Here and in the UK and South Africa, the fun only lasts until noon, but in other countries – notably the US and Canada – the whole day is set aside for pranks and hoaxes. And there have been some spectacular ones over the years…
On 1 April 1998 the American burger chain Burger King tricked the entire American population with a newspaper advertisement introducing the new ‘Left-handed Whopper’ which was apparently made just the same as a regular Whopper but with all the condiments turned through 180 degrees especially for left-handers. So taken in were burger fans that thousands requested the left-handed Whopper at the counter, while many more asked for the right-handed version!
In 1962 the Swedish people were taken in by the announcement of a new technology that meant that black-and-white televisions could be converted to show colour programmes just by putting a stocking over the TV! Of course this was just a hoax and true colour television didn’t make its debut until 1970.
Perhaps one of the most fondly remembered April Fools’ Day jokes was carried out in 1957 by the UK’s BBC television channel which showed a spoof documentary of Swiss farmers harvesting a bumper crop of spaghetti! Viewers called in to find out where they could buy their own spaghetti tree!