April Fools’ Day is an annual excuse for general global jokery and there’s no shortage of hilarious hoaxes every 1st April, from spaghetti trees to left-handed food. We’ve picked out some of the best pranks, so sit back, enjoy and don’t slip on any banana skins!
1. Burger King’s left-handed Whopper, 1st April 1998
Burger King played a whopper of a prank when it took out a full-page ad in USA Today for the launch of its latest piece of meaty PR – a left-handed Whopper. The new burger included the same ingredients as the original, but they’d all been rotated 180 degrees, “reducing the amount of lettuce and other toppings from spilling out the right side.” The next day, Burger King revealed that thousands of customers had asked for the new sandwich.
2. BBC’s big spaghetti harvest, 1st April 1957
Back in 1957, spaghetti was still quite an ‘exotic’ food in the UK. So it made the perfect prank material for the BBC when they fooled British audiences into believing that spaghetti really grew on trees. The film reel focused on a family spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland and resulted in viewers calling up the BBC and asking for tips on how to grow their own pasta!
3. BBC’s Big Ben going digital, 1st April 1980
In 1980, the BBC’s overseas service pranked its listeners by announcing that London’s legendary Big Ben was going to be updated for the modern era with a digital readout – and the four now redundant clock hands would be given away to the first four listeners to contact the radio station. Far-fetched foolery, for sure, but it led to a barrage of angry complaints – as well as a few hopeful people in search of a clock-hand of history.
4. Dick Smith’s Sydney iceberg, 1st April 1978
Entrepreneur Dick Smith caused media mayhem when he towed an ‘iceberg’ across Sydney Harbour to show how Antarctic ice could provide fresh water to drought-prone areas. He had promised to carve it into ice cubes and sell them under the brand name ‘Dicksicles’. People crowded the shoreline and then it started to rain – washing away the fireman’s foam and shaving cream and leaving nothing more Antarctic than a white sheet on a barge.
5. Patrick Moore’s planetary phenomenon, 1st April 1976
Eccentric TV astronomer Patrick Moore was a household name, which meant he was able to fox fans when he told a radio audience about the Jovian–Plutonian gravitational effect that would cause a short-term reduction in gravity at 9.47am that day. Moore told listeners that if they jumped in the air at that exact moment, they’d feel a floating sensation – surprise, surprise, the BBC had hundreds of calls confirming the gravity loss!
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