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10 April Fools' Day Gags You May Have Missed

10 April Fools' Day Gags You May Have Missed

Vicki Santillano | DivineCaroline

March 31, 2011

On April 1, it’s safe to say that a number of odd things will happen: fake snakes will pop out of cans innocently labeled “Nuts,” whoopee cushions will noisily deflate beneath unsuspecting derrieres, and countless phone calls will be made concerning the status of people’s refrigerators.

You can’t trust anyone on April Fools’ Day, least of all the people closest to you, like friends and coworkers. But tricks can come from unlikely sources, too, like your daily newspaper or favorite TV program. Making April fools out of audiences has become increasingly popular among the media and big companies, but some hoaxes are so creative and hilarious, they make the others look, well, foolish.

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest, 1957
On a broadcast of the BBC news show Panorama, anchor Richard Dimbleby introduced a story about a particularly successful harvest in Switzerland that year. Video footage showed workers in the spaghetti fields, talking about how the mild winter and eradication of the dastardly “spaghetti weevil” yielded especially thriving pasta crops. According to, the BBC was flooded with inquiries from viewers about how to grow their own spaghetti plants. Only then did they find out that the BBC was having a laugh at their expense.

San Serriffe, the Hottest New Holiday Spot, 1977
The Guardian fooled almost all of its readers with a seven-page spread about a fictitious collection of islands in the Indian Ocean called San Serriffe. The articles detailed the history, culture, and geography of the islands, including the two main ones, Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse. Even advertisers like Texaco, Guinness, and Kodak got in on the joke; the latter actually offered readers the chance to win a vacation to San Serriffe’s Cocobanana Beach. But the Guardian had to fess up after receiving numerous calls and letters about the phony destination.

Big Ben Switches from Analog to Digital, 1980
You’d think the Spaghetti Harvest prank would’ve taught audiences not to trust the BBC on April 1, but the network successfully struck again twenty-three years later, reporting that London’s famous clock tower would move into modern times by going digital. BBC Japan continued the joke by telling viewers the first four people to call in to the show could buy the clock hands.

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