In 1957, the respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. The story was accompanied with footage of people pulling strands of spaghetti down from trees.
The program, narrated by Richard Dimbleby, a distinguished broadcaster, featured a family from Ticino in Switzerland carrying out their annual spaghetti harvest. It showed women plucking strands of spaghetti from a tree and laying them in the sun to dry.
Spaghetti is not a widely-eaten food in the UK and is considered by many as an exotic delicacy. Dimbleby noted that the end of March each year is a very anxious time for spaghetti harvesters all over Europe as severe frost can impair the flavor of the spaghetti. He also explained how each strand of spaghetti grows to the same length thanks to years of hard work by generations of growers.
Some viewers failed to see the humor and criticized the BBC for airing the hoax. Others wanted to find out how they could grow (or purchase) a spaghetti bush to which the BBC responded: “place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.” This is believed to be one of the first times that TV was been used to stage an April Fools hoax. Curious? Watch it here.
What’s the craziest April Fool’s hoax you ever pulled on someone?
Here’s mine – my father enjoyed eating peanuts out of the shell. He would sit at the table cracking and eating them. I got the bag before him, carefully opened some of the peanut shells, ate the contents, then glued the empty shells together. On ne April 1 night, my father went for a snack. He started cracking shells only to find every other one empty. It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud each time, before telling him that he didn’t have a bag of “duds.”