Monday, October 27, 2008

The Spaghetti Harvest

The Spaghetti Harvest in Switzerland was first broadcast by the BBC on April 1, 1957. I'm old enough to have seen it on television in 1957—it was on the The Tonight Show with Jack Parr [On This Day].

I'm not sure that you could broadcast something like this today in North America. Most people wouldn't understand. New Scientist lists it as one of Seven of the greatest scientific hoaxes.


  1. The thing about that Spaghetti harvest hoax that people miss is that it had all the gravitas of Richard Dimbleby and Panorama behind it. We trusted him entirely, would have believed him if he said that the sun would not rise in the east tomorrow morning.

    Has anyone like Peter Mansbridge or Walter Cronkite ever deliberately hoaxed the public?

    BTW, I thought New Scientist's list and accounts pretty lame.

  2. I remember it too - an absolute classic.

    The other one I remember well, although it had nothing like the impact of the "Spaghetti Harvest" was when the Guardian newspaper spoofed their regular pull-out country supplements. They printed a detailed profile of a small island state called San Serriffe somewhere in the Pacific. The giveaway was the problematic nature of its location:

    San Serriffe’s exact location is a matter of dispute. It has been situated in the neighbourhood of the Seychelles, but it appears the island nation drifts as much as 1.4 km per year. Even this astonishing speed does not account for sightings of the archipelago in places as far-flung as the Bering Sea and just off New Zealand’s South Island.