Hunt the Gowk Day: What April Fools’ Day used to be called in Scotland. “Gowk” is an old Scottish word for a foolish person. A traditional prank involved sending the “gowk” to deliver a sealed message. The message instructed the recipient, “Dinna laugh, dinna smile. Hunt the gowk another mile.” The recipient would then send the victim onward to another person, bearing an identical sealed message. The joke went on until either the “gowk” got wise to what was going on, or someone took pity on him.
Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell pulled a huge prank on Americans on April Fools’ Day. In full-page ads in major newspapers in the U.S., Taco Bell claimed it had purchased the Liberty Bell and renamed it the Taco Liberty Bell. The company received thousands of calls and generated nearly $25 million in free publicity from this prank.
Flying Penguins: A BBC video, aired on April 1, 2008, tried to make viewers believe in flying penguins. BBC announced that camera crews filming near the Antarctic for its natural history series, Miracles of Evolution, had captured footage of Adélie penguins flying. In the video, presenter Terry Jones explained that these penguins flew thousands of miles to the rainforests of South America where they spend the winter basking in the tropical sun. Later, BBC said that it was a joke and offered another video explaining how the special effects made the penguins fly.
Python: The cause of a non-April Fools’ day joke at Google. As a company, Google has a long tradition of celebrating April Fools’ Day, both in their corporate offices and various web platforms. However, an emergency memo that happened to go out to employees on April 1st was anything but a joke. A Google engineer’s three-foot-long python, Kaiser, got loose from its pen and wandered through the halls of the company’s New York offices. The company sent out a memo warning people about the loose creature, but several wrote it off as a joke, and company officials had to assure them it wasn’t. Thankfully, the snake was found and returned to its owner unharmed.
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