Monday, December 29, 2003

From the "People Are Dumb" Files

Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

In what is Boese's all-time favorite Hoax, on April 1, 1957 the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) aired on television a report on the news show Panorama about the bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. Viewers watched Swiss farmers pull pasta off spaghetti trees as the show's anchor Richard Dimbleby attributed the bountiful harvest to the mild winter and the disappearance of the spaghetti weevil. He detailed the ins and outs of the life of the spaghetti farmer and anticipated questions about how spaghetti grows on trees. Thousands of people believed the report and called the BBC to inquire about growing their own spaghetti trees to which the BBC replied, "place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best."

"It [was] a great satirical effect about British society," said Boese. "British society really was like that at that time. The British have a tendency to be a bit insulated and do not know that much about the rest of Europe."

(Courtesy National Geographic's April Fools' Special: History's Hoaxes)

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