April Fool’s Day
Students are always wanting to pull off silly pranks on April Fool’s Day. . . Your shoe is untied. . . You have a spider in your hair. . .The list goes on and on. This year I am ready. I have prepared a handout with some famous April Fool’s hoaxes. You can read them here, or simply print out the handout. After students read about these great pranks, I plan to have them write about a prank they could pull off. I’m sure I will have to set boundaries to keep this project light and fun. I imagine even my most reluctant writers will enjoy planning and writing about a prank!
April Fool’s Day provides a great opportunity for playing jokes and tricks. The challenge is to carry out a trick that is believable. Here are some of the greatest hoaxes in recent times.
Horse Tail Lights
On April 1, 1961, the So La Notte newspaper announced that a new law had been passed in Milan making it mandatory for horses to be outfitted with signaling and brake lights. Many people took their horses to car mechanics to have them outfitted with the necessary lights.
Comic Strip Exchange
On April 1, 1997, forty-six comic strip artists created each other’s comic strips for the day. Each artist added a touch of his own comic’s humor into the other comic strip. For example, Jim Davis of Garfield showed his overweight cat eating one of Dagwood’s sandwiches in Blondie.
The Left Handed Whopper
On April 1, 1998, Burger King published a full page ad in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item on their menu, the Left-Handed Whopper. All the condiments were going to be rotated 180 degrees to make the burger easier for left-handed customers. Thousands of customers went to Burger King requesting the new burger before the company announced the following day that it was a hoax.
The Taco Liberty Bell
On April 1, 1996, the Taco Bell Corporation took out a full page ad in six major newspapers announcing they had bought the Liberty Bell. They were renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia to express their anger. One of the best jokes of the day was when White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale; he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It was going to be renamed the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
Instant Color Television
The first color television broadcast took place on January 1, 1954; however, for the next ten years most network broadcasts and nearly all local programming were in back-and-white. Due to this, color television sets did not begin to sell until the mid-1960s. On April 1, 1962, a Swedish television expert, Kjell Stensson, informed the public that thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their existing televisions to color. Stensson told viewers to pull a nylon stocking over their TV screen and the mesh of the stocking would cause the light to bend making the images appear to be in color. Thousands of viewers rushed around their homes looking for stockings to slide over their television screens only to discover it did not work.
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
On April 1, 1957, a respected BBC news show called Panorama ran a segment about growing spaghetti. Viewers watched Swiss farmers picking spaghetti from trees while the announcer explained that due to the mild winter, the spaghetti weevil was virtually eliminated. Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. Many viewers believed the newscast and telephoned the BBC network wanting to know where to buy spaghetti trees.