Thursday, March 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #8

Thirteen Things I find interesting about April fools day (or rather pranks that were played on April fools day) All found at Oh... and can I just admit right now that I am one of the most gullible person ever!

1…. Internet Spring Cleaning In 1997 an email message spread throughout the world announcing that the Internet would be shut down for cleaning for twenty-four hours from March 31 until April 2. This cleaning was said to be necessary to clear out the "electronic flotsam and jetsam" that had accumulated in the network. Dead email and inactive ftp, www, and gopher sites would be purged. The cleaning would be done by "five very powerful Japanese-built multi-lingual Internet-crawling robots (Toshiba ML-2274) situated around the world." During this period, users were warned to disconnect all devices from the Internet. The message supposedly originated from the "Interconnected Network Maintenance Staff, Main Branch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology." This joke was an updated version of an old joke that used to be told about the phone system. For many years, gullible phone customers had been warned that the phone systems would be cleaned on April Fool's Day. They were cautioned to place plastic bags over the ends of the phone to catch the dust that might be blown out of the phone lines during this period.

2.... Arm the Homeless In 1999 the Phoenix New Times ran a story announcing the formation of a new charity to benefit the homeless. There was just one catch. Instead of providing the homeless with food and shelter, this charity would provide them with guns and ammunition. It was named 'The Arm the Homeless Coalition.' The story received coverage from 60 Minutes II, the Associated Press, and numerous local radio stations before everyone realized it was a joke. The Phoenix New Times's joke was actually a reprise of a 1993 prank perpetrated by students at Ohio State University.

3.... The Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe In 1974 residents of Sitka, Alaska were alarmed when the long-dormant volcano neighboring them, Mount Edgecumbe, suddenly began to belch out billows of black smoke. People spilled out of their homes onto the streets to gaze up at the volcano, terrified that it was active again and might soon erupt. Luckily it turned out that man, not nature, was responsible for the smoke. A local practical joker named Porky Bickar had flown hundreds of old tires into the volcano's crater and then lit them on fire, all in a (successful) attempt to fool the city dwellers into believing that the volcano was stirring to life. According to local legend, when Mount St. Helens erupted six years later, a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, "This time you've gone too far!"

4.... Instant Color TV In 1962 there was only one TV channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in black and white. The station's technical expert, Kjell Stensson, appeared on the news to announce that thanks to a newly developed technology, all viewers could now quickly and easily convert their existing sets to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over their TV screen, and they would begin to see their favorite shows in color. Stensson then proceeded to demonstrate the process. Reportedly, hundreds of thousands of people, out of the population of seven million, were taken in. Actual color TV transmission only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.

5.... The Taco Liberty Bell In 1996 the Taco Bell Corporation announced that it had bought the Liberty Bell from the federal government and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called up the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell is housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed that it was all a practical joke a few hours later. The best line inspired by the affair came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale, and he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold, though to a different corporation, and would now be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

6.... The Left-Handed Whopper In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."

7.... MITkey Mouse On April 1, 1998 the homepage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced some startling news: the prestigious university was to be sold to Walt Disney Co. for $6.9 billion. A photograph of the university's famous dome outfitted with a pair of mouse ears accompanied the news. The press release explained that the university was to be dismantled and transported to Orlando where new schools would be added to the campus including the School of Imagineering, the Scrooge McDuck School of Management, and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics. The fact that the announcement appeared on MIT's homepage added official credibility to it. But in fact, the announcement was the work of students who had hacked into the school's central server and replaced the school's real web page with a phony one.

8.... PETA’s Tournament of Sleeping Fish In 2000 the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) warned that it planned to sabotage the bass fishing tournament in East Texas's Lake Palestine by releasing tranquilizers into the lake before the tournament. Their announcement stated that "this year, the fish will be napping, not nibbling." State officials took the threat seriously and stationed rangers around the lake in order to stop any tranquilizer-toting PETA activists from drugging the fish, and numerous newspapers reported the threat. Eventually PETA admitted that it had been joking.

9.... Kokomo Police Cut Costs In 1959 the Kokomo Tribune, based in Indiana, announced that the city police had devised a plan to cut costs and save money. According to this plan, the police station would close each night from 6 pm to 6 am An answering machine would record all calls made to the station during this time, and these calls would be screened by an officer in the morning. The police reportedly anticipated that the screening process would save the city a great deal of money, since many of the calls would be old by the morning and would not need to be answered. A spokesman for the police admitted that "there will be a problem on what to do in the case of a woman who calls in and says her husband has threatened to shoot her or some member of the family." But in such a situation, the spokesman explained, "We will check the hospitals and the coroner, and if they don't have any record of any trouble, then we will know that nothing happened."

