Five Big-Scale Pranks We Like
From the Museum of Hoaxes’ list of Top 100 April Fools’ Day Hoaxes of All Time at www.museumof hoaxes.com. 1957: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest. A BBC news show announced that a mild winter and the elimination of the spaghetti weevil caused a bumper spaghetti crop in Switzerland. The show ran footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti from trees. Many viewers called the station to learn how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. The BBC replied that they should “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” 1974: The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe. Porky Bickar, a prankster in Sitka, Alaska, flew hundreds of tires into a dormant volcano and set them on fire. Black smoke rose from the crater, and the townspeople of Sitka panicked, fearing an eruption. When Mount St. Helens erupted several years later, a Sitka resident is said to have written to Bickar, “This time you’ve gone too far.” 1979: Operation Parallax. A British radio station announced that the government planned to resynchronize the calendar. The reason? Britain had gradually become 48 hours ahead of the rest of the world because of switching back and forth from British Summer Time, so the government decided to cancel April 5 and 12 that year. The station received numerous calls. One woman asked if she had to pay her employees for the missing days. 1998: A Whopper of a Whopper. Burger King published a full-page ad in USA Today announcing the introduction of a Left-Handed Whopper, specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the ad, the new Whopper included the same ingredients as the original, but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees. The following day, Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to ask for the burger. And, according to Burger King, “many others requested their own ‘right-handed’ version.” 1998: The Great Nat Tate. A lavish party was held at artist Jeff Koons’s New York studio to honor the memory of the late, great American artist Nat Tate, that troubled abstract expressionist who destroyed 99 percent of his work before leaping to his death from the Staten Island ferry. At the party, superstar David Bowie read aloud selections from writer William Boyd’s soon-to-be released biography, “Nat Tate: An American Artist, 1928-1960.” Critics in the crowd murmured appreciative comments about Tate’s work as they sipped their drinks. The only catch was that Tate had never existed. He was the satirical creation of Boyd. Bowie and Boyd’s publisher were the only other ones in on the joke.