The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
Where better to start than what is considered to be one of the first April Fools jokes on television, ‘The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest’. In 1957, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) brought to the worlds attention the bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The news program Panorama, (considered to be one of the BBC’s most serious programs) was chosen as the platform to pull off the stunt. The footage showed farmers in Switzerland collecting spaghetti off of trees, after a bumper crop due to the lack of ‘spaghetti weevils’ that summer. The footage was that convincing that the BBC was flooded with request from viewers on how they could grow their own spaghetti trees!
Despite being over fifty years old, the ‘Swiss Spaghetti Harvest’ is still thought to be one of the most popular April Fools jokes ever played.
BBC Penguin Prank
The BBC is no stranger to pulling elaborate April Fools jokes, however the 2008 Miracles of Nature hoax would go down to be one of it’s greatest. The program featured a section on Antarctic exploration, notably the discovery of a remarkable colony of Adelie penguins. What made this colony so special from other penguins is that they could fly, and not only that, every year they would fly to the rainforest of South America to bask in the sun! Thanks to the work of the special effects department at the BBC, this clever hoax has a lot of people fooled, check out the video for yourselves and see these magical little creatures in action!
Burger King Left Handed Whopper
You don’t always need a special effects team to create a great April Fools joke, sometimes all you need is a lot of gullible people unaware of what day it is.
Burger King used this to their advantage in 1998 with the introducing of the ‘Left Handed Whopper’! This full page advertisement in USA Today magazine, stated that the burger was redesigned so that the condiments were rotated 180 degrees to ensure that nothing fell out of the wrong side of the burger of left handed customers.
The following day, Burger King made a press release stating that the ad was a hoax, however they did report thousands of customers asking for the new product in stores. Possibly even funnier is that there were a large number of requests from right-handed customers for a ‘regular’ right-handed whopper.
One of the best parts of April Fools Day, is that you never know where a prank is going to come from, and quite often it is done by the people that you would least expect to carry out such trickery!
Sir Patrick Moore, considered to be one of the worlds leading intellects in astronomy was at the heart of a fantastic prank in 1976. In a guest interview on BBC radio 2, the astronomer told of a unique moment in history where at precisely 9.47am on April 1st, Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, lessening the forces of gravity on earth. Moore told listeners than if they jumped at precisely the right moment, they would feel a weightless floating sensation. After shouting, “Jump” on air, the switchboard received dozens of calls from people claiming to have experienced the gravitational anomaly. Several claimed that they had floated around the room, whilst another man wanted to claim compensation for rising too quickly and bumping his head on the ceiling. Moore later revealed that it was all a hoax, but to this day it is still consider to be one of the greatest April Fools jokes.
Mount Edgecumb Volcano
Now this has got to be our favourite April Fools prank, not only due to the commotion it caused, but also by the fact it was all orchestrated by one 50 year old trickster.
The residents of the town of Sitka, Alaska made a startling discovery upon waking on April 1st 1974. Now Sitka differs from most towns, in the fact that it rests at the foot of Mount Edgecumbe, a volcano that has been dormant for over 400 years.
To the residents of Sitka however, this day was very different. On this clear April morning the usually peaceful volcano was in fact bellowing thick black smoke into the sky. Naturally startled, the residents of Sitka were whipped into a panic and the local emergency services were inundated with calls asking for help and advice to deal with their impending doom.
Obviously surprised, the local authorities ordered a search helicopter be sent to investigate. A local coast guard pilot was ordered to fly over the top of the volcano and report his finding, however he couldn’t have prepared himself for what he saw. In place of finding a soon to erupt volcano, instead stood a stack of 70 burning tires and the words ‘APRIL FOOL’ etched in the snow of the inside crater.
As word soon spread of this creative hoax, the mastermind of the whole operation, local prankster Oliver ‘Porky’ Bikar came forward to confess to staging the elaborate prank. Bikar had previously thought of the idea three years earlier, however it would take three years for conditions to be good enough for him to make it a reality. In the meantime, this gave him time to collect enough old tires, which he stored in an old aircraft hanger waiting for the right moment!
On the morning of April 1st 1974, after looking out his window, Bikar knew that that now was his moment. After contacting several of his friends and a helicopter pilot, the group flew the tires to the top of the mountain and set them on fire with kerosene. Fortunately, they had let the majority of the emergency services know about their devious deed, and the residents of Sitka soon saw the funny side once the commotion had died down.