It’s April Fools’ Day – Trust No One
Long time listeners of the Morning Waking Crew know that we don’t participate in April Fools’ pranks. We’re above that sort of thing. Plus, the last time we pulled a prank was in 2002 when we changed the station format to all-disco for a morning and so many people bought the ridiculous premise that we wound up responding to e-mails and hate letters until about Mother’s Day! But we respect a good prank, and here are some classics…
• In the 1980s, Joseph Boskin, a professor at Boston University, told an Associated Press reporter that the holiday began during the reign of Constantine I in the Roman Empire in the third and fourth centuries. Boskin said that it started when a group of court jesters told the emperor they could do his job better than he could. Constantine decided to play along and allow one of the jesters, Kugel, to run the empire for one day, April 1. Kugel then decreed that the day would be forevermore devoted to absurdity. Unfortunately, the countless newspapers who ran with the story Boskin gave them soon learned that they had been made the fools. He had made the story up as a prank, and “kugel” was just the name of an eastern European meal that his friend had a craving for.
• Google Nose BETA – Google promoted a new product — Google Nose BETA — that would help users search for smells.
• Great Moon Hoax – Hoaxes are nothing new and some of the older ones are the best. In 1835, the New York Sun published a long article by famous British astronomer, Sir John Herschel, where Herschel announced he had discovered life on the moon. Herschel, much to his chagrin, found out later that such discoveries were attributed to him.
• Taco Liberty Bell – In 1996, Taco Bell announced through advertisements in six major newspapers that the company would do its part to help the pay the national debt. The method? Buying the Liberty Bell and renaming the landmark the “Taco Liberty Bell.”
• Burger King Left-Handed Whopper – Not to be outdone, Burger King UK advertised the fast food-chain would serve a left-handed Whopper to better serve the 10 percent or so of the population who primarily use their left hand. The 1998 company news release noted the new burgers was designed to fit more comfortably in a lefties’ hand and create fewer spills.
• The Sexiest Man Alive – The People’s Daily, a Chinese daily newspaper, lauded Kim Jong-un after an American publication named him the sexiest man alive. But the initial ranking came from The Onion, a satirical newspaper. Previous winners for The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive award include Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff and Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.
• Google Treasure Maps – Google announced it found the lost treasure map of William “Captain” Kidd and would put the map online to help search for treasures. The company encouraged viewers to help decipher the clues of the map. But those who bought shovels, compasses and cool Indiana Jones’ attire found the following disappointing note two days later: “Upon further analysis of the hidden clues in the map, we’ve confirmed that the map does not belong to the famous pirate William Captain Kidd but was instead created by a Google engineer as a joke. April Fools!”
• Sports Illustrated’s Hayden (Sidd) Finch – The story appeared in the April 1, 1985 edition of Sports Illustrated and extensively detailed Hayden (Sidd) Finch, his 168 miles-per-hour fastball as tested by a JUGS Supergun II radar device and the New York Mets’ hopes making Finch part of their team. The story quotes several members of the team, including front office officials. Former Mets general manager Frank Cashen said he was briefed on the story but did not realize everything that would be written. Alas, the Mets had to compete without the Herculean pitcher and finished second in the National League East Division in 1985 before winning the World Series in 1986.