April Fool's Day and William McKinley

Image credit: 

Did you know that April Fool's Day was widely popularized in this country by an unlikely source "“ President William McKinley? On April 1, 1897, McKinley convinced his staff that he was serious about nominating bitter rival William Jennings Bryan to the Supreme Court. The story appeared in several newspapers the following day, and McKinley had to release a statement saying he was only joking. He signed this statement, "April Fools, Bill McKinley."

OK, that's not true at all.
But April Fool's Day is a free pass to lie and laugh about it, and it's less than a week away.  The Museum of Hoaxes put together the definitive list of April Fool's Day pranks. Here are a few:

#4. On April 1, 1996, Taco Bell ran this ad in The New York Times:

"In an effort to help the national debt, Taco Bell is pleased to announce that we have agreed to purchase the Liberty Bell, one of our country's most historic treasures. It will now be called the 'Taco Liberty Bell and will still be accessible to the American public for viewing. While some may find this controversial, we hope our move will prompt other corporations to take similar action to do their part to reduce the country's debt."

#6. On April 1, 1992, NPR's Talk of the Nation with John Hockenberry played clips of Richard Nixon once again declaring his candidacy for President. His new slogan: "I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again." I have a hard time believing people really bought into this, but the Museum of Hoaxes says angry callers expressed their rage until Hockenberry revealed Rich Little was doing his famous Nixon impression.

#10. On April 1, 1976, British astronomer Patrick Moore announced on BBC Radio 2 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 that would counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. Moore told his listeners that if they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to receive hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation. One woman even reported that she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.

wisconsin.jpg #16. On April 1, 1933, in an effort to raise Depression Era spirits, The Madison-Capital Times announced that the Wisconsin state capitol building had been destroyed by a series of mysterious explosions. The explosions were attributed to "large quantities of gas, generated through many weeks of verbose debate in the Senate and Assembly chambers." Accompanying the article was this picture.

See the rest of the Top 100 here.

March 26, 2007 - 3:25am
webby
submit to reddit