Robert Ripley
Guy Lochhead, 07/09/10
American cartoonist and entrepreneur who created the ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’ franchise. After an injury halted his attempts at a baseball career, Ripley became a professional cartoonist and writer. Initially writing sports trivia, he branched out to write about all manner of oddities, travelling all over the world (reportedly 198 countries) to collect extraordinary stories. The ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’ brand expanded to radio, television, theme parks and other public attractions. Ripley captured the public imagination, but the sensationalist presentation of his subjects gives his work a freakshow element that I don’t like at all. He became hugely wealthy from expanding his franchise to a point that was completely removed from his ‘did you know’ origins. He spent his money on cars he couldn’t drive, many houses, and many boats. Not cool. I am more interested in his fact-checker, a very talented man called Norbert Pearlroth. I may be interested in some of the things in his books, but I’d rather include those things independent of Ripley.

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