Ripley's Believe It or Not! is an American franchise, founded by Robert Ripley, which deals in bizarre events and items so strange and unusual that readers might question the claims.
The Believe It or Not panel proved popular and was later adapted into a wide variety of formats, including radio, television, a chain of museums, a book series and a pinball game.
The most recent television series based upon the comic strip, once again titled Ripley's Believe It or Not!, aired in the USA on TBS, from 2000-2003. Hosted by actor Dean Cain, the series takes a slightly more sensationalistic approach to its subject matter than previous ones.
There are 88 hour-long episodes in four seasons.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! (the Dean Cain version) originally aired in South Africa on SABC3, from 18 January, 2001 to 21 April, 2004. It later aired on e.tv.
See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Ripley's Believe It or Not! debuted in 1918 as a single-panel cartoon in New York's Globe newspaper and was an immediate hit with readers. After the cartoon was picked up by King Features in 1929, it grew into an international success.
The franchise extended its reach to the radio airwaves in 1930, first as segments on The Collier Hour, then as its own show.
A television version premiered in 1949, with creator Robert L. Ripley himself as its host. He emceed the show until his death later that year. In the early '80s, movie tough-guy Jack Palance hosted a second incarnation of the show.
Now this classic series returns, serving up new tales of the bizarre, the outlandish and the seemingly impossible. In addition to reports from around the globe, each episode features amazing stunts, recorded live without the use of camera tricks or electronic fakery.
Hosted by actor Dean Cain, the new Ripley's Believe It or Not! celebrates the passion and commitment, and in some cases art, that inspires today's most amazing expressions of human potential.
Robert L. Ripley
Robert L. Ripley is a name synonymous with the strange, the fantastic and the bizarre. It is a name that is familiar the world over, having been printed since 1918 in more than 300 newspapers and translated into 17 different languages. It is a name that is associated with outlandish claims and fantastic truths.
Little did Ripley realize, when he sold his first cartoon in 1908 to Life magazine, that he had opened the floodgates of fame that would make his name one of the world's most recognizable.
Ripley was born on 25 December, 1893, in Santa Rosa, California, to parents who were by no means well-to-do. From an early age, he was very interested in drawing. But it was not until he turned 14 and sold his first cartoon (for $8) that the young boy realized drawing would be his life's work.
He began applying his talent to his daily life, convincing his schoolteachers that he could better express himself through drawing than through writing essays.
Ripley's other passion was baseball. The grand, glorious pastime beckoned the young man, and he eventually earned some local notoriety as a pitcher. But his dreams of fame on the diamond were cut short by an elbow injury.
At age 15, just one year after selling his first cartoon, young Ripley landed a job as a sports cartoonist — thus combining his two favourite passions — for the San Francisco Chronicle, but his tenure there was short-lived after he audaciously asked for a raise.
In 1913, with no job and little money, Ripley trekked across the country to the beckoning metropolis of New York, soon obtaining a position at the New York Globe, where he earned the then astronomical salary of $100 a week.
Ripley's move to New York and comfortable finances opened up a whole new world to him, and in 1914 he traveled abroad for the first time. On the itinerary were London, Paris and Rome, each of which boasted some of the world's greatest museums. Ripley made sure he saw as many of them as time would allow.
His work soon attracted great notoriety. Many people who wrote to Ripley included their own drawings, in the hope that he would be inspired to use their ideas for a Ripley's Believe It or Not! installment.
In 1937, young Peanuts creator Charles Schulz was first published when he sent in a cartoon about his dog Sparky's ability to eat pins, tacks, screws and razor blades. Sparky served as the model for Schulz's world-famous cartoon character, Snoopy.
During his broadcasting career, Ripley celebrated many firsts. He was the first to broadcast on a nationwide network from mid-ocean, the first to broadcast from Buenos Aires to New York and the first to broadcast to every nation in the world simultaneously, assisted by a corps of linguists who translated his message.
(Each season consists of 22 hour-long episodes)
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 18 Jan 2001 | Finale: 14 Jun 2001 | Thursdays, 20h30
Channel: e.tv | Premiere: 27 Sep 2008 | Finale: 21 Feb 2009 | Saturdays, 18h05
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 5 Jul 2001 | Finale: 29 Nov 2001 | Thursdays, 20h30
Channel: e.tv | Premiere: 28 Feb 2009 | Finale: 25 Jul 2009 | Saturdays, 18h05
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 31 Oct 2002 | Finale: 3 Apr 2003 | Thursdays, 20h30
Channel: e.tv | Premiere: 1 Aug 2009 | Finale: 26 Dec 2009 | Saturdays, 18h05
Channel: SABC3 | Premiere: 26 Nov 2003 | Finale: 21 Apr 2004 | Wednesdays, 20h30
Channel: e.tv | Premiere: 2 Jan 2010 | Finale: 29 May 2010 | Saturdays, 18h05