There is nothing like real, homegrown spaghetti.
On April 1, 1957, the BBC News television program, Panorama, produced a featured story on the Swiss spaghetti farmer.
It was a detailed, 3-minute segment that chronicled the first spaghetti harvest of the year.
Last two weeks of March is an anxious time for the spaghetti farmer. − Panorama
The piece explains that spaghetti farming is a family affair in Switzerland:
“Spaghetti cultivation here is Switzerland is not, of course, carried out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry[…]Many of you, I am sure, will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations of the Po valley.”
The biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled
This incredible news story was an April Fool’s Day prank. Much to my dismay, spaghetti does NOT grow on trees. However, the ever gullible public bought the story- hook, line, and sinker.
Panorama is a reputable news show. Couple the show’s reputation with the segment narrated by a respected broadcaster, Richard Dimbleby, and you have yourself a winning recipe for one of the greatest media hoaxes in history!
In 1957, spaghetti was not widely prevalent in the UK, which also added to the stories believability.
The idea for the story came about when a cameraman for the show remembered how his teachers teased his class for believing spaghetti grew on trees.
There are many hilariously memorable quotes from the piece. Here are a few of our favorites:
- “Another reason why this might be a bumper year lies in the virtual disappearance of the spaghetti weevil, the tiny creature whose depredations have caused much concern in the past.”
- “Many people are often puzzled by the fact that spaghetti is produced at such uniform length, but this is the result of many years of patient endeavor by plant breeders who succeeded in producing the ‘perfect spaghetti.'”
- When viewers called the BBC to ask how to grow their own spaghetti tree, they were told to “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”
Watch for yourself!
You may want to scrub past the first 30 seconds of credits.