The Joke’s On You: A Look Back at April Fool’s Pranks on Game Shows

Around this time of year, many game shows mark the annual “holiday” by airing a special April Fool’s episode filled with zany and backwards stunts in an attempt to “fool” the audience such as swapping hosts and making ridiculous changes to the set. This year, The Price Is Right continues the Day of Fool’s tradition by airing yet another April Fool’s show this Monday and the models will be taking over the show by hosting the episode while Drew Carey and announcer George Gray will take the models’ place. If it’s anything like every other The Price Is Right April Fool’s specials within the past five seasons since 2008, this year’s special will not disappoint. At any rate, today’s feature article will spotlight game shows that have taken part in the foolishness and shenanigans that is April Fool’s Day starting way back when in 1975

The Price Is Right April Fool’s 1975 Showcase

One of the earliest April Fool’s game show pranks dates back to April 1, 1975 on The Price Is Right. In this episode, after the first Showcase was shown and bid on, the top winner in the final round will now have a chance to view her Showcase. It begins with a typical opening prize: a dining room set. From there, everything goes downhill quickly. Check it out in the clip below.

Since then, The Price Is Right would periodically continued to air April Fool’s episodes filled with faux Showcases, malfunctioning props, fake, broken prizes, and misplaced cues. Check out some more Price Is Right April Fool’s specials in the links below:

April Fool’s 1976
April Fool’s 1983
April Fool’s 1987
April Fool’s 2008
April Fool’s 2009
April Fool’s 2010
April Fool’s 2011

Game Show Network’s 2003 “Hosts Swap”

In 2003, when GSN was formerly known as Game Show Network, the network’s lineup of original shows all aired special April Fool’s shows where four of the network’s hosts swapped shows for a day. Kennedy (Friend or Foe) hosted WinTuition, Todd Newton (Whammy!) hosted Russian Roulette, Mark Walberg (Russian Roulette) hosted Friend or Foe, Marc Summers (WinTuition) hosted Cram and Gram Elwood (Cram) hosted Whammy! Here’s a clip of Todd Newton hosting Russian Roulette.

 

Wheel & Jeopardy! Trading Places 

The Merv Griffin game shows, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, did something similar in 1997 with Pat Sajak and Alex Trebek swapped shows for a day. Wheel’s 1997 April Fool’s is probably the most memorable of the two that day not only because Alex Trebek hosted the show, also the viewers had a chance to see Pat and Vanna spin the wheel for charity and to see Pat Sajak’s wife as a letter-turner for the day. Click here to find out who won the game between the “dynamic duo” and check out Sajak hosting Jeopardy! in the video below.

Wheel of Fortune: Pat Goes Bald! 

The next time we would see Wheel pull an April Fool’s prank would be in 2008 during the show’s 25th season in syndication. Not only did Sajak pull a fast one on the audience and home viewers, but also on Vanna as well. Check out Vanna’s reaction to Sajak’s “ ‘Hair’ Today, Gone Tomorrow” joke in the clip below.

Hollywood Squares: Unlikely Contestants

In a generic 1988 episode of Hollywood Squares, host John Davidson was informed that that current 4-time champion, Greg, had fallen ill and two new contestants were brought in to play the game. The first question into the game, one of the contestants accuses her opponent of cheating and peeking at the answer on the host’s card. If you haven’t seen this clip before, you won’t believe what happens next that left John Davidson mouth agape in awe and disbelief. Take a gander!

A similar April Fool’s prank was pulled on Tom Bergeron in 2003 when he is faced with the challenge of dealing with perhaps the two most difficult contestants the series has ever seen. Watch the clip below to check out how Bergeron handles the situation with grace, composure, and a little bit of sarcasm and hostility.

Check out the other game shows, such as The Challengers, Tattletales, that have pulled April Fool’s pranks on contestants, host, and home viewers. Don’t forget to check out the special episodes of The Price Is Right and Let’s Make A Deal later this morning on CBS (check your local listings) and the GSN premiere of Sale of the Century at 9:30am EST! And that’s no joke! Happy April Fool’s Day everyone! Enjoy and prank responsibly!

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