THE MASONRY MONTHLY
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Pranks From the Pre-Internet Age
SWISS SPAGHETTI GROWERS ENJOY RECORD HARVEST
April Fools’ Day isn’t what it used to be. Sure, it’s still a fun distraction, with Google announcing “scratch and sniff ” digital technology and Amazon declaring new features enabling Alexa to understand your pets. But it’s pretty hard for anyone to genuinely pull your leg in the internet age. Back when you couldn’t debunk a hoax with a simple Snopes search, things were a little more interesting. Here are a few of the most hilarious — yet somehow convincing — April Fools’ pranks in history.
Ah, to be as naive as we were during the early days of
television. In 1957, a BBC news show called “Panorama” conducted a special report on a massive spaghetti harvest in Ticino, Switzerland, following a remarkably mild winter. The black and white images
When NPR’s popular “Talk of the Nation” program announced in 1992 that former President Richard Nixon had announced his candidacy for the Republican presidential nomination, listeners were shocked. Never mind that
showed farmers pulling huge strands of noodles off tall trees and prompted hundreds of viewers to call into the station and ask how they might procure their own spaghetti tree.
THOMAS EDISON’S AMAZING FOOD MACHINE
When Edison was in his prime, Americans truly believed he could accomplish anything — even a machine that transformed air, water, and dirt into biscuits, vegetables, meat, and wine, as reported by the New York Daily Graphic in 1878. The article was reprinted in newspapers across the country. Thousands of people bought the trick. When Buffalo’s Commercial Advertiser ran an editorial on Edison’s genius in the endeavor, the Graphic reprinted it in full, along with the headline, “They Bite!”
he’d been the center of the largest presidential scam in history, but his campaign slogan, “I never did anything
wrong, and I won’t do it again,” left something to be desired. NPR even brought political experts on the show to discuss the ramifications of such a move, and listeners flooded the station with outraged calls — until host John Hockenberry revealed that the on- air Nixon was actually comedian Rich Little.
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