I don’t appreciate the silly jokes, where people pin signs saying “Kick Me!” on someone’s back, or fill the sugar bowl with salt. But I do like the clever pranks, which hurt no-one but cause a wry smile.
I am too young to remember the spaghetti harvest which Richard Dimbleby brought to the nation in 1957, on the BBC’s Panorama. He was such a respected broadcaster, that most people did not suspect he was making it all up
I do remember being at school in 1972, discussing the Loch Ness Monster. The great naturalist Sir Peter Scott [son of Scott of the Antarctic] had given it a proper Latin name - Nessiteras Rhombopteryx (which meant "the Ness wonder with a diamond fin"). But London newspapers soon pointed out that if you juggled around the letters in this name, you got the phrase "monster hoax by Sir Peter S."
And in 1976, whilst a student, I listened to Patrick Moore, the venerable astronomer, on BBC Radio 2, urging everyone to jump! Moore announced that at 9.47 am, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur: Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment which reduce the Earth's gravity. Moore informed listeners that if they could jump at the exact moment that this event occurred, they would experience a temporary floating sensation. The BBC received many telephone calls from listeners alleging that they actually experienced the sensation.
My Dad admitted afterwards that he was listening on his car radio, and actually considered pulling into a lay-by and getting out to try jumping, but fortunately thought better of it!
One of the best April Fool’s hoaxes I came across was perpetrated by a colleague in the first school where I taught. He was teaching A Level Geography, and told his 6th form students they were going to have a lesson about the Economics Of Swiss Garden Gnome Industry. He showed loads of pictures and presented charts and graphs, demonstrating how the traditional hand carved wooden gnomes of Switzerland were losing their place in the world market because of the massive influx of cheap plastic gnomes from Japan. And a dozen otherwise intelligent pupils fell for it, and went away to write an essay for their homework.
I always considered this guy a brilliant, inspiring teacher. But he left the profession and went into industry!
As a family obsessed with all things typographical, this one is also a favourite. If you don’t know about this idyllic spot, check it out!
I hope somebody comes up with a good one this year [and I will am quite likely to fall for it]
What’s been your best April Fool experience?