By Neal Thompson
An Amazon most sensible ebook of the Month, may perhaps 2013
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist became globetrotting millionaire who received foreign repute through celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to think within the unbelievable.
As portrayed by means of acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s lifestyles is the stuff of a vintage American fairy story. Buck-toothed and cursed via shyness, Ripley became his experience of being an intruder 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 used to be his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly well known radio exhibits it birthed that may make him probably the most winning leisure figures of his time and spur him to look the globe’s farthest corners for weird and wonderful evidence, unique human curiosities, and surprising phenomena.
Ripley overjoyed in making outrageous declarations that in some way 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 famous person Spangled Banner” was once not the nationwide anthem. Assisted by means of an unique harem of girl admirers and by way of ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a loyal researcher who spoke 11 languages, Ripley at the same time embodied the spirit of Peter Pan, the fearlessness of Marco Polo and the promoting savvy of P. T. Barnum.
In a truly genuine feel, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded recognize in the event you have been categorized “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether or not it's E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the guy who may possibly swallow his personal nose.
By the Nineteen Thirties Ripley possessed an unlimited 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 whatever deep within the American consciousness—a flavor for the titillating and unique, and a fascination with the quickest, greatest, dumbest and most unearthly. this day, that legacy maintains and will be obvious in fact television, YouTube, America’s Funniest domestic video clips, Jackass, MythBusters and a number of alternative pop-culture phenomena.
In the tip Robert L. Ripley replaced everything. The very best irony of his existence, which used to be devoted to exalting the unusual and weird, is that he can have been the main striking oddity of all.
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Additional resources for A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
Ironically, as the news of their impending marriage filtered through their social circle, the strongest objections came not from Viola’s family but from Theos’s. When they heard the news, both his father and his uncle were opposed to the marriage: Glen because he thought Viola was merely a tool being used by Pierre to get his hooks into his son, and Pierre because he feared Theos was stealing one of his principal funders—a fear that was quite justified. Theos managed to persuade his father that his fears were ungrounded, or at least, not unseen by Theos himself and marginal given the potential benefits.
By 1935, the Department of the Interior was prepared to implement the provisions of the act across the country. Hearing that the BIA was seeking lawyers with anthropological experience, Theos would have considered himself a perfect candidate for one of the posts—were it not for his health. Concerned about the lasting effects of Theos’s early illness, Viola insisted that he visit a cardiac specialist. The doctor’s findings were not good. indb 20 12/20/11 9:22 AM Theos’s chest x-rays revealed an enlarged and weakened heart with potentially life-threatening valve lesions.
Not everyone was as confident of Theos’s abilities as he was, from Collier in his assessment of his reports to his colleagues’ lack of faith in his ability to safely drive a car. One rainy evening in particular, “with the rain all day, the road home was like a sheet of ice; so even the return was unusually frustrating. Molly drove. They would not trust me. ” Putting the best face on things, Theos decided to return to New York in time for the start of classes, although he had originally planned otherwise.