Was This the Absolute Worst Prank in Massachusetts History?
It's no secret that Massachusetts has a crazy, long history. It's a rich history that historians may say is filled with prestige and innovativeness. However, as there is with any state, there are blemishes. One prank in particular is one we wish we could omit from the Bay State's history. Unfortunately, pranks can either go too far, can be in bad taste, or just go completely wrong. Massachusetts has had one that definitely went off the rails, and it took place over 40 years ago.
On April 1, 1980 (April Fool's Day), a newscast on WNAC-TV, which is now WHDH concluded its 6 p.m. showing with a bulletin that Great Blue Hill in Milton, MA had 'erupted'. Great Blue Hill is not a volcano. Keep in mind, this came just five days after the March 27th eruption of Mount St. Helens in the state of Washington. *Insert facepalm emoji here*
While there doesn't seem to be any YouTube video of the 1980 newscast, there are records of what was reported, like what 'Newsweek' put in their story on '...April Fool's Day Pranks That Went Wrong':
On April 1, 1980, a hill in Milton, Massachusetts began spewing flames and lava. Or so claimed a broadcast produced by Boston TV news producer Homer Cilley. Cilley left no stone unturned and the broadcast included real footage from eruptions at Mount Saint Helens in Washington and a fake warning from then-President Jimmy Carter. The card at the end of the segment read "April Fool" but that didn't stop several panicked citizens from calling emergency lines.
Cilley, meanwhile, was fired shortly afterwards.
The effects in the wrongly-timed newscast were likely to look something like this...
Obviously, none of what was reported actually happened. These are the actual types views that you might get from the Great Blue Hill, within the Blue Hills Reservation in Milton, MA...
There is no volcano in Massachusetts. However, as mentioned, there were viewers that took the broadcast seriously and were not at all happy with the attempted prank. Perhaps this may be the worst prank ever attempted in Massachusetts' history.