Last year, on this very night, I was writing a really cool gag post on London After Midnight. I knew it would be a perfect thing to post for April Fools Day. This is also Lon Chaney’s Birthday…
I cooked up an elaborate fraud and posted it, neither the first nor the last of such things, and I made it really sound believable. That was the problem, I guess.
It wasn’t the first one of these I’d done. I always posted something cool on the old alt.movies.silent newsgroup, but that’s now been overtaken with spam and endless posts about whether Irving Thalberg was the spawn of satan (I kid you not on that last piece… I gave up on it after about 20 of those.)
I’d never done London After Midnight because it’s so obviously bogus, but I had a couple of nice pictures and a good lie cooked up, and what fun it is for April 1st.
To add to the fun, and make it clear that this was a joke, I added a news item about the Dr. Film show being picked up by TCM. If you follow the blog and the site at all, then you know that this is something that is likely never going to happen, and that was the whole joke of it.
Well, the TCM message boards got hold of it, and they went nuts. I got emails from all over the world, my readership skyrocketed (only for a day, mind you), and people told me that I was the spawn of satan (and here I thought it was Irving Thalberg.)
Of course, I didn’t post it to the TCM board, and I wasn’t even a member. I had to become a member to post a response to my lambasting. It was generally felt that I was trying to get publicity for a weak and/or failed web site and that this was going to put me on the map.
Genius idea… wish I’d thought of it. Didn’t work anyway.
The net result was that my blog posts have gained some traction, but only later in the year, I still get an occasional nastygram from someone on the TCM message boards (which I can’t do anything about), and Dr. Film didn’t get any more recognition than it had ever received… and that was pretty minimal from the start.
Oh, yeah, there’s one more upshot. There’s going to be no April Fool joke this year. I can’t stand the noise. I had a good one, too.
Last year’s blog:
And the firestorm from the TCM board (again from last year… note that this is reverse chronological order from newest to oldest.)
Will the April Fool return next year? I’m not sure yet, but I wouldn’t count on it!