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April Fools' Day history? Be wary of those who say they know.

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Days later, he was flying to Los Angeles to interview Norman Lear, producer of "All in the Family," to write a history of the television show. When his flight landed, the airport intercom called his name, telling him to go to the nearest white phone. It was BU's press relations office again, saying it had set up an interview between him and the Associated Press to talk about the history of April Fools' Day.

"I said, 'You know, I was just jiving,' " Boskin recalls. "I protested and said I couldn’t do it. She said, 'Oh no, you must call him.' "

Later that day, Boskin got on the phone with an AP reporter in New York City. "I said, 'I know nothing about April Fools' Day.' And the reporter said something like, 'You’re being modest.... What are the origins?' "

Boskin relented, spinning a yarn that the holiday originated in Istanbul in the court of Constantine when "the jesters decided to unionize." The king was so amused that he agreed to give up the throne to a jester for the day. The first-ever April fool was Kugel (Boskin thought of the name because his friend especially enjoyed the Jewish pudding), who declared it a day of absurdities.

"All I could hear in the background was click, click, click," Boskin says, mimicking the sound of the reporter's clacking typewriter. After the AP printed the story, Boskin got calls from the "Today" show and newspapers around the US and Canada. Only weeks later, in one of his history classes, did he reveal the hoax to his students. Unbeknown to Boskin, the school newspaper's editor in chief was in the class, and the professor's confession appeared on the front page the next day.

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