Spaghetti grows on trees, Taco Bell has bought the Liberty Bell, and Richard Nixon ran for President in 1992.
What do these “facts” have in common?
They are some of the most famous April Fool’s pranks of the last 50 years, as collected by the Museum of Hoaxes.
In 1957, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) ran a story about a spaghetti harvest in Southern Switzerland. According to the BBC, an unusually mild winter led to the best harvest of spaghetti in the history of Switzerland. Viewers from around England called BBC to find out how to grow spaghetti in their own yard.
On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page ad in the New York Times to announce their purchase of the Liberty Bell. Taco Bell claimed that they were buying the bell to help relieve national debt.
White House spokesman Mike McCurry also mentioned that the government would be selling the Lincoln Memorial to Ford and renaming it the Lincoln-Mercury Memorial.
Even respected radio station National Public Radio has gotten into the spirit of April Fool’s pranks. In 1992, the program “Talk of the Nation” announced that Richard Nixon had announced his candidacy for president, 19 years after he resigned from the office. Callers flooded the phones with outrage over Nixon’s decision.
So if you ever read stories about the Rockies winning the World Series or CU-Boulder being named the number one school in the nation, make sure you check the date.
Mike Donovan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org