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The E-Sylum:  Volume 8, Number 14, April 3, 2005, Article 21

APRIL FOOL'S PRANKS

The rumor-debunking web site, Snopes.com, compiled a
list of well-known April Fools pranks from years past. My
favorites include Burger King's "Left-Handed Whopper".
Another amusing one:

"Arguably the best media-generated April Fool's joke dates
from a Richard Dimbleby "news report" aired on 1 April 1957
on BBC's Panorama. It opened with a line about Spring coming
early that year, prompting the spaghetti harvest in Switzerland
to be early, too. Against a video backdrop of happy peasant
women harvesting spaghetti from trees, whimsical claims about
the foodstuff's cultivation were made in a straightfaced manner.
Spaghetti's oddly uniform length was explained as the result of
years of dedicated cultivation. The ravenous spaghetti weevil
which had wreaked havoc with harvests of years past had been
conquered, said the report. More than 250 viewers jammed the
BBC switchboard after the hoax aired, most of them calling in
with serious inquiries about the piece  where could they go
to watch the harvesting operation? Could they buy spaghetti
plants themselves?"

A couple have numismatic connections:
"In 1989 two police officers in Utah were suspended without
pay for a couple of days for their April Fools' Day prank of
placing invisible dye (used by police to catch criminals and
normally put on money) in restrooms in the city-county
building and the mayor's office. The colorless powder dye
turns a dark purple when it comes into contact with skin 
it's harmless but takes a while to wear off, as the mayor found
out when it turned him into a "marked man."

"In 1977 a British newspaper published a seven-page
supplement extolling the 10th anniversary of San Seriffe,
a small republic in the Indian Ocean consisting of several
semi-colon-shaped islands. Its two main islands were
Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse, its capital Bodoni, and
its leader General Pica. Readers intrigued by the purported
charm of this little-known holiday spot were disappointed
to learn the islands did not exist and the references to them
were drawn from printer's terminology."

[QUIZ: So what's the numismatic connection to the
Republic of San Seriffe?]

To read the full collection, see: Full Collection

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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