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Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

Ripley's Believe It Or Not dvd coverBefore there was Guinness World Records, Robert Ripley was drawing and recording bizarre and unusual facts, people and events.  Starting out as an artist that appeared in hundreds of newspapers, Ripley eventually took his collection of the unusual to the local theater, producing  a series of 24 shorts, each around 10 minutes long. Warner Archives has released the entire collection of these shorts in a two disc set.

The shorts all star Ripley, who is a bit stiff in front of the camera but becomes animated when asked to draw some of the people  he knows something about or ones he has met in world travels.  The shorts also include some animation and other early special effects, such as when Ripley draws a CHines boy and the boys appears in real life from the drawing. Each short takes place in a different locale, sometimes on a ship set, sometimes a studio, sometimes even faking a television broadcast but each centers around Ripley and his spouting of facts. Some of the facts are drawn by Ripley, some have photographs or movies accompanying them, and some are live demonstrations, such as the woman who can speak 200 words in 24 seconds, or the man who can grow and shrink before your eyes.

Since these shorts date back to early talkies, some damage is present and the sound is a bit shrill and harsh but overall these shorts are in good shape. Episode 5 seemed to suffer from a lot of flicker and jumps.

For those interested in film history or bizarre facts, “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” is just the ticket.

March 29, 2010 - Posted by | DVD review | , , , , ,

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