1992
1992

Belgium Divides

The London Times reported that formal negotiations were underway to divide Belgium in half. The Dutch-speaking north would join the Netherlands and the French-speaking south would join France. An editorial in the paper lamented that,

The fun will go from that favorite parlor game: Name five famous Belgians.

The report fooled many, including the British foreign office minister, Tristan Garel-Jones, who almost went on a TV interview prepared to discuss this important story. The Belgian embassy also received numerous calls from journalists and expatriate Belgians seeking to confirm the news. A rival paper later criticized the prank, saying that,

The Times's effort could only be defined as funny if you find the very notion of Belgium hilarious.

Welcome To Chicago!

Airline passengers descending into Los Angeles Airport might have experienced a momentary feeling of panic when they looked out the window and saw an 85-foot-long yellow banner on the ground that spelled out, in 20-foot-high red letters, Welcome to Chicago. It was raised above the Hollywood Park race track, which lay directly along the flight path for arriving planes, about three miles from the airport. Park spokesman Brock Sheridan explained,

It was something we always wanted to do. We thought it would be kind of funny and our new management... thought it would be a great practical joke.

The sign remained up for two days.

Nixon for President

National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation revealed that Richard Nixon, in a surprise move, was running for President again. His new campaign slogan was,

I didn't do anything wrong, and I won't do it again.

Accompanying this announcement were audio clips of Nixon delivering his candidacy speech. Listeners responded viscerally to the announcement, flooding the show with calls expressing shock and outrage. Only during the second half of the show did the host John Hockenberry reveal that the announcement was a practical joke. Nixon's voice was impersonated by comedian Rich Little.