The BBC once convinced people spaghetti grows on trees for April Fools’
Another year, another April Fools’ Day where social media feeds are lit up with a bunch of crazy stories. Well, more so than usual. Well, slightly more so than usual.
Reality has gotten so weird that sometimes the April Fools’ posts aren’t nearly as bizarre as the truth. From racist AI to Nazi occult libraries, how far do you have to go to make up something that is too outrageous to believe?
That seems like a recent problem, but it isn’t. There have been April Fools’ Day stories going back decades, and despite how outrageous they are, there are always people that believe them.
Case in point: In 1957 the BBC decided to have a little fun during one of its news broadcasts on April 1. It ran a story, which you can watch below, claiming that spaghetti was actually grown on trees.
Most people, of course, got the joke right away. Some, however, did not.
According to the Telegraph, a significant number of people called in and asked how to grow their own spaghetti trees. The BBC replied “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
To be fair, at the time spaghetti and most pasta was still something of a novelty in the UK. Plus, the announcer sounds so official. There’s also a quick line about how most of the viewers have likely seen the Italian spaghetti fields, which sort of puts people into a corner. “Of course, we’ve seen the pictures, we’re not unworldly, not like the Smiths down the street,” or whatever.
But still. Spaghetti is a form of pasta, and pasta is typically made of dough, wheat, water, and eggs. It’s been around since at least the 12th century. Trees are not involved.
The hoax actually began as a joke. When he was a student, cameraman Charles de Jaeger had a teacher that used to say the class was so stupid they probably thought spaghetti grew from trees. He mentioned that to his BBC bosses, who decided to run with it.
And thus, an April Fools’ Day legend was born.