It’s hard to say when exactly April Fools was created, but one of the most popular theories comes from 16th century France.
The original Julian calendar was used by most of Europe and celebrated the New Year on or around April 1, and when in 1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduced the new Gregorian calendar, the New Year changed to January 1.
France quickly adopted the new calendar, but some citizens stubbornly refused to practice the new date. These traditionalists were picked on for their old fashioned ways and considered fools, and often had tricks played on them.
In 2017 we celebrate April 1 by taking a look back at some of the best April Fools pranks from 1957 all the way up to 2016!
1. April 1, 1957: By far one of the most hilarious April Fools pranks ever has to be this one. The BBC’s highly regarded current affairs program Panorama aired a program featuring a family from Ticino, Switzerland carrying out their annual harvest … of their spaghetti plantation.
It showed workers picking strands of spaghetti from ‘spaghetti trees’ and laying them out to dry. The program claimed the end of March is a very difficult time for spaghetti harvesters as frosts killed the spaghetti before it could be harvested. The programs viewers became extremely concerned and called the BBC to find out where they could get their own spaghetti bushes!
While you might be scratching your head as to how so many people believed this, we have to tell you that in 1957 spaghetti was uncommon and considered a delicacy in the UK!You can watch the two minute program for yourself here
2. April 1, early 1970s: ABC current affairs program This Day Tonight ran a story claiming the Sydney Opera house was sinking into the harbour. The report included interviews with ‘experts’ and even showed scuba divers examining the foundations. A very believable story if you happened to forget what the date was!
3. April 1, 1978: Well-known entrepreneur Dick Smith announced he had successfully towed an iceberg into the Sydney Harbour all the way from the Antarctic. He claimed he was going to carve it into small ice cubes and sell them to the public as “Dicksicles”, promising they would improve the flavour of any drink. As the iceberg made its way into the harbour, radio stations provided coverage of the scene, and people began getting excited. That is, until it started to rain and the firefighting foam and shaving cream used to make the ‘iceberg’ washed away to reveal the white plastic sheet underneath!
4. April 1, 1984: One of the more bizarre Aprils Fools pranks has to be the case of the Tasmanian Rock Walrus. The Orlando Sentinel, a paper in Florida, ran a story about the wonderful must-have pet from the state of Tasmania in Australia, the Tasmanian Rock Walrus. These creatures were said to be ten centimetres long, resembled a walrus, had the temperament of a hamster, purred like a cat and ate cockroaches. They even used a litter box!
Dozens of readers called the Sentinel asking how they could a Tasmanian Rock Walrus of their own!
The paper also featured a picture of the so-called Rock Walrus, which was actually a picture of naked mole rat. Why anyone would want a creature that resembled the naked mole rat we have no idea!
5. April 1, 2005: Virgin Money Australia published a media release announcing its new scratch’n’sniff credit card. The aroma was said to embody the spirit of Australia, and would be that of the classic Aussie barbequed sausage.
Virgin Money said Aussie travelers could give their credit card a sniff and be reminded of home while overseas. Virgin Money said they expected the cards to be very popular amongst Australians travelling overseas seeking the smell of home!
6. April 1, 2010: Camera corporation Kodak shared the invention of the first smell-capturing camera. Rather than just imaging how a flower or food might smell, these incredible new devices could actually capture the smell like a photograph. A doctor Harold Museau said there had been recent breakthroughs in Neuro-Optic-Nasal-Sense Imaging, often referred to as ‘NONSense’. While it really was complete ‘nonsense’, a smell capturing camera would be pretty fantastic!
You can watch the video of Doctor Harold Museau explaining ‘aromatography’ right here:
7. April 1, 2011: The Brisbane Times published a lengthy article that plans were in place to create the next mode of public transport: the amphibious bus!
The plan was apparently discussed by state and council transport representatives and could cut down on travel time for commuters. The buses had been successfully trialled in Scotland and can traverse both land and water!
There were even facts included such as the travel speed of eight knots (15km/h).
You can read the article for yourself right here
8. April 1, 2015: Discount deals company Groupon gave one lucky member of the public a chance to get their hands on ex-Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s “unwashed” budgie smugglers! The “freshly worn” and “salt-encrusted” budgie smugglers were being auctioned off and a portion of the profits would be spent on training interior executives in “job skills, such as floor scrubbing and polishing.” The winner also received a framed certificate of authenticity.
9. April 1, 2016: New South Wales police issued a media release exploring the capabilities of the Australian Magpie for use in law enforcement.
If the Avian Policing Response and Intelligence Liaison, or APRIL, testing was a success, these birds could become the police forces latest species of working animal to fight crime!
We’re not sure how many people believed this, but out of all these April Fools pranks it does seem the most believable!
10. April 1, 2016: Qantas finally put to rest the nagging issue of the ‘U’ after ‘Q’ rule.
They released this image claiming they were changing the spelling of ‘Qantas’ to ‘Quantas’. Seems legit to us!
For those interested, Qantas is an acronym for ‘Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial’, the airlines original name.