April Fools ain’t what it used to be, folks. Maybe it’s the Internet or maybe we are all just getting smarter, but there used to be a time where April Fools was the greatest. Friday on The Glenn Beck Program, Glenn and co-hosts Pat Gray and Jeffy Fisher reminisced about the good old days.
“It was like a national holiday,” Pat said.
"We did Six Flags under Baltimore," Glenn added. “The world's first totally underground amusement park. All underground. All air-conditioned. Had a rollercoaster that went 250 miles an hour. The world's fastest rollercoaster. And we said, it's right off the Beltway, all you have to do is look --- just take the exit right after the big pile of dirt."
People bought it hook line and sinker, too. Pat mimicked the callers and chuckled as he remembered their reaction.
"'I just saw the dirt, and I got off at the exit.' You saw the dirt?" Pat said.
If you were familiar with Glenn and his co-hosts in those days, you'd remember they weren't happy with a joke until they took it as far as they could --- and then some! They went so far as to buy ad time on other stations to advertise the new amusement park. They went to a theme park in Cincinnati to record interviews with park guests and got them to react to the new “air conditioning” and what it was like to ride the worlds fastest roller coaster.
The unwitting participants were happy to oblige, completely oblivious to the absurdity they were commenting on.
Why Should Right-Handers Be Closer to Cleanliness?
The web is an amazing invention and hands-down changed the world in ways we are still figuring out, but it gave the gullible an out. Nobody gets fooled like they used to. Now anything absurd can be Googled and easily found out.
“I don't think you can do these anymore," Glenn said. "Because people --- they immediately go to the Internet, and they check. I mean, they have access to all kinds of information."
He reminded listeners about a big hoax in 1973 carried out by Johnny Carson --- that there was new left-handed toilet paper. Why should right-handers be closer to cleanliness?
Taco Liberty Bell Hoax of 1996
In 1996, Taco Bell took out newspaper ads saying that they had bought the Liberty Bell in an effort to help the national debt. Senators were taken in, and they were upset that the national --- you know, the national parks would sell the Liberty Bell.
Big Ben Goes Digital and Nylons in Technicolor
The best pranks involve groups of people. Why dump a bucket of water on someone walking through a door when you could pull one over on the masses?
“It did not go well in 1980 in London, when they said Big Ben was going digital,” Glenn said.
One of Glenn's favorites was a prank from the Swedish National TV Network. In 1962, they said there was a new color TV which was very expensive. But you don't actually have to go buy a color TV, they said.
"If you want to see your picture in color, all you have to do is view it through a nylon-like nylon stockings," they advertised.
A technical expert on television put a nylon stocking over his head while watching TV, saying, "It's absolutely in color." People all over Sweden spent the day with nylon stockings on their head trying to figure out how it worked.
The Legend of Sidd Finch
An abuse of public trust is typically frowned upon, but sports writer George Plimpton wrote an article about a fictional character and went to great lengths to convince New York Met fans they had the next superstar.
“Did you ever hear this? Of Sidd Finch, Sports Illustrated? Pitcher for the Mets. You remember this in 1985?” Glenn asked.
Pat remembered vaguely.
“He said that the Mets found a guy, a brand-new pitcher who had 160 mile per hour fastball,” Pat said. “168 miles an hour? I mean, 1985, the fastest pitcher in the world threw 97, 98 miles an hour, maybe.”
Don’t Drink and Surf
In 1994, PC magazine on this day came out with a column about a bill that was making its way through Congress that would make it illegal to use the Internet while intoxicated.
“I actually don't think that's an April Fools' joke. I think --- after reading the comments, I think that might be a really good idea,” Glenn joked.
Pat finished things up with this warning.
“Don't drink and surf," he said. "Don't do it.”