Today as is noted in the title is April Fools Day.  In other countries it is called All Fools Day.  While not a National Holiday it is a day when pranks are played on our friends and family.  Until I did some research into this day I was unaware it was more than simply a silly American joke day.  It is worldwide.  In Italy, France and Belgium paper fish are attached to people’s backs as other’s shout “April Fish” in their own language of course.

Canterbury Tales (1392) had the first recorded association between April 1 and pranks.  Others tie it to Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century.

I thought the War of the Worlds broadcast happened on April Fools Day and was surprised and interested to discover it in fact was a Halloween Trick in 1938.  Wikipedia tells the full story.

The War of the Worlds is an episode of the American radio drama anthology series The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was performed as a Halloweenepisode of the series on October 30, 1938, and aired over the Columbia Broadcasting System radio network. Directed and narrated by actor and future filmmaker Orson Welles, the episode was an adaptation of H. G. Wells‘s novel The War of the Worlds (1898).

The first two thirds of the 60-minute broadcast were presented as a series of simulated news bulletins, which suggested to many listeners that an actual alien invasion by Martians was currently in progress. Compounding the issue was the fact that, the Mercury Theatre on the Air was a sustaining show (it ran without commercial breaks), adding to the program’s realism. Although there were sensationalist accounts in the press about a supposed panic in response to the broadcast, the precise extent of listener response has been debated.

In the days following the adaptation, however, there was widespread outrage and panic by certain listeners, who had believed the events described in the program were real.[1] The program’s news-bulletin format was described as cruelly deceptive by some newspapers and public figures, leading to an outcry against the perpetrators of the broadcast. Despite these complaints, the episode secured Welles’ fame as a dramatist.

It was fun to look further into April Fools Day.  I found a number of sites that catalogued pranks.  One of my favorites that I found was:


It listed 100 top hoaxes.

In among this list were some really funny and clever ideas.   Number 100 was sort of a dud I thought as it dealt with addressing mail in the British Union.  The street number was going to be more like Germany as coming after the street not before.  I think that hoax did not even need to make the list!

In 2008 the BBC topped the aforementioned by an announcement that they saw flying Penguins going thousands of miles to South America.  In 1972 the Yorkshire Zoological Society announced they had found the body of “Nessie”.  In 1992 NPR’s Talk of the Nation announced that Richard Nixon was going to run for President again.  Rich Little did the voice over.

Taco Bell announced in 1996 that the Liberty Bell was going to be renamed the Taco Liberty Bell.  One year Burger King offered a Left Handed Whopper.  May of 1990 Augusta National came out with the fact that on April 1 that year they were going to become a public course.

I liked #35 that said that as of April 1, 1980 Big Ben was going to add a digital feed.  Number 92 was a radio announcer telling all of Los Angeles that the roads were going to be closed for repairs on April 1st!  The clever British were at it again with #22 as their Tesco supermarket chain introduced a genetically modified carrot that grew with tapered holes and would whistle as it was cooked.

And as they say on TV……..and the #1 top Hoax from the 100 Best Hoax website is:


#1: The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

On 1 April 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees. Huge numbers of viewers were taken in. Many called the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. To this the BBC diplomatically replied, “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best”.

As for me this April Fools Day I am in a car wending my way back from MO to MD with our three treasures in the back seat!  Three kids aged 13, 10 and 8 on a 15 hr trip may be the most foolish yet!  I love it!!!


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