Spaghetti trees

In one of my all-time favourite hoaxes, in 1957 the BBC managed to convince the British public that spaghetti grows on trees.

Stiller Beobachter from Ansbach, Germany [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons
In the 1950s spaghetti was not widespread in Britain (it was “a bit exotic”), so the BBC programme Panorama filmed a hoax segment for April Fools Day.

The segment, narrated by veteran broadcaster Richard Dimbleby, showed a Swiss family harvesting spaghetti from trees, drying it in the sun, and then serving it up for dinner. All this was presented completely straight-faced, and viewers fell for it. Hundreds called in to the BBC to ask about acquiring their own spaghetti tree.

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