April Fool’s Day
Date: April 1st
Focus: new vocabulary and cultural knowledge
Time: 90 minutes
a) The temperature in winter was very mild and the beetles, which destroy
spaghetti crops, were eliminated.
b) They should have placed a stem of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce, and that’s
c) Because in 1962 the only TV channel in Sweden broadcast in black and white.
d) To pull a nylon stocking over their TV screen.
e) This Mexican-style restaurant chain announced it had bought the Liberty Bell
and was renaming it to Taco Liberty Bell.
f) They phoned the National Historic Park to express their anger and they calmed
down when the company revealed that it was a practical joke.
g) The ingredients were rotated 180 degrees to the benefit of the left-handed
h) Because of an astronomical event, the planet Pluto would pass behind Jupiter
and this could cause a gravitational alignment that would counteract and lessen
the Earth’s gravity.
i) Yes, they offered strawberries.
j) They advised them to check the date before their money was taken dishonestly.
a) Her flatmate changed her clock so she ended up getting up a whole hour earlier
than she needed to.
b) She’ll get her back next year.
c) Now we all expect that there’s going to be one and often we’ll see a story and
we think it’s a hoax when actually it’s true.
d) A newspaper article saying that Elvis Presley has been seen walking down the
streets of London, when in fact he's been dead for many years.
e) Spaghetti trees and broadcasting smells through the airwaves
f) No, just only midday.
a) 4 d) 7 g) 3
b) 2 e) 6
c) 5 f) 1
1. Work in pairs (A and B). A is going to have a picture, and B a blank
piece of paper. You will be given a fixed time so that A will describe
the picture to B, who must draw it. At the end, the whole class will
vote on most accurate picture.
2. What do you think is the topic of the lesson? Pay attention to the
Power Point presentation and afterwards discuss with your partner
the cultural differences between Spain and Great Britain or the USA
regarding this day.
The Top April Fool's Day Hoaxes of All Time
The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest
1957: The respected BBC news show Panorama announced that thanks to
a very mild winter and the virtual elimination of the dreaded spaghetti
weevil, Swiss farmers were enjoying a bumper spaghetti crop. It
accompanied this announcement with footage of Swiss peasants pulling
strands of spaghetti down from trees. Many viewers were taken in and called the BBC
wanting to know how they could grow their own spaghetti tree. BBC diplomatically
replied, quot;place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.quot;
Instant Color TV
1962: In 1962 there was only one TV channel in Sweden, and it broadcast in
black and white. The station's technical expert appeared on the news to
announce that, thanks to a new technology, viewers could convert their sets
to display color reception. All they had to do was pull a nylon stocking over
their TV screen. He proceeded to demonstrate the process. Thousands of people were
taken in. Regular color broadcasts only commenced in Sweden on April 1, 1970.
The Taco Liberty Bell
1996: The Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell
and was renaming it the Taco Liberty Bell. Hundreds of outraged citizens
called the National Historic Park in Philadelphia where the bell was housed to
express their anger. Their nerves were only calmed when Taco Bell revealed, a
few hours later, that it was all a practical joke.
The Left-Handed Whopper
1998: Burger King published an advertisement in USA Today
announcing the introduction of a new item: a quot;Left-Handed Whopperquot;
specially designed for the 32 million left-handed Americans. According
to the advertisement, the new whopper included the same ingredients as the original
Whopper, 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, quot;many others requested their own 'right handed' version.quot;
Planetary Alignment Decreases Gravity
1976: A British astronomer announced on BBC Radio 2 that at 9:47 AM a
once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners
could experience in their very own homes. The planet Pluto would pass
behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would
counteract and lessen the Earth's own gravity. He told his listeners that if
they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary alignment occurred, they
would experience a strange floating sensation. When 9:47 AM arrived, BBC2 began to
receive hundreds of phone calls, one woman even reported that she and her eleven
friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room.
2009: British supermarket chain Waitrose placed ads in newspapers
announcing the availability of a new fruit, the pinana (a combination of
pineapple and banana). The text of the ad read: Pinanas. Fresh in today and
exclusive to Waitrose. If you find that all Waitrose pinanas have sold out, don't
worry, there's 50% off our essential Waitrose strawberries.quot;
2009: The London Times ran a photo of quot;tartan sheepquot; said to have been
bred by Grant Bell of West Barns. However, the Times warned, quot;Before you
complain of being fleeced, check out the baa-code for today's date.quot;
3. Answer the following questions.
a) Which situations were sorted out so that Swiss farmers could grow
b) What should the viewers have done to grow their spaghetti trees?
c) Why were the Swedish TV viewers so interested in converting their TV
sets to display color reception?
d) What did the technical expert advise the Swedish to do?
e) What did Taco Bell do with the symbol of independence described as an
icon of liberty and justice?
f) How did the Americans react to Taco Bell’s announcement?
g) Which was the special feature of the new Whopper?
h) How was it possible that the listeners were able to experience a floating
sensation in their homes?
i) Did Waitrose offer an alternative in case they had run out of the
combination of pineapple and banana?
j) What advise did the Times give to their readers with the picture of
4. You are going to listen to a radio programme on the topic of
April Fool’s Day. Answer the following questions and match the
words with the definitions.
a) What kind of joke did Jackie’s flatmate
play on her?
b) What will Jackie do to her friend next
c) What is the problem that people can
have with media hoaxes?
d) Jackie pointed out an example of a spoof
story, which is it?
e) The BBC had taken in the public by
many practical jokes, which two are
pointed out in this programme?
f) Do jokes last all day in England?
5. Match the words with the definitions.
a) Practical joke 1. someone who plays tricks or pranks on someone else.
b) Hoax 2. many people are deceived into thinking something false
c) Spoof story 3. people in charge of the media play a trick on the audience
d) Taken in by 4. a type of joke which is played as someone else’s expense
e) Gullible 5. a story that’s not true but presented as though it were
f) Prankster 6. someone who believes things easily
g) Media hoax 7. believe something that isn’t true
6. In groups think on examples of practical jokes or media hoaxes
which came up in Spain. Afterwards put them in common.