I am old enough to remember this quite vividly. I asked my parents
whether it was true that spaghetti grew on trees! Jack Paar lifted the
fake documentary about the spaghetti harvest from a BBC news show,
which had initially aired the footage as an April Fool's prank on
April 1, 1957.
If you have RealPlayer installed on your computer, you can view "The
Swiss Spaghetti Harvest" here:
BBC News: April Fool
Whirligig TV: Panorama
More on the "Spaghetti Harvest" mockumentary:
"On April 1, 1957 the British news show, Panorama, broadcast a segment
about a bumper spaghetti harvest in southern Switzerland. The success
of the crop was attributed to an unusually mild winter. The audience
heard Richard Dimbleby, the show's highly respected anchor, discussing
the details of the spaghetti crop as they watched a rural Swiss family
pulling pasta off spaghetti trees and placing it into baskets.
'The spaghetti harvest here in Switzerland is not, of course, carried
out on anything like the tremendous scale of the Italian industry,"
Dimbleby informed the audience. 'Many of you, I'm sure,' he continued,
'will have seen pictures of the vast spaghetti plantations in the Po
valley. For the Swiss, however, it tends to be more of a family
The narration then continued in a tone of absolute seriousness..."
Museum of Hoaxes
"Not everybody was amused by the BBC's famous spaghetti harvest documentary.
Hundreds of people called the corporation after the broadcast asking
where they could get hold of a spaghetti bush so they could grow their
And many viewers - including BBC staff - who had been taken in by the
Panorama April Fool criticised the use of a serious factual programme
to make an elaborate joke.
But the broadcast, which showed a Swiss family harvesting spaghetti
from trees, has gone down as one of the best April Fools of all time."
BBC On This Day: Spaghetti fools
If you'd like to obtain this material on videotape, you may want to
contact the BBC Television Archive:
"Selected material will be sent out on VHS. When you've chosen the
clips you want to use, just contact BBC Motion Gallery on 020 8433
2861 to arrange a licence. Contributor and third party permission will
also need to be arranged for use of any material."
BBC Research Central: BBC Television Archive
You might also want to check with your school's library to see whether
they may have this video collection, which contains the "Spaghetti
"Scanning Television, 51 short videos for media literacy studies, Neil
Andersen, Kathleen Tyner and John J. Pungente, Face to Face
Media/Harcourt Canada, 2003 (2nd ed)...
There is only one UK clip - the 1950s spoof Panorama programme in
which Richard Dimbleby introduces the spaghetti harvest in
MediaEd: Television worth talking about
My Google search strategy:
Google Web Search: "jack paar" "spaghetti harvest"
Thanks for a question that brought back many memories! I hope this is
helpful. If anything is unclear or incomplete, please request
clarification; I'll be glad to offer further assistance before you
rate my answer.