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Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon turns 90

The Ripley’s Believe It or Not cartoon panel will turn 90 years old tomorrow. The feature started by Robert Ripley in 1918 to fill space in the New York Globe. Robert took a file of “dubious athletic achievements” and created a feature called Champs and Chumps which was then later retitled to Perceive it or not.

According to an article in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, a boy named “Sparky” sent Robert a drawing of a “curiously talented dog.” Ripley ran the drawing with the caption “A hunting dog that eats pins, tacks, and razor blades is owned by C.F. Schulz, St. Paul, Minn” The C.F. Schulz was Charles “Sparky” Schulz who later created Peanuts

The current panel is drawn by John Graziano who works with an editor, an historian and archivist. He also has the muscle of the Ripley empire of museums and other attractions from around the world.

Graziano foresees another 90 years for the cartoon. “We never run out of weird stuff,” he says. And the company that Robert Ripley built from “the humble beginnings of a little cartoon” has turned into more than even Ripley might have believed.

Community Comments

#1 Ted Dawson
December/18/2008
@ 11:04 pm

I tried out for the feature several years ago. For research, I found an old book collection of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.” Ripley was a master draftsman and did absolutely beautiful work. As often as the “brand” is mentioned, I’ve never heard any discussion about Ripley as a cartoonist, which I find amazing and sad. He was truly one of our best cartoonists and, in his own way, a wonderful storyteller.

I posted a pic on my blog of the Ripley’s that featured Sparky’s first published cartoon, of the family dog that allegedly ate razorblades. It’s from my old, worn-out bible, “Charlie Brown & Charlie Schulz” (20th-anniversary edition).

#2 Jim Lavery
December/19/2008
@ 1:07 pm

90 years??? I don’t believe it.

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