1965 - Smell-o-vision, BBC
Smell-o-vision: In 1965, the BBC played an April Fool's Joke - the network aired an interview with a man who claimed that viewers at home could experience aromas produced in a TV studio. They went on to demonstrate by cutting onions and brewing coffee, then had "viewers" call in with claims they could smell these scents, thus convincing the viewers it was true
Los Banos, CA
1860 Tower of London - Lion Washing
A popular prank in London: In 1860, numerous people throughout London received an invitation "Tower of London -- Admit Bearer and Friend to view the annual ceremony of Washing the White Lions on Sunday, April 1, 1860. Admittance only at the White Gate. It is particularly requested that no gratuities be given to the wardens or attendants." By noon, crowds began to gather but of course, lions hadn't been kept in the tower for quite some time, specifically white ones. Apparently, this prank had been pulled as far back as 1698
Lawn-Mower Racing: A Sport is Born
Gold Eagle Co turned a marketing stunt into a kick-grass media event that just keeps on going. It started in 1992, when Gold Eagle announced its endeavors via national press releases. Lawn-mower racing was billed as a genuine motor-sport series culminating in two national races. Press releases focused on the offbeat nature of the sport, calling it “The Nation’s Fastest Mowing Sport.” Gold Eagle sanctioned it the U.S. Lawn Mower Racing Association (USLMRA) and people got excited. It took off and has been embraced. Amazingly, being only a marketing stunt, the folk at Gold Eagle keep asking, when will this thing run its course? And "..with mowmentum like this, who knows where the sport will end up? After all, if the trampoline and badmiton qualify as Olympic sports, lawn-mower racing isn't very far behind" says Bruce Kaufman, the self-proclaimed Mr. Mow-It-All and current president of the USLMRA
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Burger King's Left-Handed Whopper
In 1998, fast food giant Burger King posted a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing that they were releasing the "Left-Handed Whopper" for 32 million left handed Americans. The only difference was that the new burger's condiments were rotated at a 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." Jim Watkins, senior vice president for marketing at Burger King, was quoted as saying that the new sandwich was the "ultimate 'HAVE IT YOUR WAY' for our left-handed customers." Check out the press release: PR Newswire UK
So, A guy invented a left-handed hammer. Didn't Sell. No left-handed nails
1999 Y2k CD Bug
In 1999, Warner Music and Universal Music Group along with a popular Canadian radio station informed it's listeners that the Y2K bug would affect all CD players making music discs created prior to 2000 unreadable. Fortunately, a Hologram sticker was available to enable the old-format discs to continue working. The stickers could be purchased for $2 and immediately the phones became jammed both at the record companies and radio station, and everyone was demanding these stickers for free! The calls continued even after the radio station announced it was a joke.
the Herald-News in Roscommon Michigan reported that 3 of the northern Michigan lakes had been selected for "an in-depth study into the breeding and habits of several species of fresh-water sharks" because 2,000 sharks were released into the lakes including hammerheads, blue and great whites sharks to see if they can survive the bitter cold climate of this region. A rep from the National Biological Foundation was quoted to say "the sharks will eat about 20 pounds of fish each per day, more as they get older". The article also mentioned that County officials protested the experiment but the complaints were ignored by the federal government. They also claimed that fishermen were forbidden capturing or catching the sharks. the Herald-News received many letters... go figure.
1989 Fools: Telnet Subliminal-Message Option
Someone had too much time on their hands and went to geeky lengths to creat an RFC that provides details to set a standard for the internet community. It's detailed, but if you really read it, it's hillarious. The best is the Acknowledgement: "We do things just a little sneakier here at CMU" Check it out, yourself: TELNET Subliminal-Message Option
1989 April Fools Called Off.
The Scientific Computing division I guess had enough - check out this message that was sent 4-1-89, April Fools Day Called Off. I guess they just had enough.
Mark Twain's very short article about the discovery of a perfectly preserved petrified man appeared in the Territorial Enterprise on October 4, 1862, a local newspaper for Virginia City. The story provided some obscure details and location of where it was found - in a local mountain cave - a location that even the locals should have known did not exist but none the less, everyone fell for it. The article did contain one prominent clue that, for careful readers, should have identified it immediately as a farce. The position of the Petrified Man’s hands were described as arranged in a gesture of ridicule. But the gesture was too obliquely described.
For months the hoax continued to spread, appearing in numerous newspapers, eventually making it to newspapers around the world. An expedition was almost taken up to recover the fake fossil before the prank was revealed. As W. C. Fields said: There's a sucker born every minute. Red Twain's article of the Petrified Man
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