ICE BLOCKS, TEN CENTS A POP!
On April Fools’ Day 1978 Australian electronics entrepreneur Dick Smith arranged for a giant, fake iceberg to be towed into Sydney Harbour. In a co-ordinated campaign, 300 of his employees then rang various radio and television stations, saying ‘What on earth is coming through the Heads?
The public were told that the ‘ice’ would be carved into small cubes, called Dicksicles which would enhance the flavour of any drink. They were to be sold for 10 cents each. In reality there was an esky hidden on the barge, filled with real ice-cubes. Quite a few were doled out to some gullible fellows who arrived on a fishing boat. Meanwhile, thousands of intrigued Sydneysiders lined the foreshore. American author Alex Broses included this prank on a list of best April Fools’ Day tricks in his book, Museum of Hoaxes . It came in at a very creditable no. 12.
SNOW SPORTS – A PLEA TO THE PUBLIC ON APRIL FIRST
Announcer Bob Cure presented ABC radio’s breakfast show in Hobart for many years. He once told listeners that personnel manning the scientific station at the Antarctic were missing out on the opportunity to play football and cricket. However, he said it had been discovered that grass would grow in the harsh conditions if it had a couple of inches of soil attached. He asked his audience to carve a brick sized piece of turf from their lawn and to leave it on the nature strip ready for collection by a council truck. The sections of grass would then be packed up and sent south to be reassembled; the first ‘drop in’ sports pitch!
A journalist working for Hobart’s local paper The Mercury phoned the ABC to say it was a ridiculous prank that nobody would swallow. In full flow, he suddenly spotted his wife digging up a square of their own front lawn!
Oddly enough No. 4 on Alex Brose’s best prank list also involved Tasmania. Florida residents were told that the Tasmanian rock walrus would make an ideal pet. They were assured that the animals purred like cats, had the temperament of hamsters and that best of all…ate cockroaches!
I used to pride myself on never being taken in by April Fool jokes. However, some are so elaborate, and breakfast show presenters catch us when we are still befuddled with sleep; well that’s my excuse! I was well and truly fooled by ABC radio while living in Sydney a few years ago. There is a famous 14 kilometre ‘fun-run’ called The City to Surf, which attracts about 80,000 participants. Certificates are awarded to those who complete the run. I woke one morning to hear that the previous year’s course had mistakenly been set one metre short. An apologetic ‘official’ was interviewed. He said that anyone who wanted an authentic certificate would have to return to the starting point on a designated day to complete the extra metre. I was ranting to my husband about the absolute stupidity of this for some time before he decided to remind me of the date!
Have you been caught out on April first? Or do you remember a perfect prank? I would love to hear from you. Leave your comment below. As always, do complete the anti-spam sum before pressing SUBMIT