Sure, it's fun to prank your best friend, but entire nations? That takes some doing. Whether it's a billionaire like Richard Branson, a local government, or a fast food chain, these pranks were all carried out by large organizations... and one newspaper factory worker in the early 1900's.
What's your favorite April Fools' Day prank? Which of the pranks on this list do you think was the most elaborate and awesome? Vote up the practical joke you were most impressed by below.
In 1998, Burger King acknowledged the 32 million left-handed Americans by taking out a full page ad in USA Today introducing the "Left-Handed Whopper."
All the ingredients would be the same as the original but rotated 180 degrees. Thousands of people swarmed Burger King to try the new burger and praised its better taste. Thousands also requested the original Right-Handed Whopper.
The next day Burger King issued a press release revealing the ad as a prank. Sometimes, America makes us sad.
The city of Aliso Viejo, California was preparing to ban foam cups because of a dangerous chemical called dihydrogen monoxide.
A city employee received an email warning him, and the city, of the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide and passed it along without even googling or wikipedia'ing the compound.
Before holding a vote, it came to the city officials' attention that dihydrogen monoxide is the scientific term for water. Apparently there are no chemistry classes in Aliso Viejo.Consider Aliso Viejo pranked. Hard.
Global Gravity Shift
In 1976, astronomer Patrick Moore announced on the BBC radio that a once-in-a-lifetime planetary alignment would create a global phenomenon on Earth.
Pluto (back when it was still a planet) would pass behind Jupiter, thus creating weightlessness on Earth at exactly 9:47 A.M.
Thousands of people called into the station claiming to have experienced the event and reported having floated around their houses.
...We blame the 70's.
Aliens in London
On March 31, 1989 a glowing UFO descended over London causing widespread confusion and panic among the Brits.
The flying saucer landed in the outskirts of London where onlookers, having been raised on way too much "Doctor Who," gathered to make first contact with an alien being. A highly trained police officer poked the saucer with a stick and then ran as the door to the craft opened. A silver suited being stepped out of the saucer to greet the world.
The being was Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin Records. He had built the craft and planned to land it on April 1st in Hyde Park, but was blown off course and forced to land early.