April Fools Day has brought us some fairly wonderful things over the years and it’s grown exponentially with the advent of the internet and content sharing. Today is a day where we wait to see if people post links to clearly fake products and news articles announcing ridiculous things while patiently waiting to ridicule that friend or family member who falls for something preposterous.
While Twitter and Facebook are abuzz with today’s best, let’s take a look back on what is easily one of the greatest April Fools pranks ever pulled off — The Spaghetti Trees of Switzerland.
What looks like old stock footage and feels like it’d be something the guys over at RiffTrax would create, this is a real segment that the BBC aired on April 1st, 1956. The video features a family spaghetti harvest in the south of Switzerland near the border of Italy. Picking the pasta from trees and laying them out in the sun to dry, thankful for a successful harvest season free from the dreaded “Spaghetti Weevil” ruining their crops.
As silly as it is to watch now, hundreds fell for it when it was broadcast. Some called the BBC for tips on growing their own spaghetti trees. It was even rumored that interested viewers calling in were told by BBC operators to “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
You see, in post-WWII Britain, spaghetti was a rarely-eaten food and some Brits just weren’t aware what it was made of. What really must have sold the piece at the time to the pasta-deprived public is the voice over by broadcaster Richard Dimbleby. As a trusted and respected voice of news programming, today’s equivalent would be like hearing Katie Couric or Tom Brokaw tell us that Japan sells canned bread.
Wait, they do that already? Gross.
Keep your eyes peeled for more April Fools Stuff! What art though favorite pranks of olde? Let us know in the comments!