
Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006.   Comments (17)

CNet April Fools Article — Status: Journalistic errors CNet has an article about April Fool's Day hoaxes on the internet. It has some interesting info in it, but surprisingly it makes two rather large errors. First of all, it describes the Microsoft iLoo (an internet-enabled portable toilet) from 2003 as an April Fool's Day hoax. Microsoft announced the iLoo on April 30, making it a real stretch to describe it as an April Fool's Day hoax. But more importantly, although Microsoft did initially say the iLoo was a…
Posted: Sat Apr 01, 2006.   Comments (0)

Is April Fools Day Dying Out? — Status: Commentary Jeff Daniel, in a recent column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, wonders if anyone celebrates April Fool's Day anymore. He writes: For all practical purposes, the official day of practical joking appears to be as flat as a deflated whoopee cushion if reports from Sacramento, Calif., and Columbus, Ohio, are to be believed. Last April 1, newspapers in those cities ran stories investigating the tradition's demise. In one of the pieces, a reporter's random polling found…
Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2006.   Comments (10)

Top Ten Office Pranks — Status: April Fool Pranks CareerBuilder.com has issued a press release listing what they have determined to be the top ten office pranks, based on a survey of 2500 office workers. Here they are: 1. Change the caller ID on a co-worker's phone to read Mr. Kitten every time he calls someone. 2. Place random objects from people's desks in the vending machine. 3. Place a live goldfish in an IV bag in a clinic. 4. Sneak onto someone else's computer and send out an "I love you" email to…
Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2006.   Comments (31)

The Fat Tax — Status: Hoax An article in the current issue of Esquire describes the tax-reform campaign of a sixty-six-year-old recluse named Irwin Leba. His idea is to enact a fat tax. The idea is pretty simple. Charge overweight people higher taxes. That way you raise more tax revenue and encourage people to be healthier, at the same time. Here's exactly how it would work: sometime between January 1 and April 15, every American will have to visit a government-sponsored weigh station and step on a…
Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2006.   Comments (35)

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