April Fool’s Day

April Fool's Day

May the gullible beware! The centuries-old tradition of playing pranks on the first day of April causes quite the ruckus each year. It’s that glorious day when telling fibs is not only allowed, but encouraged! And while we are tempted (oh, so tempted) to join in the fun, we decided instead to take a retro look at some of the clever pop culture hoaxes from the past.

Here are five of our particular April Fool’s Day favorites:

1) The Taco Liberty Bell – In 1996, Taco Bell announced, via a full-page ad in seven major newspapers, that they had purchased the Liberty Bell. Furthermore, they were going to rename it the “Taco Liberty Bell.” Thousands angrily protested the purchase before the fast food chain finally fessed up that the entire thing was a hoax.

2) Left-handed Whopper – In 2007, Burger King UK displayed their own fast-food-foolery by announcing the introduction of the left-handed Whopper. From their fake press release:

The UK’s most preferred hamburger will still consist of lettuce, onions, pickles, mayonnaise, ketchup and four-ounce flame-grilled hamburger patty, but the sandwich has been re-designed to fit more comfortably in the left hand. This will result in fewer condiment ‘spills’ for left-handed hamburger lovers.

The new Left-Handed Whopper will have all the condiments rotated 180 degrees, thereby redistributing the weight of the sandwich so that the bulk of them skew to the left.

Surprisingly, many people fell for this, and some even demanded the return of the right-handed version.

3) Sidd Finch – In 1985, there was a story in Sports Illustrated about an astounding new pitcher that could throw a fastball 168 mph. Trained in a Buddhist monastery, he would soon be on the mound at Shea Stadium. The article, written by none other than George Plimpton, fooled plenty of Mets fans with this gem.

4) Comic Strip Switcheroo – In 1997, a number of comic strip writers and artists conspired to fool their followers by switching comic strips. For example, the writers/artists of Blondie and Garfield traded places, as did those responsible for Family Circus and Dilbert. Meanwhile, the rest of the world stared at their funny pages that morning, realizing that something wasn’t quite right.

5) Tauntaun Sleeping Bag – A couple of years ago, the folks over at ThinkGeek.com announced the arrival of the Tauntaun sleeping bag, based on that infamous scene from The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke is saved from freezing by being placed in the belly of the beastly tauntaun. The interesting thing about this hoax, is that it was really a ploy to see if there was an interest for such an item. You can read all about it here.

So, now that we’ve presented some of our favorite April Fool’s Day hoaxes, it is your turn. Share you memories of some of you best-remember pranks in our comments section, as we celebrate April Fool’s Day here at Retroland.

3 Responses to “April Fool’s Day”

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  1. Pablo says:

    The BBC ran the best prank in 1957 with a news article about the spaghetti harvest in Italy. The newsreel showed happy peasants on ladders plucking globs of cooked spaghetti from trees and loading up carts headed for market. Stations in Britain received over 50,000 calls from gullibles wanting to know where to buy a young tree for their garden.

  2. Gina says:

    I remember one April Fool’s Day, Pat Sajak hosted Jeopardy, and Alex Trebek hosted Wheel of Fortune.

    One year, I bought presents for my parents. I gave Dad a half naked, talking Ronald Reagan doll (he’s not a Reagan fan). I got Mom a spatula–the idea was from the “Spatula City” ad in Weird Al’s UHF movie.

  3. Emily says:

    When I was a kid, my parents told me and my brother that April Fool’s Day only lasted until noon. I believed that until I was 21 or so, at which time I mentioned it in passing during a normal dinnertime conversation when I was home from uni for Christmas break or something, and my mom told me, “Oh, yeah, we just made that up because we didn’t want you and Dave pranking and tormenting each other all day long.” She had a valid point, because most of our pranks were either really stupid (like pouring water on each other, or doing the “hand-in-warm-water-while-sleeping” trick), or dangerous, like the time my brother tried to feed my dad an apple with staples in it. We weren’t horrible kids; he was maybe five or six when he did that, and he didn’t understand how dangerous it was.

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