The Associated Press reported that the mystery of the origin of April Fool's Day had finally been solved. Joseph Boskin, a Boston University professor, had discovered that the celebration began during the Fourth Century when Emperor Constantine jokingly appointed a court jester named Kugel as ruler for a day. As temporary ruler, Kugel immediately decreed that only the absurd would be allowed in the kingdom on that day. And so the tradition of April Fools was born. The AP story appeared in hundreds of papers, but several weeks later Boskin confessed that none of it was true. He had intended his story about Kugel the jester as a joke, but the AP reporter who had interviewed him had taken it seriously. Boskin noted that a Kugel is actually a kind of Jewish casserole. He also admitted that he didn't know how April Fool's Day began.
BMW's UK division ran an ad in British papers revealing that one of its engineers, Herr Blöhn, had designed a sunroof that could be kept open even in the rain, thanks to jets of air that blasted the water away from the top of the car. The system worked completely automatically, even in a car wash. Those seeking more information were directed to query Miss April Wurst in the BMW marketing department. The ad was the start of a long tradition of the company creating spoof ads every April 1st. In fact, BMW has been creating April Fool ads longer and more consistently than any other company that we're aware of, and the success of their ads played a large role in convincing other companies to run spoof ads on the first of April. This practice has now become so widespread that many companies say they feel compelled to create spoof ads for April 1, lest their customers think they lack a sense of humor.
New Scientist ran an article about the first successful plant-animal hybrid that had resulted in a tomato containing genes from a cow. The cow-tomato was said to have a tough leathery skin and grew discus-shaped clumps of animal protein sandwiched between an envelope of tomato fruit. The article included clues that it was a joke, such as the names of the researchers, MacDonald and Wimpey, who supposedly worked at the University of Hamburg. But these clues weren't recognized by the Brazilian science magazine Veja which ran a feature about the new cow-tomato hybrid several weeks later. Veja dubbed the hybrid Boimate, and even created a graphic to show how the cow-tomato hybridization process occurred. The magazine was subsequently relentlessly ridiculed in the Brazilian media, until it eventually apologized for its unfortunate mistake.