Tempted as I was to concoct an April fools’ prank of my own, the idea seemed a little askance as a fake news story got me hook, line and sinker this morning. I blame it on the fact that I was reading the internet before eating breakfast. Still, my temporary shame didn’t stop me from feeling like an April fool’s titan as I recollected for my girlfriend the story of the time I convinced a co-worker that I had been drafted by various space agencies to take part in a long-term isolation study. Legendary as that prank became, it doesn’t hold a candle to the grandmaster of practical jokes, Orson Welles.
Brilliant as Welles was for Citizen Kane, I’ll always remember him, first and foremost, for his War of the Worlds radio broadcast. Citizen Kane is actually third on my list of Orson Welles greatness. Welles’ voice acting as the planet-eating transformer Unicron lands in the second spot on my list – oh Orson, were you that desperate for work?
On October 30, 1938, Welles induced mass hysteria and subsequent public outrage as his CBS radio broadcast told the story of a Martian invasion of the Earth. Apparently, some people found the whole thing in bad taste what with war brewing in Europe. So on this most hilarious day when we spend hours on end developing elaborate schemes to embarrass and humiliate co-workers, friends and loved ones, let’s take a moment to give credit to the man who continues to inspire pranksters around the world.
Since nothing can possibly top that interview, I’m going to call that your geek news for April 1, 2011. Via con Yoda.