Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: In 1984 a newspaper announced a Daylight Saving Time contest to see who could save the most daylight.
Examples: [United Press International, 1984]
Origins: In the announcement that prompted the above-quoted UPI report, Bob Ellis, the Eldorado Daily Journal's managing editor, promised: "All entries will be donated to less fortunate nations that do not observe Daylight Savings Time." What, pray tell, was the rationale behind this odd contest? As Ellis was quoted:
It's about time that someone recognized how valuable Daylight Savings Time is to us. It allows us to participate in so many more activities during the summer.It was also — and much more importantly — a salute to the leg-pulling abilities of one Bob Ellis. This beautifully tongue-in-cheek piece ended with a note that the rules were being announced early (until 1987, DST began on the last Sunday in April, not the first) because "it seemed appropriate to coordinate the announcement with Sunday,
We are a nation of hard-working people, and this unique time schedule lets us enjoy ourselves after we get away from the day's labors. This will be a salute to the American worker and how he uses his free time.
More than one news outlet missed the significance of that seemingly gratuitous statement:
Ellis was stunned by the response. He was relaxing at home when the first call came, from CBS in San Francisco; they wanted to interview him for a live national radio broadcast. An hour later, it was NBC in New YorkMoral of the story: even the most clear-cut, light-hearted April Fools' jest will take in somebody. Oftentimes the people you least expect it to.
Barbara "media blitz" Mikkelson
Last updated: 2 April 2006
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