April 1, 2021
I continue to marvel at what I consider to be the best April Fools Day prank of all-time: the 1957 BBC report on the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland (which can be viewed here), which fooled even staffers at the Beeb.
On April 1, 1950, Norway’s largest newspaper, Aftenposten, announced on its front page that the government-owned Wine Monopoly had received a large shipment of wine in barrels from France, but it had run out of bottles. So to get rid of all the extra wine, they were running a one-day sale, selling the wine at 75% off and tax-free. The catch was that buyers had to bring their own containers to put the wine in. “Buckets, pitchers, and the like” were recommended. Hundreds of people, many carrying buckets, lined up that day to get the cheap wine.
On April 1, 1965, Politiken — Denmark’s largest newspaper — ran a story that the government was going to require all dogs to be painted white, the better to see them at night, you see.
On April 1, 1981, London’s Daily Mail ran a story about an unfortunate Japanese long-distance runner, Kimo Nakajimi, who had entered the London Marathon but, on account of a translation error, thought that he had to run for 26 days, not 26 miles. The story indicated he was still running as the paper went to press.
Not bad, but no “spaghetti harvest” in the lot.