Posts Tagged 'April Fools Day'

Republic of San Serriffe – #90 of 100 Top Hoaxes

On April 1, 1977 (yeah yeah, another April Fool’s hoax, so sue me!), The Guardian featured an 8-page special report on a country called San Serriffe:

The San Seriffe was reported as a two-island nation in the Indian Ocean, with a population of over 1.7 million people. It was probably surprising for many people to learn about this place that they had never heard of before, but itbecomes clear that this is a ruse the more you learn about the place…especially after you see a map of it.

According to Henry Morris: “Many readers will be justifiably unacquainted with the tiny and little-known Republic of San Serriffe. I never heard of it myself until I saw the “Special Report” in the April 1, 1977, issue of The Guardian, one of the major English newspapers. A copy of this issue was send to me by an English friend with no explanation other than “I think you’ll find this interesting.” I was at first puzzled as it looked like any ordinary newspaper and I couldn’t imagine why he’d gone to the expense of air-mailing a copy of a now week-old newspaper. After some perusal, I finally begun to think there was something odd about the eight-page Special Report which was in a center section. The report dealt at length with the Republic of San Serriffe, a country whose existence I was previously unaware of. The power of print is such, that a report like this in a big-city newspaper establishes instant credibility. I couldn’t understand why I’d never heard of this country before. My suspicions were soon aroused by the names of various cities shown on map of this country which was included (see above map). these names were all terms connected with printing – places like Garamondo, Bodoni and Erbar – all names of printer’s type faces; Caissa Superiore (Upper-case), and Caissa Inferiore (lower-case), referring to the printer’s type-case arrangement. I finally realized it was colossal printer’s April Fool’s Day joke – the greatest I’d ever seen, and done as only the English can do such thing. Even the advertisers had gone along; Kodak, for example, had an ad that read: “If you have color photos of San Serriffe we’d like to see them.” In fact there is no such country and even the name is a play on words, “san serif” being a style of type without serifs.”

See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Republic of San Serriffe – #90 of 100 Top Hoaxes’

Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe – #91 of 100 Top Hoaxes

Mount Edgecumbe is a dormant volcano near Sitka, Alaska, which was the subject of an April Fool’s Day hoax.

The volcano hasn’t erupted in almost 4,000 years, but in 1974 prankster Porky Bickar flew hundreds of tires into the crater and lit them on fire, tricking locals into thinking that the volcano was active again.

The Museum of Hoaxes reports:

Six years later when Mount St. Helens erupted a Sitka resident wrote to Bickar to tell him, “This time you’ve gone too far!”

See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Eruption of Mount Edgecumbe – #91 of 100 Top Hoaxes’

Great Comics Switcheroonie – #95

Number 95, like many of the hoaxes that will appear on this list, happened on April Fool’s Day.

On April 1, 1997, syndicated comic strip writers conspired to confuse readers by swapping characters. From the Baby Blues Scrapbook:

A couple of years ago, Rick and Jerry had the idea to have the cartoonists in the papers switch with other cartoonists and draw each others strips. Rick sent out letters to find out if any of the cartoonists would be interested. He was surprised at how many thought it would be fun to do!

In order to be as efficient as possible and to save precious time, Rick decided to computerize the responses with some new software he found. Naturally, with such high-tech help, the entire process of matching cartoonists up with one of their top ten choices ended up taking roughly five times longer than it would have if we’d used a handful of index cards and a bulletin board. The matching-up process also would have taken much less time if we had simply let everyone draw their first choice of strips. And, in retrospect, it might have been funnier to open the paper on April 1st and see forty-six different versions of Dilbert.

Anyway, after a few weeks of agony (mostly for Rick since all of this was on his computer), the mishaps were complete and we sent out the assignments with careful instructions for the cartoonists to follow, and much of the next few weeks were taken up with fielding phone calls re-explaining the whole thing to cartoonists who don’t read careful instructions.

After a ton of telephone interviews, (thanks to all the cartoonists who took time out of their schedules to help field some of these), the Switcheroonie went off without a hitcheroonie. The results were funny, readers got an unexpected treat, and the comics got a little publicity for a change. All in all, not a bad outcome.

After many hours of organizing and numerous reminder phone calls, the great 1997 Switcheroonie was printed in newspapers all across the United States on 1997 April Fool’s Day. The responses were varied. Most people thought it was a great gag to do on 1997 April Fool’s Day. No syndicates were harmed by this stunt.

Here are some examples. Enjoy and Happy Friday!

See a list of hoaxes counted down so far after the jump.

Continue reading ‘Great Comics Switcheroonie – #95′


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