All Things Considered, NPR's Andrea Seabrook reported that the U.S. Postal Service plans to launch next month a national "Portable Zip Codes" program. Under the program, Americans would be able to keep their current zip codes no matter where they moved, whether across the country or across town.
"So it is with great pride and pleasure I tell you that starting next month, the national Portable Zip Codes program will commence. With it, American citizens can keep their present zip codes wherever they chose to live, across the country or across town." This spurred alot of concern and a formal announcement of the hoax was made: The U.S. Postal Service has not lost its mind; it has no plans to allow portable zip codes.
source: NPR's April Fools Spoof from "All Things Considered"
In 1998 Burger King published a full page advertisement in USA Today announcing the introduction of a new item to their menu: a "Left-Handed Whopper" specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original Whopper (lettuce, tomato, hamburger patty, etc.), but all the condiments were rotated 180 degrees for the benefit of their left-handed customers. The following day Burger King issued a follow-up release revealing that although the Left-Handed Whopper was a hoax, thousands of customers had gone into restaurants to request the new sandwich. Simultaneously, according to the press release, "many others requested their own 'right handed' version."
In 1987 a Los Angeles disc jockey announced that on April 8 the LA highway system would be shut down for repairs for an entire month. This was alarming news in LA where it's necessary to use the highway to get almost anywhere. The radio station immediately received hundreds of frantic calls in response to the announcement, and the California Highway Patrol reported that they were also flooded with calls throughout the day. The station later admitted that it was stunned by the intensity of the public reaction to the hoax. A representative from the California Department of Transportation called the station's managers to share their opinion of the prank. Reportedly "they didn't think it was very funny."
In 1915, readers of the Boston Globe could have purchased their papers for half the cost on April Fool's Day, if they had been alert and noticed the price listed on the front page. But before anyone had noticed, the price almost 60,000 copies of the paper were sold. When the management of the Globe found out about the change, they were equally surprised as everyone else. The new price "One-Cent" from the "Two-Cent" price was actually the the responsibility of a prankster - a production worker who had changed value at the last minute before the paper went on to print.
NPR again, reports this amazing story: Storm Erupts Over $345-Trillion Plan for Pet Health Care System -- Reaction today was swift and vocal to a Bush administration proposal to extend universal health care to pets. Under the measure, veterinary care coverage would be fully subsidized by tax dollars. As a result of the announcement, a three-way squabble has erupted between fiscal conservatives, animal rights groups and pro-human organizations.
On March 31, 1940 the Franklin Institute issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day.
The release was picked up by radio station KYW which broadcast the following message: "Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 P.M. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city." The public reaction was immediate. Local authorities were flooded with frantic phone calls. The panic only subsided after the Franklin Institute assured people that it had made no such prediction. The prankster responsible for the press release turned out to be William Castellini, the Institute's press agent. He had intended to use the fake release to publicize an April 1st lecture at the institute titled "How Will the World End?" Soon afterwards the Institute dismissed Castellini.
On April 1, 1998 the homepage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology announced some startling news: the prestigious university was to be sold to Walt Disney Co. for $6.9 billion. A photograph of the university's famous dome outfitted with a pair of mouse ears accompanied the news. The press release explained that the university was to be dismantled and transported to Orlando where new schools would be added to the campus including the School of Imagineering, the Scrooge McDuck School of Management, and the Donald Duck Department of Linguistics. The fact that the announcement appeared on MIT's homepage added official credibility to it. But in fact, the announcement was the work of students who had hacked into the school's central server and replaced the school's real web page with a phony one.
In 1996 AOL subscribers who logged onto the service were greeted by a news flash announcing that a "Government source reveals signs of life on Jupiter." The claim was backed up by statements from a planetary biologist and an assertion by Ted Leonsis, AOL's president, that his company was in possession of documents proving that the government was hiding the existence of life on the massive planet. The story quickly generated over 1,300 messages on AOL. A spokesman for the company later explained that the hoax had been intended as a tribute to Orson Welles's 1938 Halloween broadcast of the War of the Worlds.
In 1994 National Public Radio's All Things Considered program reported that companies such as Pepsi were sponsoring teenagers to tattoo their ears with corporate logos. In return for branding themselves with the corporate symbol, the teenagers would receive a lifetime 10% discount on that company's products. Teenagers were said to be responding enthusiastically to this deal. This was NPR's April Fools Hoax.
Oddly enough, starting in 1994 the Seattle Mariners Baseball team promoted the Buhner Buzz Cut Night, in association with Susan G. Komen, a fund raising event to promote breast cancer awareness. And the prize -- free admission to the game -- if and only if you shaved your head...many took advantage of that. So, some one had a good idea?