In 1976, British astronomer Sir Patrick Moore told listeners of BBC Radio2 that unique alignment of two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull making people lighter at precisely 9:47 a.m. that day.
He invited his audience to jump in the air and experience “a strange floating sensation”. Dozens of listeners phoned in to say the experiment had worked.
In 1998, UK presenter Nic Tuff of West Midlands radio station pretended to be the British Prime Minister Tony Blair when he called the then South African President Nelson Mandela for a chat. It was only at the end of the call when Nic asked Nelson what he was doing for April Fools’ Day that the line went dead.
In New Zealand the radio station The Edge Morning Madhouse enlisted the help of the Prime Minister on April 1st to inform the entire country that cell phones are to be banned in New Zealand. Hundreds of callers rang in disgruntled at the new law.
In 1969 the Dutch TV news notified the public of a new device that would be handed out to civil servants tasked with finding TV license fee evaders.
This device would be able to detect the presence of a television set in the house from the outside. Asked whether there was nothing that citizens could do about this, the interviewed “civil servant” said ‘No’, as - he said - it would be unlikely that people would be willing to wrap their TVs in aluminum foil. The next day aluminum foil was sold out in most stores in a matter of hours.
In 1980, the BBC reported a proposed change to the famous clock tower known as The Big Ben. The reporters stated that the clock would go digital.
In 2003, many Chinese and South Korean websites claimed that Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft was assassinated, resulting in a 1.5 percent drop in the South Korean stock market.
In 2005 a news story was posted on the official NASA website purporting to have pictures of water on Mars.
In 1979, Iran declared April 1 its National Republic Day, 31 years on, this continues to be mistaken for a joke.
On April 1, 1984, singer Marvin Gaye was shot and killed by his father. Originally, people assumed that it was a fake news story, especially considering the bizarre aspect of the father being the murderer.
In 1965, the BBC purported to conduct a trial of a new technology allowing the transmission of odor over the airwaves to all viewers. Many viewers reportedly contacted the BBC to report the trial’s success.
BMW car advertisement was run on 1st April 1986, about their new car for driving between Great Britain and the Continent.
It was both left and right hand drive, had pedals on both driver’s and passenger’s side, had a detachable steering wheel which could go either side and a full set of instruments on each side, the unused one being covered by a lovely walnut panel.
The Sun; reported that Nicolas Sarkozy was to enter surgery to make him as tall as his wife, Carla Bruni, after being subject to ridicule over his height during his trip to London.