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April Fool’s Day – Dale’s Daily Data

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It’s April 1st – April Fools Day.  We’ve done our share of April Fools’ jokes on this show over the years.  One of the best was when we announced a Garth Brooks concert and you could get your tickets by going to the Wilson Stadium parking lot and holding up your credit card to a circling helicopter with the number of tickets you wanted by holding up the appropriate number of fingers.  People ended up doing it.  Sorry.

Where did the April Fool’s tradition begin?   Some historians think it dates back to 1582 when France switched from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.  People slow to get the news or didn’t know that the new year started on January 1st instead of April 1st became the butt of jokes and hoaxes.  

In Scotland in the 1700’s an April Fools tradition began where people were sent on phony errands and pranks were played on other people,  especially things like pinning fake tails or “kick me” signs on people’s butts.

There have been some pretty elaborate April Fools’ hoaxes over the years.  In 1957, BBC Television reported that Italian farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees.  Many people believed it.  In 1985, Sports Illustrated ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour.  In 1996, the restaurant chain Taco Bell, announced it was going to buy Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and was going to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell.  In 1998, Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper” making it easier for lefties to eat and many Burger Kings actually had people order it.

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