Tuesday, 2 April 2013

6 Of The Best April Fools Jokes Ever

April Fools has origins as far back as the 16th century. Many believe that the moving of the Gregorian calendar from April 1 to January 1 in 1562 is where the tradition began. Today April Fools Day is celebrated world wide, and I am going to look back at some of the biggest and best pranks there have been.

1957 Spaghetti Trees
In 1957 BBC Panorama showed Swiss farmers dealing with an 'exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop'. They were shown pulling spaghetti strands from plants, before laying them out on the floor to dry.
Hundreds called the BBC asking where they could get a spaghetti bush to grow their own crop. The prank even fooled BBC staff, including the Corporation's then-director Ian Jacobs, who later confessed to looking up 'spaghetti' in his encyclopedia.

1974 Mount Edgecumbe 'erupts'
The volcano of Mount Edgecumbe had been dormant for 9,000 years when residents in Sitka, Alaska, saw plumes of black smoke rising from its crater in 1974. Fearing an apocalyptic volcanic eruption, people fled their homes in terror and the authorities were sent in to investigate.

When a helicopter flew towards the volcano and looked in, officials saw that the smoke was in fact caused by hundreds of burning tyres. Furthermore, the words 'April Fool' had been spray painted in 50ft letters around the rim of the volcano. The prank was the work of Oliver Bickar, who had been planning the stunt for four years.

1998 Burger King's 'left-handed whopper'
In 1998 Burger King advertised their latest fast food snack; their trademark burger, but with all the condiments rotated 180 degrees for the use of the 1.4 million left handed customers they received daily. The burger took out a full-page advert in USA Today proudly announcing 'the left-handed Whopper'. The stunt still fooled thousands of Burger King fans, who went out of their way to get their hands on one. A Burger King spokesperson later revealed the prank with some admirable PR-speak, proclaiming: "Everyone knows that it takes two hands to hold a Whopper!"

2008 Flying Penguins
A more recent April Fools triumph for the BBC, in 2008 TV crews in the Antarctic claimed to have captured shots of Adelie penguins taking flight. In an apparent clip for its natural history show Miracles of Evolution, video footage did indeed show the usually flightless birds soaring up through the skies.

The film was, of course, computer generated, but it fooled thousands of people, quickly going viral. Presenter Terry Jones said the penguins took to the air and flew thousands of miles to South American rainforests, where they would 'spend the winter basking in the tropical sun'.

1992 The Loch Ness Monster discovered? 
The Loch Ness Monster continues to be one of the greatest mysteries of all time, from reported sightings to Hollywood blockbusters, Nessie has captured the imaginations of generations for centuries, with nobody really knowing what, or who, dwells at the bottom of the loch. In 1992 it appeared the mystery had been solved; naturalist David Bellamy announced that giant footprints had been found on the shore of Loch Ness and announced that it proved the existence of the monster.The announcement appeared on a number of children's TV shows and on the front page of a national newspaper. The announcement was actually an April Fools stunt to promote a new chocolate biscuit called Dinosaurs.

1986 BMW’s self-inflating tyres
One of BMW's most famous tricks came in 1986 when they announced the invention of a remote-controlled tyre inflator, that was designed to save time at petrol stations and to make life easier for their customers. No more fiddling with air pumps and dirty tyre caps.The Tyre Pressure Control system was promised to allow the driver to remotely inflate the tyres via a button on the dash which activated air canisters on each wheel. The joke was so popular it was used in the James Bond movie Tomorrow Never Dies 11 years later.