04-02-2016 Journal–April Fool’s Day!   Leave a comment

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‘BELATED’

For the first time in many years I made it through an April Fool’s Day without being tricked or screwed with.  I’ve never really understood why a specific prank day is necessary when everyday has potential for it.

The normal pranks that I’ve experienced were simple gags or tricks made by my ever so simple friends and workmates.  Fortunately I was never subjected to anything too complicated for the most part.

I decided to list a few pranks played by individuals and companies that have become legends.  To this day it still amazes me just how gullible the public can be when confronted with an obviously false story.  Like P.T. Barnum always said "There’s a sucker born every minute". Let’s start with the famous Taco Bell entry.

The Taco Liberty Bell

April 1, 1996: The Taco Bell Corporation took out a full-page ad that appeared in six major newspapers announcing it had bought the Liberty Bell and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a few hours later, that it was all a practical joke. The best line of the day came when White House press secretary Mike McCurry was asked about the sale. Thinking on his feet, he responded that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold. It would now be known, he said, as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.

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The Sydney Iceberg

April 1, 1978: A barge towing a giant iceberg appeared in Sydney Harbor.  Dick Smith, a local adventurer and millionaire businessman, had been loudly promoting his scheme to tow an iceberg from Antarctica for quite some time. Now he had apparently succeeded. He said that he was going to carve the berg into small ice cubes, which he would sell to the public for ten cents each. These well-traveled cubes, fresh from the pure waters of Antarctica, were promised to improve the flavor of any drink they cooled. Slowly the iceberg made its way into the harbor. Local radio stations provided blow-by-blow coverage of the scene. Only when the berg was well into the harbor was its secret revealed. It started to rain, and the firefighting foam and shaving cream that the berg was really made of washed away, uncovering the white plastic sheets beneath.

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Burger King’s Left Handed Whopper

April 1, 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." Left-handed products of various kinds are actually an old joke on April first, but Burger King’s announcement quickly became, by far, the most famous version of the joke.

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The Body of Nessie of Loch Ness Fame Found

April 1, 1972: Newspapers around the world reported the sensational news that the dead body of the Loch Ness Monster had been found. A team of zoologists from Yorkshire’s Flamingo Park Zoo had come across it while working at the Loch. The researchers tried to take the Nessie corpse back to Yorkshire, but Scottish police promptly stopped them, citing an old law that made it illegal to remove "unidentified creatures" from Loch Ness. However, subsequent examination of the creature determined that it wasn’t actually Nessie. Instead, it was a large bull elephant seal from the South Atlantic. But how had it gotten to Loch Ness? This was revealed the next day when the Flamingo Park’s education officer, John Shields, confessed responsibility. The seal had died the week before at Dudley Zoo. He had shaved off its whiskers, padded its cheeks with stones, and kept it frozen for a week, before surreptitiously dumping it in the Loch, intending to play an April Fool’s prank on his colleagues. He admitted the joke got somewhat out of hand when the police became involved.

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Not only are we Americans gullible, apparently everyone else on this planet is as well. I can’t wait to see future prank offerings that are sure to be accepted hook, line, and sinker by many of us stupid human beings. 

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