Daily TWiP Archives

Something interesting has happened on (just about) every day of the year, and Daily TWiP provides the proof. An offshoot of my local events column The Week in Preview (affectionately known as TWiP), Daily TWiP was published April 2008-Aug. 2011 and is still giving readers reasons to celebrate.

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Daily TWiP – April 1, 1957: The BBC pulls off its infamous spaghetti tree hoax

April Fools’ Day just wouldn’t be April Fools’ Day without a prank or two. The BBC pulled off one of the most memorable hoaxes in holiday history April 1, 1957 when they featured a segment on the Swiss spaghetti harvest on the current affairs program “Panorama.”

The three-minute segment showed a family in southern Switzerland harvesting spaghetti noodles from their “spaghetti trees.” Renowned broadcaster Richard Dimbleby provided the narration, describing how the combination of a mild winter and limited interference from the dreaded spaghetti weevil had resulted in a bumper crop for the region.

The clip also included footage of a traditional spaghetti harvest festival and an explanation of how the spaghetti trees had been crossbred in order to produce noodles of just the right length.

At the time, spaghetti was not widely consumed in the United Kingdom, with most British considering it a foreign delicacy. So little was known about the true origins of spaghetti that the next day, telephones at the BBC were ringing off the hook with questions from curious viewers.

Some expressed doubt about the veracity of the program while others were eager for more detailed information. Some even asked how they could grow their own spaghetti trees. The BBC’s response? “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”

You can watch the infamous spaghetti tree hoax here. To this day, it is considered one of the most successful April Fools’ pranks ever pulled by a reputable news organization.

– Teresa Santoski


Originally published April 1, 2011.

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