Best April Fool’s Day Jokes
Although the origins of April Fool’s Day are lost in the mists of time it is one lighthearted tradition that is alive and kicking throughout the western world, here are some of the best ever jokes…
The most famous April Fool’s trick of them all was the Swiss spaghetti harvest, as documented in 1957 by Panorama. A young Richard Dimbleby anchored the report, which showed Swiss farmers plucking long strands of spaghetti off trees after a bumper harvest was supposedly recorded. The hoax caused thousands of viewers to phone the BBC wanting to purchase their own spaghetti trees.
Another example of the power of TV came in 1962 when a Swedish presenter announced that black-and-white sets could be transformed into colour by covering them with a nylon stocking. Hundreds of viewers were fooled but were obliged to wait another eight years until the advent of colour television programmes.
In 2006 junior footie fans were distraught to learn from Jake Humphreys on Newsround that David Beckham was no longer eligible to play for England as his parents were Scottish.
Big brands get in on the act too: BMW ran a spoof ad in 1986 about a car fitted out for driving in the UK and Europe; it had pedals on both sides, a detachable steering wheel that was both left and right hand drive, and a full set of instruments on each side.
Left Handed Hoax
Burger King advertised a Whopper with the ingredients rotated through 180 degrees especially for its 32 million left-handed American customers.
2011’s April Fool’s Day saw Richard Branson claim that he had bought Pluto and was fighting to have it reinstated as a planet so Virgin could run holidays there. Never one to resist free publicity, he stated, “This could pave the way for a new age in space tourism.”
Animals have featured extensively in famous scams. Showing that April Fool’s Day is a Europe-wide phenomenon, a Danish newspaper once reported that by law all dogs were to be painted white so they could be seen more clearly at night.
In 2008 flying penguins were apparently filmed by the BBC in Antarctica and last year an unsuspecting public heard that camera-carrying hawks would be used by the police to catch speeding motorists.
Maybe that was in reaction to the 2010 spoof that alerted residents of Wiltshire to a sponsored motorbike ride that would leave London at 10am on 1 April and pass through Swindon 15 minutes later at 500mph. So many people were taken in by that one the police were called to disperse the expectant roadside crowds.