April Fools Day Pranks: The Biggest & Best (PICTURES)
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April Fools Day is right around the corner, which means you're probably looking for that perfect April Fools Day prank. We'll have great prank ideas and coverage of the best pranks of 2011 this week, but first we thought we'd kick things off with a look at some gags you probably won't be pulling off (alone, anyway). Here are some of the biggest, best April Fools Day pranks that have ever gone down. Think we missed one? Tell us of this epic prank and we might include it in our slideshow!
Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
On April Fools Day in 1957 "Panorama", a news show on BBC aired footage of Swiss "Spaghetti Farmers" picking spaghetti from trees. The fake footage was aired as a joke, but viewers called in to find out how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. Instead of coming clean, the BBC cheekily replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
Richard Nixon Runs Again
In 1992 NPR's "Talk of The Nation" show pulled off a pretty impressive prank, they convinced their listeners that RIchard Nixon planned on running for president again. After announcing that Nixon planned to run, the host aired clips from a speech by "Nixon" (recorded by impressionist RIch Little) that included his new campaign slogan. "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." NPR was flooded with calls from outraged listeners who wanted to declare their stance against the faux-candidate.
Youtube Rickrolls Everyone
All over the internet links were being posted that claimed to be something else, but actually lead to the music video for RIck Astley's hit "Never Gonna Give You Up." This act was known as Rickrolling and Youtube took it to a whole other level on April Fools Day 2008. Youtube made every featured video on their site a link to RIck Astley's famously cheesy music video.
The Taco Liberty Bell
Taco Bell attempted a different kind of advertising for April Fools Day 1996 when they purchased full page ads in seven major newspapers across the U.S. In these ads Taco Bell announced that they had purchased the Liberty Bell and were renaming it the "Taco Liberty Bell." They claimed that the purchase was to "help alleviate national debt." Thousands of people picked up their phones and protested until Taco Bell revealed the hoax at noon that day. It is believed that Taco Bell's strategy paid off and earned them millions of dollars in free publicity.
Arm The Homeless
In 1993 a press release was sent to a Columbus, Ohio newspaper by the "Arm The Homeless Coalition." The press release announced that the coalition would be accepting donations to arm and train homeless people who pass their mental test and are in need of a firearm. The press release gained the attention of Rush Limbaugh, CNN, and "AP" who later found out that the coalition was actually just three college students promoting homelessness and gun violence awareness. This prank has spawned many copycats, such as the video above.
Man Runs 26 Day Marathon
The "Daily Mail" in London reported that a Japanese man had entered the 1981 London Marathon and due to a mistranslation thought he had to run for 26 days, not miles. A man was spotted running outside of London and wouldn't stop when people tried to get his attention. The whole story turned out to be a hoax and the man that people saw was just another piece to the elaborate prank by The "Daily Mail".
The April 1st 1998 edition of the USA Today featured a full page ad by Burger King announcing the creation of their latest twist on their most popular sandwich, The Left Handed Whopper. The ad stated that the condiments on the burger were rotated 180 degrees for easier consumption by people who were left handed. The following day Burger King released a press release that confirmed that the Left-Handed Whopper was not real and that thousands of people went into various Burger Kings asking for both left and right-handed Whoppers.
Wisconsin Capitol Building Collapses
In 1933, the "Madison Capital-Times" reported that the capitol building had collapsed due to a build-up of gases from the debating that was going on in the building. After it was discovered that the building was intact, the "Capital-Times" was met with a reaction of both outrage and laughter.
British Supermarket chain Tesco ran an ad in "The Sun" that announced that they had developed genetically modified carrots that grew with tapered air holes in their sides. When the carrot was fully cooked the carrot would use these air holes and "whistle." Unfortunately for many disappointed customers, Tesco made the whole thing up, but most likely sold more carrots than usual.
The first time Google pulled a prank on its faithful users was for April Fools Day in 2000. Google announced its new "Mentalplex Technology" which claimed to be able to read a user's mind so they didn't have to enter their search query. A person using "Mentalplex" would have to stare at a revolving shape and then would be treated to a Google Results page for "April Fools Day". This was the first time Google surprised its users and it certainly wasn't the last. There is an entire <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google%27s_hoaxes" target="_hplink">Wikipedia article </a>dedicated to Google's various hoaxes.
Thomas Edison's Food Machine
Thomas Edison was renowned as a genius in his day and in 1878 New York "Graphic" announced that the New Jersey dweller had invented a machine that could turn water into wine and soil into cereal. This of course was a hoax, but other newspapers around the country didn't get the joke and published the article with tons of editorial praise. The next day the "Graphic" re-published some of the praise with the headline, "They Bite!"
BBC's 'Flying Penguins'
The Daily Mirror and Telegraph both <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=4564489&page=1" target="_hplink">fell for this bogus documentary discovery</a> on the BBC that was described as Darwin's theory of evolution working in reverse: Flying Penguins! You would think ex-Monty Python player Terry Jones would tip people off that it was a joke, but alas. It was a great prank! (Thanks Ian V!)
Alabama Changes The Value Of Pi
The "New Mexicans for Science and Reason" newsletter played a huge prank on its number crunching readers. For their April 1998 issue, the newsletter ran an article claiming that Alabama State legislature had legally changed the value of Pi from 3.141 to the more biblically important 3. This article spread like wildfire and was reported by other news outlets. The result was Alabama's State Legislature being flooded with phone calls in protest of a law that they weren't even aware of. The perpetrator of the prank was physicist Mark Boslough. Who knew that a physicist could be such a prankster?
The Space Needle "Falls"
The northwest comedy television show "Almost Live" aired a live special on April 1, 1989. In honor of April Fools Day, the comedy troupe decided to pull a prank live on air. The prank was simple, during they show they would cut away to an actor playing a news anchor who would announce that the Space Needle collapsed. Then he would show doctored photos of the "collapsed" building with the caption "April Fools Day." What was intended to be a harmless prank escalated when the 9-11 service in Seattle was overloaded with phone calls and shut down. A week later, the "Almost Live" crew issued an apology and earned April Fools Day infamy for the rest of their lives.