Friday, April 03, 2009
April Food Hoax
With another April Fool's Day just a few days behind us, there still remains that well-publicized hoax that took place across the pond in Britain on this very same date – 52 years ago.
On April 1, 1957 the British news show Panorama broadcast a three-minute segment about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. (Spaghetti growing on trees...yep, the sophisticated, stiff upper lipped Brits apparently fell for this one hook, line, and spaghetti strainer.)
The success of the crop was even attributed both to an unusually mild winter and to the “virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil.” (....LOL!)
The audience heard Richard Dimbleby, the show’s highly respected anchor, discussing the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched video footage of a Swiss family pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets. The segment concluded with the assurance that, “For those who love this dish, there’s nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti.”
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest hoax generated an enormous response. Hundreds of people phoned the BBC wanting to know how they could grow their very own spaghetti tree. To this question the BBC diplomatically replied, “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
To this day the Panorama broadcast remains one of the most famous and popular April Fool’s Day hoaxes of all time. It is also believed to be the first time the medium of television was used to stage an April Fool’s Day hoax. (No doubt, future Panorama broadcasts had to include: Money growing on trees, followed by the Stork's special deliveries, followed by the Easter Bunny is my neighbor, followed by....)
In any event, take a look at the video clip.