Ah, the day of tomfoolery, where people have spent days and weeks planning their pranks in an attempt to be remembered, until the next year. We decided to list our top 3 favourite April Fool’s Pranks, and there are some absolute corkers!
April Fools Number 1: San Seriffe
In 1977 The Guardian, who at the time regularly published supplements on countries, printed a special report about a small republic located in the Indian Ocean called ‘San Seriffe’ it went into much detail including the geography – it was made up of two primary islands called ‘Upper Caisse’ and ‘Lower Caisse’ which were in the shape of a semi-colon, there was even a beach called Gill Sands.
What made the supplement more believable were the adverts, including Guinness, Kodak and Texaco who offered a reader the chance to win two weeks holiday to San Seriffe as the guest of the ever popular racing car driver James Hunt.
It generated a huge response, people phoned up The Guardian asking for more information and some airlines and travel agencies even complained to the editor due to people refusing to believe the islands were made up.
The Guardian went on to publish a piece in 1999 called ‘Return to San Seriffe'.
April Fools Number 2: The Migrant Mother
In 2005 Popular Photography Magazine ran a feature about how to touch up a photo on subjects who have ‘unsightly wrinkles’ or ‘ugly expressions’.
One of the examples they used was the famous Depression-era photo of “Migrant Mother”, they erased her wrinkles, softened her gaze and even removed the children from the shot, giving a totally different feel to the photo.
It received an unprecedented response, while many of the readers understood it was a prank and a parody on the way magazines these days always touch up images of celebrities there were some who took it very seriously. The magazine received complaints, hate mail and rants. You can read some of them in a piece published several years later on their website.
April Fools Number 3: Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
In 1957 the news show Panorama ran a three minute segment about a spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. In the segment they advised the success of the harvest was due to a mild winter and the disappearance of the ‘spaghetti weevil’.
Presented by a straight faced Richard Dimbleby the segment was the last in the show to which Dimbleby signed off saying “Now we say goodnight, on this first day of April” despite this the reaction was massive, although mixed, while many appreciated the joke a lot of the callers wanted to know how to grow their own spaghetti, to which they were told “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best”.
The idea came from the cameraman Charles De Jaeger, who grew up in Vienna, his teacher would often say to his class “Boys, you’re so stupid, you’d believe me if I told you that spaghetti grew on trees” this stuck with him and he thought it would be funny to turn it into a visual joke.
Take a look at the video:
Now they’ve fooled a lot of people, I hope you enjoyed reading about these pranks as much as we did!