April Fool’s Day joke: BBC’s Spaghetti-Tree filmed in Ticino

The OltreconfiniTi is an excellent Web site for those seeking information on emigration from the Canton Ticino, southern Switzerland. The website was first launched in 2013, and it has a true repository function filled with valuable information about the emigration. 

One of the latest initiatives of OlteconfiniTI is to collect all movies and reportages that have been filmed in Ticino. Starting from 1915 up to the present days, its database is impressive comprising more than 130 fiction movies. It has movies for all tastes and for everyone: from Leni Riefenstahl (Das Blaue Licht 1932 shot in Foroglio Valle Maggia) up to James Bond/Pierce Brosnan with a breathtaking scene of a beautiful jump from the Contra dam of the Valle Verzasca. There is a wealth of famous international cinematographic directors and actors who worked in the Canton Ticino. 

Insubrica Historica admired in 2017, during the Film Festival in Locarno, the exhibition, held in Minusio in the Centro Elisarion, that was devoted to all major movies and reportages produced in Switzerland. They have put emphasis on the cinematographic heritage of the Insubrica region.

Insubrica Historca for this 1st April brings you a BBC reportage which was first broadcasted in April 1957 in the UK, with the title “The spaghetti-tree”. It was a brief  broadcast that lasted only three minutes shown on 1 April Fool’s Day. It visualised a family living in Ticino, harvesting spaghetti from a “spaghetti tree”.

This short reportage was originally based on Albert Kuntz’s idea, who was the managing director of the Swiss Tourism Office in London at that time. The production was realized by Charles de Jaeger (1911-2000) from the BBC channel. The actors, who, unfortunately, have all already past away at present, were ordinary employees of the Lugano Tourist Office.  The restaurant Taddei, shown at 1m55sec, has been long gone and has become today the Historical Archive of Città di Lugano, which is worth visiting.

At that time, the spaghetti were relatively little known in the UK, so that many Britons were unaware of their production procedures as well as their ingredients that included simply some wheat flour and water. As a matter of fact, a great number of viewers contacted afterwards the British Broadcasting Corporation asking for valuable pieces of advice on how to grow their own spaghetti-trees at their backyard.

According to CNN, this broadcast was even “the biggest hoax that any reputable news establishment ever pulled“.  Enjoy the hoax !

Visits:

Historical Archive of Città di Lugano visit also the nearby Museum of the Latvian poets and writers Rainis and Aspazijawhich lived in Castagnola.

Valle Verzasca – Contra Waterdam famous location for bungee jumping

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