By Neal Thompson
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or now not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist grew to become globetrotting millionaire who received overseas status via celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to think within the unbelievable.
As portrayed by way of acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s existence is the stuff of a vintage American fairy story. Buck-toothed and cursed by means of shyness, Ripley became his experience of being an interloper into an appreciation for the strangeness of the realm. After promoting his first comic strip to Time magazine at age eighteen, extra cartooning triumphs undefined, however it was once his “Believe It or now not” conceit and the wildly renowned radio exhibits it birthed that will make him some of the most profitable leisure figures of his time and spur him to look the globe’s farthest corners for extraordinary proof, unique human curiosities, and surprising phenomena.
Ripley extremely joyful in making outrageous declarations that by some means continually grew to become out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh used to be basically the sixty-seventh guy to fly around the Atlantic or that “The superstar Spangled Banner” was once not the nationwide anthem. Assisted by way of an unique harem of girl admirers and via ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a loyal researcher who spoke 11 languages, Ripley concurrently embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the selling savvy of P. T. Barnum.
In a really actual feel, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded admire in the event you have been classified “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it's E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the fellow who might swallow his personal nose.
By the Thirties Ripley possessed an enormous fortune, a personal yacht, and a twenty-eight room mansion stocked with such “oddities” as shrunken heads and medieval torture units, and his pioneering firsts in print, radio, and tv have been tapping into anything deep within the American consciousness—a style for the titillating and unique, and a fascination with the quickest, greatest, dumbest and most unearthly. at the present time, that legacy maintains and will be obvious in fact television, YouTube, America’s Funniest domestic movies, Jackass, MythBusters and a bunch of alternative pop-culture phenomena.
In the tip Robert L. Ripley replaced everything. The perfect irony of his lifestyles, which was once devoted to exalting the unusual and strange, is that he could have been the main notable oddity of all.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Extra info for A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Believe It or Not! Ripley
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert Believe It or Not! Ripley by Neal Thompson