While the exact origin of April Fools' Day is still largely undetermined, we can be sure of one thing: April Fools' pranks have been around for a very long time. Ambiguous references to the holiday showed up in literature around the 1500s and we've been pranking our friends and family on April 1st ever since.
With over 500 years of pranks to choose from, it's a daunting task to pick the most epic pranks of all time. We chose the seven pranks that made us snort, chuckle and LOL the hardest.
Is there another prank that you think should have made the list? Let us know in the comments!
In 1962, all of Swedish television was broadcast in black and white. On April 1st, however, that was about to change.
Sweden's television station, STV, announced that viewers could easily watch color TV by simply placing a 'fine-meshed screen', or a nylon stocking, in front of the screen
. They explained the process with a bunch of scientific-sounding mumbo jumbo. Pretty much everyone started trying to stretch stockings over their TVs.
Google has a pretty good track record of creating the newest, most advanced technology around. So in 2007, when they announced their new product, Gmail Paper,
people were all like 'WHAAAAT?'.
Google's newest service promised to print out your emails for you, stack them neatly in a box, and ship them to your door. Along with the announcement, they also launched a pretty convincing website
that explained the service in detail.
However, the customer testimonials on the page ("It's paper, plain and easy. I sometimes find myself wondering: what will Google think of next? Cardboard?") seemed a little too ridiculous to be true. And if you clicked around enough on the site, Google conceded: "As you may have guessed, Gmail Paper is not a real product or feature of Gmail. No, we don't plan on sending you boxes and boxes of your email in hard copy form."
On April 1, 1998, New Mexicans for Science and Reason
sent out a newsletter explaining that the Alabama legislature had voted to change the value of Pi
from 3.1415(9265... etc) to the more pure, Biblical value of 3.0. The article quickly hit the internet and people went ballistic. Calls flooded into Alabama's legislative offices protesting the change.
The mastermind behind the prank, Mark Boslough
drew inspiration for the prank from the same state's call to curb the teaching of evolution in schools. The prank succeeded by drawing attention to the absurdity of the proposed legislation.
How's that for revenge of the nerds?!
In 1998, Southpaws were in for a real treat. Burger King published a full page ad in USA Today
announcing the creation of the 'Left-Handed Whopper'
. They explained that the new Whopper would be the same, except "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."
The next day, thousands of brilliant Lefties showed up to try their new favorite burger. Unfortunately, they were turned away.
On April 1st, 1976, British astronomer Patrick Moore took to the BBC radio waves to make an out-of-this-world announcement. At 9:47, he explained, Jupiter, Pluto, and the Earth would align
. This rare occurrence would interfere with Earth's gravity and people would weigh less.
Obviously, this was total bullsh*t. But people totally bought it.
At exactly 9:47, Moore instructed listeners to "Jump now!" to experience a brief floating sensation. Within a minute, dozens called into the radio station to recount their experience of levity. One caller said she and her husband floated around the room, another said that she and her eleven friends had risen out of their chairs, and another really pushed his luck, claiming that he'd risen so quickly that he'd hit his head on the ceiling. *SMH*
In 1957, a British news program set the bar high for epic April Fools pranks. They managed to convince hundreds of people that spaghetti could grow on trees
These BBC broadcasters pulled out all the stops. Prior to April 1st, they went to Switzerland to film a segment about the great spaghetti harvest, which was made possible by the "virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil." They placed cooked pasta on tree branches and filmed local girls pulling the pasta off the branches and placing it in baskets.
After airing the segment, the station got bombarded with phone calls asking how to grow a spaghetti tree. Before the broadcast ended for the night, the anchors confessed to the prank. Nevertheless, calls continued to roll in demanding information about growing spaghetti. BBC operators grew frustrated and responding to every call with, "Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."
In 1996, the geniuses that brought us the Crunch Wrap Supreme and the Waffle Taco
pulled off a prank that has yet to be topped. On April 1st, Taco Bell took out a full page ad in six major American newspapers
. They claimed that they had purchased the bell to "reduce the country's debt". In a separate press release they elaborated, "Taco Bell's heritage and imagery have revolved around the symbolism of the bell. Now we've got the crown jewel of bells."
Needless to say, people freaked the @#$% out. Both the Taco Bell headquarters and National Park Service in Philadelphia received a flood of complaints. The response was so great that Taco Bell issued another press release at noon admitting to the joke.