Saturday, March 31, 2007

April fool's day

Above: April Fool's Day Joke gone bad. (Cartoon credit) Yes, I know it's tomorrow, April 1st. But, in some parts of the world, it's already April 1st, so there!

I ran into this interesting article on Yahoo news of the top pranks pulled off on April Fool's Day. I haven't heard of all of these, but here are the interesting ones (to me):
-- Sweden in 1962 had only one television channel, which broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert appeared on the news to announce that thanks to a newly developed technology, viewers could convert their existing sets to receive color pictures by pulling a nylon stocking over the screen. In fact, they had to wait until 1970.

- In 1996, American fast-food chain Taco Bell announced that it had bought Philadelphia's Liberty Bell, a historic symbol of American independence, from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell.

Outraged citizens called to express their anger before Taco Bell revealed the hoax. Then-White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale and said the Lincoln Memorial in Washington had also been sold and was to be renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial after the automotive giant.

-- Burger King, another American fast-food chain, published a full-page advertisement in USA Today in 1998 announcing the introduction of the "Left-Handed Whopper," specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new burger included the same ingredients as the original, but the condiments were rotated 180 degrees. The chain said it received thousands of requests for the new burger, as well as orders for the original "right-handed" version.

-- In 1992, US National Public Radio announced that Richard Nixon was running for president again. His new campaign slogan was, "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." They even had clips of Nixon announcing his candidacy. Listeners flooded the show with calls expressing their outrage. Nixon's voice actually turned out to be that of impersonator Rich Little.

-- Noted British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on the radio in 1976 that at 9:47 am, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event, in which Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, would cause a gravitational alignment that would reduce the Earth's gravity. Moore told listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment of the planetary alignment, they would experience a floating sensation. Hundreds of people called in to report feeling the sensation.
I've done my share of practical jokes (the good ones I'll never admit to). But, there's always the standard changing the office furniture while someone's on vacation thing. I mean, nothing close to the level of punk'd, but stuff I thought was amusing. Any funny practical joke stories out there?


Anonymous said...

Interestingly (or uninterestingly) enough, I've never been the victim of an April Fool's Day joke.

While in university one winter, we had a huge snow storm and to our surprise, our neighbours on campus completely packed in all our doorways with so much snow we couldn't get out and were completely trapped. They gave us a little "peephole" about 5" in diameter at one window and finally dug us a "tunnel" to crawl through at the front door several hours later. We thought it was hilarious.

Artemis said...

While the Taco-Liberty Bell story always makes me smile (especially the explanation of the "Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial" component), another favorite is the tale of the Swiss "Spaghetti Harvest", originally aired on the BBC in 1957. (the original story, referenced by Snopes, can be seen at
Have a great day!

Dr. Deb said...

I did a practical joke as a teen (jumping out in the dark scaring my friends). Since then I have never done another one.

The Angry Medic said...

Heh. Funny you should ask...turns out the stresses of being at Cambridge drive people to be funnier at practical jokes.

I once opened my door to find a solid wall of black bin bags staring back at me. After cutting my way through it, I ran out onto my landing to see the whole landing cordoned off with fake police tape (that read "DO NOT CROSS YOU BASTARDS") and a chalk outline on the floor, along with a fake Wanted poster up with my face on it. It was all very elaborate.

The cleaners didn't find it very funny in the morning though :P

sophizo said...

My favorite practical joke happened in 2004 when some guys who were housesitting covered everything in the house with tin foil. It was all over the news so I'm sure you've heard about it, but in case you haven't, here is a link with some pictures:

I've done so many practical jokes of my own, I can't decide on my favorite. I will say that one joke did involve a pig's head. It was dead of course! ;-) At least it got a lot of laughs from the guys. The girls weren't too happy though. HA!

Visionary & Medium Extraordinaire said...

Nixon joke is hilarious!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

one year i convinced sarge and his mother i was pregnant. we were already grandparents and our youngest had graduated high school at the time. i had such fun watching them pretend to be happy for me. ha ha ha ha ha

smiles, bee (the evil grandmother)

Kirsten said...

When I was in high school, I was sleeping over at my BFF's house and we decided to outfit the house, April Fool's style. The little things went over well (at least, the ones that worked!) but the thing that got us in trouble was the string:

BFF's mom, HATES spider webs, walks through the doorway that had black string strung up over it. She hadn't had her coffee yet. She was very not happy. To this day (18 years later) I am not allowed in the house for April Fools.