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Q: Comic Documentary Film Clip: Harvesting Spaghetti ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: Comic Documentary Film Clip: Harvesting Spaghetti
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Television
Asked by: pih1-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 14 Mar 2006 14:13 PST
Expires: 13 Apr 2006 15:13 PDT
Question ID: 707294
In the late 1950s or in the 1960s there was an episode the Jack Paar
tonight show in which he showed a BBC documentary film clip about the
"Spaghetti Harvest".  In it, villagers in a small town in southern
Italy harvested the spaghetti crop from trees, dried the harvest in
the sun and celebrated with traditional dances.  This was obviously a
spoof.  The announcer was a well know British announcer with a name
that sounded something like "Richard Dimblebrot".  I would like to
obtain a copy of the clip or of the Jack Paar episode in which it was
shown for use in a graduate case discussion.
Subject: Re: Comic Documentary Film Clip: Harvesting Spaghetti
Answered By: pinkfreud-ga on 14 Mar 2006 15:04 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
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

Or here:

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
own crop.

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
Harvest" segment:

"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.

Best regards,
pih1-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $5.00
This is a great answer.  Quality of the referenced film clip was poor however.

Subject: Re: Comic Documentary Film Clip: Harvesting Spaghetti
From: pinkfreud-ga on 19 Mar 2006 11:43 PST
Thank you very much for the five stars and the nice tip!

Subject: Re: Comic Documentary Film Clip: Harvesting Spaghetti
From: pinkfreud-ga on 20 Mar 2006 13:03 PST
I've done some additional searching for a better online clip, and have
come up dry. It appears that the only way to get a high-quality copy
of this film may be to obtain a VHS tape from the BBC Television
Archive, as mentioned above.

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