Left-handed toilet paper and spaghetti trees? 5 of the oddest April Fools’ hoaxes ever

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April Fools’ Day arrives every year to the tune of laughter and groans. But not all pranks are whoopee cushions at board meetings or fake spiders in the Easter casserole. Some of the world’s most memorable hoaxes have been pranks played on entire populations. And it turns out, history is full of those.

Here are five highly public, historical April Fools’ Day hoaxes:

Left-handed toilet paper

In 2015, Cottonelle announced via a tweet that it was coming out with left-handed toilet paper.

“America has spoken,” the brand wrote above a photo of its forthcoming “invention,” complete with enthusiastic quotes from bogus organizations.

“It cleans just like right-hand toilet paper, only now it’s made for me,” an imaginary Mike H from Lefties for the Ethical Treatment of Lefties said on the announcement.

Spaghetti is in full bloom

In 1957, “Panorama,” the BBC’s flagship current affairs show aired a nearly three-minute broadcast to a rapt British audience announcing the “spaghetti harvest.” According to the segment, that year’s mild winter had led to “an exceptionally heavy spaghetti crop” in Switzerland.

Richard Dimbleby, the show’s anchor, was one of the nation’s highly respected reporters, having earned his reputation as a war correspondent. That day, with the usual narrative authority he had in his voice, Dimbleby discussed how the warmer season had been a gift to the folksy spaghetti farmers of Switzerland. Though, of course, their harvest would never compare to the abundance of the vast spaghetti “plantations” of Italy down south.

The broadcast featured long shots of cooked spaghetti hanging from tall plants and “farmers” carefully picking them, strand by strand.

“There is nothing like real home-grown spaghetti,” Dimbleby said at the end of the broadcast.

Their segment fooled quite a few Brits, prompting a media frenzy in the hours and days thereafter.

Chaos broke out, Michael Peacock, an editor of the program, told the BBC in a lookback years later. “We all felt very pleased with ourselves.”

Hamburger-flavored toothpaste

Perhaps taking a page from Cottonelle’s prank book, Burger King announced in a 60-second commercial the official launch of its Whopper-flavored toothpaste just in time for April 1, 2017.

“Our flame-grilled Whopper is so good that some people will do anything to keep the taste in their mouth,” the announcer says in the ad.

Touting its “ultra-fresh advanced Whopper technology” and whitening capabilities, a “dentist” describes the toothpaste as a solution for anyone who loves the taste of Whopper so much that they are afraid to brush their teeth after eating one.

“To keep the Whopper taste in my mouth, I haven’t brushed my teeth for two weeks. It really works, but my wife dumped me,” says a morose man early in the ad.

By the end of the ad, the sad man is happy, having changed his ways with Burger King’s Whopper-flavored toothpaste.

His wife returns, suitcases in hand. “Mmmm!” she exclaims sniffing the air, “it smells of Whopper in here — did you brush your teeth?”

Nixon’s 1992 presidential candidacy

In 1992, 18 years after Richard Nixon resigned after the Watergate scandal, National Public Radio decided to seed a little mayhem. On April 1, the outlet announced he was running for president again.

According to Grunge, “Talk of the Nation,” the call-in news program, enlisted comedian Rich Little for his spot-on impression of the former president.

“I didn’t do anything wrong and I won’t do it again,” Little said on the airwaves, impersonating Nixon.

Not only did listeners believe the news, but they also were outraged and flooded the program with calls. Anger at the former president was still widespread.

There was also confusion about him being a two-term president already. It’s against the Constitution for a president to serve more than two terms. But, could a two-term president who had resigned in his second term run for reelection? People didn’t know. This had never happened before.

Shortly after, the show announced that the whole thing had been a prank.

What happened to gravity?

As if its 1957 spaghetti spoof wasn’t enough, the BBC was at it again for April Fools’ Day 1976.

During his morning program, astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told the audience that at 9:47 a.m., Pluto and Jupiter would align and reduce Earth’s gravitational pull.

According to Time magazine, Moore’s announcement prompted countless excited viewers to jump in the air at exactly 9:47a.m. At 9:48, the program’s lines flooded with calls from viewers who swore they had felt themselves floating.

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