HAGGARD, TENN> -- Sadie King, 80, joined in the laughter when told that the million dollars she won was a hoax.
Yesterday, with much fanfare, balloons, and advance publicity, the Publisher's Clearing House van pulled up to Mrs. King's rather decrepit mobile home in this town of eight thousand, and presented her with a million-dollar check which she was told she won in the latest drawing.
Neighbors cheered and congratulated Mrs. King, who, with tears of joy, accepted the check. " I can get off welfare and Medicaid now" she told the gathered TV crews, " and get the electricity turned back on!"
The following day, when Mrs. King went to the local bank to open an account, Lem O'Flynn, the bank manager called her attention to the signature on the check... 'N.O. Goode' ." " I'm afraid someone is playing a joke on you, Mrs. King," he said sadly.
O'Flynn phoned up Publisher's Clearing House where a spokesman said that they thought it would be a great April Fool's joke to distribute several "faux" checks to "winners" throughout the country. "Good publicity!" said the spokesman. " We are giving each of the ones fooled, a year's subscription to 'Alaska Fisherman' which I'm sure they will enjoy."
Mrs. King laughed heartedly. She, Mr. O'Flynn, and the entire town thought it was a great joke and hoped it would be repeated on a yearly basis.