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Ripley's Believe It or Not!Ripley's Believe It or Not! deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims. The "Believe It or Not" franchise started in 1918 as a newspaper cartoon panel featuring unusual, hard-to-believe facts from around the world. Conceived and drawn by Robert Ripley, the panel proved popular and was later adapted into a wide variety of formats, including a radio program, a television show, a chain of museums, a pinball game and a series of books. They are all owned by the company Ripley's Entertainment.
"Ripley’s Believe it or Not! is a registered trademark of Ripley Entertainment Inc." Originally involving sports feats, Ripley first called his feature Champs and Chumps, but less than a year later he changed the title to Believe It or Not, and it premiered on December 19, 1918 in the New York Globe. When the Globe folded in 1923, Ripley moved to the New York Evening News. That same year, Ripley hired Norbert Pearlroth as his researcher, and Pearlroth spent the next 52 years of his life in the New York Public Library, working ten hours a day and six days a week in order to find unusual facts for Ripley. Other writers and researchers included Lester Byck and Don Wimmer.
Artists who assisted Ripley or worked on the feature after Ripley included Joe Campbell (1946-1956), Art Sloggat, Clem Gretter (1941-1949), Carl Dorese, Bob Clarke (1943-1944), Stan Randall, Paul Frehm (1949-1978) and his brother Walter Frehm (1958-1978). Paul Frehm won the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for 1976 for his work on the series. Clarke later drew parodies of Believe It or Not! for Mad, as did Wally Wood.
At the peak of its popularity, the syndicated feature was read daily by about 80 million readers, and during the first three weeks of May, 1932, alone, Ripley received over two million pieces of fan mail. Dozens of paperback editions reprinting the newspaper panels have been published over the decades. Other strips and books borrowed the Ripley design and format, such as Strange As It Seems by John Hix and It Happened in Canada. Recent Ripley's Believe It or Not! books containing new material have mostly done away with comic art in favor of photographs.
Believe It or Not! was the first publication of artwork by Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. Schulz submitted a cartoon claiming his dog "Spike" (later the inspiration for Snoopy) was "a hunting dog who eats pins, tacks and razor blades."
All images and characters depicted on this site are copyright their respective holders, and are used for informational purposes only. No infringement is intended and copyrights remain at source.
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