Whether you’re a prankster on the prowl, patiently counting down the days or a prankee, already anxious in anticipation, April Fools Day is almost here- marking a momentous day dedicated to manifesting mayhem with seemingly innocuous jokes, and other not so pleasant pranks. Practical jokes have long penetrated through history, from the literary works of Shakespeare to modern day viral videos of millennials getting punk’d, as Ashton Kutcher would poetically put it, circa 2000.
50s→ BBC Report on an “Exceptionally Heavy Spaghetti Crop”- 1957 The British Broadcasting Corporation pulled a fast one across the nation when they showed video footage of spaghetti harvesters diligently working to collect noodles from trees in light of the “virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil.” The corporation received many calls from curious viewers, interested in making a pilgrimage to Switzerland to see the spaghetti bush.
60s→ Nylon Stockings Induce Super Color Vision In 1962, the Swedish national network called upon its viewers to put on nylon stockings for a more colorful viewer experience. Literally, colorful, they claimed that its black and white broadcasts could be viewed in color by cutting open a pair of stockings and taping them onto the television set.
70s→ Man-Eating Piranhas Wreak Havoc on Upstate New York According to The Syracuse Post-Standard, a school of piranhas were spotted in the streams of New York. While the end of the article contained the punchline, most did not reach the end before panicking and spreading the word of such seemingly salient news.
80s→ BBC Strikes Again, Big Ben Goes Analogue British humor sees no end, as the Brits strike again when BBC’s overseas service made a public service announcement that Big Ben was going analogue. The general public did not take the news well and the BBC ended up apologizing to overseas listeners who took the practical joke seriously.
90s→ Taco Liberty Bell- 1996 Early 90s babies may remember the historic day when Taco Bell announced with a full-page advertisement in seven leading newspapers that they had bought the Liberty Bell and renamed it “Taco Liberty Bell.”