Most Memorable April Fools Pranks

(credit: NASA/Newsmakers)
Floating A-Weigh
In 1976, BBC Radio 2 featured an astronomer who claimed that the planetary alignment was going to cause a temporary gravitational shift on Earth and that people would feel noticeably lighter, almost as though they were floating. People bought it.
(credit: NASA/Newsmakers)
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Va-Caisse-Ion
Would you want to vacation in the lovely resorts on the Upper Caisse and Lower Caisse islands? Or visit their capital city Bodoni and maybe catch a glimpse of their leader General Pica at work? Or maybe you haven't taken a closer look at the fonts available on your computer. The Guardian pulled this gag off back in 1977.
(credit: Jupiter Images)
(credit: Jupiter Images)
Short Attention Span Radio
KFOG radio in San Francisco once announced a format switch and that their new corporate ownership requested they only play the "best 15 seconds" of each song.
(credit: Jupiter Images)
(credit: Don Murray/Getty Images)
Yo Quiero Liberty Bell
Instead of running for the border, people ran to their congressional representatives when they saw an ad in the New York Times revealing that Taco Bell had purchased the Liberty Bell from a financially-ailing America and intended to rename it "Taco Liberty Bell."
(credit: Don Murray/Getty Images)
(credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
Guinness Mean Time
Beer brewers Guinness ran a press release claiming that they would be sponsoring millennial celebrations at the Old Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England. In return for the favor, they claimed GMT would mean "Guinness Mean Time" until the turn of the millennium.
(credit: Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty Images)
(credit: JONATHAN UTZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Porky Bickar's Flaming Tires
In 1974, a man lit hundreds of tires on fire in the crater of dormant volcano Mount Edgecumbe in Alaska. People saw the smoke and prepared for the worst. The joker's name was even more amusing: Porky Bickar.
(credit: JONATHAN UTZ/AFP/Getty Images)
(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
Leftie Whoppers
Ten years ago, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today announcing that they would be offering special Whoppers for lefties, which not only led to people requesting the new format burger, but also resulted in alarmed right-handed customers requesting the original version.
(credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)
(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Drinking And Computing
In 1994, PC Computing published an article claiming Congress was working on legislation that would make it illegal to use the Internet while intoxicated.
(credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images)
(credit: FABIO MUZZI/AFP/Getty Images)
A Lean Too Far
Back in the 1950s, it was reported by a Dutch television station that the Leaning Tower of Pisa had leaned just a bit too far and collapsed. Years later, the joke threatened to become a reality and in 1990 engineers worked to stabilize the structure.
(credit: FABIO MUZZI/AFP/Getty Images)
(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Wis. Capitol Explosion
Here's one from the archives. The Madison Capital-Times ran a pictorial demonstrating that the Wisconsin capitol building had exploded due to "large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers." Many readers were not amused.
(credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
(credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)
R.I.P. Bill Gates
A number of Web sites in Asia claimed, in 2003, that Microsoft CEO Bill Gates had been assassinated.
(credit: RAVEENDRAN/AFP/Getty Images)
(credit: CBS)
Backtimed Gmail
Forgot to send out an important memo? Gmail announced a new "Custom Time" feature, allowing users the ability to predate e-mail messages to 1 hour ago, last night, last week or whenever you really should have sent it.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: AP)
Metric Clocks
A recurring prank during the years that America was trying to switch over to the metric system was the claim that clocks would switch their system of hours and minutes over to units under the power of 10.
(credit: AP)
(credit: Library of Congress)
Dorothea Lange
Is nothing sacred? In 2005, Popular Photography ran an article claiming that older photographs, such as Dorothea Lange's famous 1935 photo of a Dust Bowl-era mother with her children, could use some touch-ups. They displayed an "after" shot of the mother with smoothed wrinkles and a more serene expression.
(credit: Library of Congress)
(credit: CBS)
Election Deathmatch
ESPN's Web site posted an Olympics of politically incorrect-yet-spot-on events such as the Dick Cheney skeet shooting contest, the Al Gore 20000k Eco Fun Run and the George Bush Constitutional Hurdles.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: Ely Chamber Of Commerce)
Ely, Minnesota
The Ely Chamber of Commerce Web site once announced that Canada was interested in purchasing the city, being the entryway to the Boundary Waters. They even put a petition online for people to advocate leaving the city in Minnesota. Now Ely can be expected to fool the state every year.
(credit: Ely Chamber Of Commerce)
(credit: AP)
The Mayor's Dead
An April Fools' joke that went too far, in 1998 two DJs at WAAF in Boston reported the city's mayor had been killed in a car accident. Because he was actually in an airplane and thus couldn't be reached, the rumor spread much further than it probably would've otherwise. The DJs were fired.
(credit: AP)
(credit: CBS)
Pi
In 1998, it was reported that the Alabama Legislature had voted to change the mathematical value of pi to its "Biblical value" of 3.0. Those who believed the story may have graduated with a GPA significantly lower.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: Comedy Central)
South Park
"South Park" aired a famous two-part episode about the identity of Eric Cartman's father. Part two was scheduled to air on April 1, 1998, but instead, viewers turned in only to see a half-hour episode about the flatulent cartoon characters Terrance and Phillip.
(credit: Comedy Central)
(credit: AP)
Spaghetti Tree
Some consider this one the "Citizen Kane" of April Fools' pranks. The BBC reported in 1957 that trees in Switzerland were growing spaghetti, which led to an embarrassing surfeit of calls requesting information on how they, too, could have their own pasta-sprouting plants.
(credit: AP)
(credit: AP)
Smell-O-Vision
In 1965, the BBC managed to convince a number of people they would be testing out a new "Smell-O-Vision" format. What's worse, some viewers called in to say they thought their tests were working and that they could actually smell the transmissions.
(credit: AP)
(credit: CBS)
The Finger
Nestle tricked candy bar fans announcing that Butterfinger candy bars will now be known as "The Finger."
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Virgle
Google's 2008 April Fools' joke follows this formula ... Virgin Galactic space travel + Google + Mars = Virgle, or the opportunity to take spring break on the red planet.
(credit: CBS)
(credit: CBS)
Wheel Of Fortune
"Wheel of Fortune" host Pat Sajak took over as host of "Jeopardy" in 1997, while the latter show's Alex Trebek hosted the former (with both Sajak and Vanna White appearing as contestants).
(credit: CBS)
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