10.... Eiffel Tower Moves The Parisien stunned French citizens in 1986 when it reported that an agreement had been signed to dismantle the Eiffel Tower. The international symbol of French culture would then be reconstructed in the new Euro Disney theme park going up east of Paris. In the space where the Tower used to stand, a 35,000 seat stadium would be built for use during the 1992 Olympic Games.

11.... Virgin Cola’s Blue Cans In 1996 Virgin Cola announced that in the interest of consumer safety it had integrated a new technology into its cans. When the cola passed its sell-by date, the liquid would react with the metal in the can, turning the can itself bright blue. Virgin warned that consumers should therefore avoid purchasing all blue cans. The joke was that Pepsi had recently unveiled its newly designed cans. They were bright blue.

This next one is from my mom! My mom is the cruelest April Fools prankster ever! She looks so small, cute and sweet... but April 1st brings out the devil in her. Ever single year she would pull something... and I always fell/fall for it. For the past couple of years I have instructed my husband that we will no longer pick up the phone on this day!

12.... One year my mom woke me up at 6am... I was like 18 - 6am is not a time you see much at that age. She stormed into my room screaming "Honey, oh my God! Why did you park your car that way - so close to the end of the driveway? Someone just hit your NEW car and drove off!" Of course I leap out of bed in a panic... running outside to the driveway wearing only my pajama's... already near tears! But of course when I get there my car is fine... my mother however can't stop laughing! Not funny mom!

This one is from one of my co-workers - who was my boss a couple of years ago. You would think that a boss wouldn't pull a prank... yeah right!

13.... I worked for The Gap for a while and one of the coolest perks working there was that each time you celebrated an anniversary you received a gift from Tiffany's - yeah, cool huh? Anyways, one April fools my boss comes storming out of the office frantically shaking her head. Of course, me being the fool and caring person say "Oh my God! What's wrong?" She, still shaking her head throws a memo in my direction and says "We're no longer going to get a Tiffany gift. They say it's too expensive, and that they are changing companies. Now were going to get gifts from Oliver Jewelers!" - Everyone in Canada knows who this is... the guy on TV that says I pay you for your used gold! Yeah, I was upset by the news the entire day... storming around in disbelief, before she finally confessed that it was a joke. Yeah, real funny!

Have any good April fools to share?

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Wylie Kinson said...

You've got me thinking... What can I do this year to mess with my children?? bwahahaha

Vicky said...

Wylie - for some reason... no matter how many times or how expectant I am of my mom pulling a prank - I'll still believe her! Something about mom's lying (joking) that makes you not believe they are capable of such a thing! :)

Angela/SciFiChick said...

Too funny! I live near Kokomo, and I never heard that.

Emma Wayne Porter said...

Taco Liberty Bell... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahaahahaa

What a great list.

I'm sorry, but I'm gonna squirrel #12 away and perpetrate it on my munchkins when the time comes.

Moms are so evil. Too funny.

Christine said...

ROFL!!!! I remember the Internet cleaning one. My husband and I laughed at that for days.

Joely Sue Burkhart said...

I've never heard of these pranks. Since most of them are relatively recent, I must have my head stuck in the sand!

Elle Fredrix said...

LOL. The first one is hysterical! And the dust part out of the phone at the end. LOL

And the last one. I feel your pain! I'm in T.O. so I see the Oliver's commercials all the time. Olivers instead of Tiffany? That's just cruel!

Annie said...

I almost did a TT on this. Saw an awesome list on Yahoo! this morning (that had some of the same ones on this list). I told my coworkers that I'm glad April 1 is on a Sunday so they can't get me. I'm so gullible.

Happy TT!

Rene said...

Those are so funny. Loved them. April 1st I tell my dh I'm pregnant. One year I did it and less than a month later I found out I was. OOPS.

PresentStorm said...

a left handed whopper????!!

these were too funny thanks for sharing... I haven't heard of so many of these. I think it is funny big corporations have played practical jokes like

Thanks for sharing and Happy TT

Amy Ruttan said...

No alas I was unable to preform pranks. I thought it would be funny once when I was a kid to prank call my parents. I didn't know you couldn't call your own number from your own phone. *sigh*

Great list. Happy TT, you crazy girl you! ;)

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm thinking that the kids this year are old enough to muck with... Thanks for the inspirations!

And thanks, too, for dropping by West of Mars. You know I love visitors!

Anonymous said...

Oh my, those are hilarious! I'm gonna have to think of some April Fool pranks to pull this year... *evil chortle* bwahahaha...

Happy TT to you!

Michelle said...

Those are hilarious! Except I'm Canadian and have never heard of Oliver's Jewellers. Maybe it's an Eastern thing?

Happy TT!

Raggedy said...

Those were funny!
Terrific Thursday Thirteen!
Thank you for your visit.
Have a wonderful day!
Happy TT'ing!
(")_ (")Š

Di said...

And then there's the curious case of Sid Finch:
Perhaps the best April Fools ever!