What are some famous April Fools’ pranks?
In 1957, the BBC broadcast a report showing a Swiss family harvesting spaghetti from their spaghetti tree. Describing a bumper harvest allowed by the “virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil,” the report fooled hundreds of Brits into calling the BBC for advice on growing their own spaghetti trees.
WNAC-TV inadvertently spread a panic throughout Milton, Massachusetts, when in 1980 it announced the eruption of Great Blue Hill. The report combined footage of lava flowing down a hillside (from the Mount St. Helen’s eruption) with edited quotes from President Jimmy Carter and Governor Edward King. After residents began fleeing their homes and calling the local police station, the station issued a hasty apology.
In 1996, Taco Bell announced to the world its purchase of the Liberty Bell. Buying full-page advertisements in national newspapers, Taco Bell stated that it would rename the iconic symbol the “Taco Liberty Bell.” In response to questioning, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said that the federal government was also “selling the Lincoln Memorial to the Ford Motor Company and renaming it the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.”
In 1992, NPR shocked the nation when it announced that Richard Nixon was seeking the Republican nomination for President. The broadcast employed Harvard professor Laurence Tribe and Newsweek reporter Howard Fineman as credible analysts.