12 Legendary April Fool's Pranks

Big Ben going digital? Switzerland harvesting spaghetti?
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2010 11:38 AM CDT

As you prepare whatever April Fools' Day prank you have in mind for your loved ones, take a look back at 12 classic jokes, courtesy of the Daily Beast:

  • Swiss spaghetti harvest: In 1957, the BBC aired a serious-sounding report on Switzerland’s bumper crop of pasta; hundreds fell for it and wanted to grow their own.
  • Sidd Finch: In 1985, George Plimpton dreamed up a “part yogi” pitcher who could throw a 168mph fastball, then featured him in Sports Illustrated.
  • Alabama changes Pi: A 1998 article claimed the state legislature changed the value from 3.14 to 3, because its “traditional Biblical value” is 3.
  • The Whopper for lefties: Burger King announced in 1998 it was releasing left-handed Whoppers—the same sandwich, with the condiments rotated 180 degrees.
  • MentalPlex: Google’s first annual hoax, in 2000, claimed to let users telepathically project searches instead of typing them in.

  • Thomas Edison’s food machine: A New York paper ran an article in 1878 claiming the inventor made a machine to turn dirt into cereal, among other things.
  • San Seriffe island: In 1977, the Guardian created a fictional island with a name inspired by the typography term “sans serif”; it still occasionally appears in the paper.
  • Comic strip switch: Forty-six artists participated in the Comic Strip Switcheroo in 1997, with characters mixing it up in strips not belonging to them and creators trading strips for the day.
  • Digital Big Ben: In 1980, the BBC told listeners Big Ben’s analog face would be replaced with a digital one; many were outraged.
  • Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak: The game show hosts switched places on Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy for a day in 1997.
  • Taco Bell and the Liberty Bell: The fast food giant put out an ad in seven newspapers in 1996, claiming it would be buying the historical relic and renaming it the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
  • Rickrolling: The Internet meme hit the big time in 2008, when YouTube made every featured video a link to the Rick Astley “Never Gonna Give You Up” music video.
(More April Fools' Day stories.)

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