Smell-O-Vision: Who Remembers It? History Of The April Fools' Prank We Can't Forget

By Jacob Shelton
Circa 1959: American film producer Mike Todd Jr (left), Swiss inventor Hans Laube, and the 'Smell-O-Vision' machine, which produced smells in synchronization with action in a film. It was used for the 1960 film 'The Scent of Mystery.' (Photo by Hulton Arc

Smell-O-Vision was a way to add smell to television -- so said the BBC in a 1965 April Fool's Day report. The broadcaster pranked television audiences in England by claiming that they’d perfected Smell-O-Vision -- and as ridiculous as this sounds there’s actually precedent for visuals and smells bombarding viewers at the same time. Like 3-D and Percepto! before it, Smell-O-Vision was a short lived concept that never took off in theaters or at home, and it remains one of the strangest theatrical concepts that’s ever been dreamed up.