Today is April Fools’ day and as we celebrate this holiday we will be foregoing our traditional blog subjects. Let’s talk about where and how April Fools’ Day started. According to this blog there is not a specific time period in which April Fools’ day began but there is a reference to how the name came about. A poem written in 1539 by Eduard De Dene “described a man who sent his servant on a series of wild goose chases on April 1”, says Alex Boese, author and curator of Museum of Hoaxes. “Eventually, the servant caught on and complained that he’d been sent out on a ‘fools’ errand today.'”
As they say, the rest is history.
Today many people still pull pranks on their friends and colleagues but it is estimated that April Fools’ Day is not as widely celebrated as it once was. But there are still pranksters out there that live for this day. Read on for some infamous pranks.
The Left-Handed Whopper 1998: Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a “Left-Handed Whopper” specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. 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 request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, “many others requested their own ‘right handed’ version.”
The Taco Liberty Bell 1996: The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest 1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Want more? Check out Top 100 April Fools’ Day Hoaxes of All Time.