By Niall McArdle
All this month I’ll be taking part in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge, blogging my way through the alphabet.
So, beginning with A … for April Fool’s Day: Here are some of the best April Fool’s Day Pranks of all time
Washing the Lions
In March 1860 cards were being handed out in London offering free admittance to the Tower of London for the Annual Ceremony of Washing the Lions, in spite of the fact that there hadn’t been lions in the Tower for decades. The prank had a long pedigree and had been carried out several times before.
On April 1st, 1878 the New York Graphic announced that Thomas Edison had invented a machine that could turn soil directly into cereal and water directly into wine. Newspapers across the country copied the story. One, the Buffalo Commercial Advertiser, proclaimed Edion’s genius and stated that the nation should “be thankful that the genius of true benefactors of the race, like Edison, cannot now be crippled and blighted by superstition and bigotry, as it was when Galileo was forced to recant the awful heresy that two and two make four.”
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
On April 1st, 1957 the BBC reported on the bumper spaghetti crop of Southern Switzerland, with the authoritative voice of Richard Dimbleby – perhaps the most respected television personality at the time – informing viewers that the mild winter in the Alps “has resulted in an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop.” This was one of the first times television had been used to fool people on April Fool’s Day. Hundreds of people telephoned the BBC to ask how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. The answer: “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” The hoax was thought up by Panorama cameraman Charles de Jaeger
In 2008 the BBC convinced viewers that a team of filmmakers at the South Pole – filming for an upcoming nature series Miracles of Evolution -had accidentally discovered a breed of flying Adelie penguin.
In 1990 The Independent reported that art restorers working on Da Vinci’s famous painting discovered that underneath layers of dirt the woman was not smiling at all.
The Grandstand Brawl
The BBC once again pull a class prank on viewers, with a brawl among the crew behind presenter Des Lynam as he dead-pans “we’ll continue to do our best to cover sport in the way that you like, backed up by our highly professional team.”
Branson and his Virgin company have pulled off quite a few pranks over the years, from glass-bottomed planes to Virgin Volcanic. In 2011 Branson announced he had bought Pluto “for an undisclosed sum” and “intends to have it reinstated as a planet.”
In 1998 Burger King ran a full-page ad announcing their new burger designed specifically “for the 1.4 million left-handed people who visit Burger King every day.” It was the same as the regular Whopper, but that it had “all condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of the condiments will skew to the left, thereby reducing the amount of lettuce and other toppings from spilling out the right side of the burger.”
In 2012 Fresh Step unveiled its bacon-scented cat litter: “The power of activated carbon meets the scrumptious scent of freshly cooked bacon.”
Peugeot Mood Paint
In 2012 Peugeot fooled customers that their “psycho-chromatic coating” could “change the colour of your car to reflect how you’re feeling.”