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April Fools, Seattle!

The Space Needle collapsed.” Those were the words from the KING 5 Newsroom on April 1, 1989, that launched perhaps the most infamous April Fools’ Day prank in Seattle history and sent many in Washington state into a panic.

“A lot of people wanted us fired,” John Keister, host of KING TV’s sketch comedy show Almost Live, told KING 5’s Evening back in 2009 for the 20th anniversary of the event. The show’s writers had an idea. Hire someone who looked like a news reporter to break into programming, go on air for a special report, and tell viewers the Space Needle had collapsed. They went a step further, having the art department create a fake scene that made it look like the needle had, indeed, toppled onto nearby buildings.

But director and cast member Steve Wilson said after seeing the fake video footage, he was concerned people would believe it was real. Station management signed off on the prank, on the condition that it was made clear on the screen it was an April Fools’ Day joke… read more >

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