By Neal Thompson
An Amazon top publication of the Month, might 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 status by means of celebrating the world's strangest oddities, and whose outrageous showmanship taught us to think within the unbelievable.
As portrayed via acclaimed biographer Neal Thompson, Ripley’s existence is the stuff of a vintage American fairy story. Buck-toothed and cursed through shyness, Ripley became his experience of being an interloper into an appreciation for the strangeness of the realm. After promoting his first caricature to Time magazine at age eighteen, extra cartooning triumphs undefined, however it was once his “Believe It or Not” conceit and the wildly renowned radio indicates it birthed that will make him probably the most winning leisure figures of his time and spur him to go looking the globe’s farthest corners for extraordinary proof, unique human curiosities, and surprising phenomena.
Ripley overjoyed in making outrageous declarations that in some way continuously became out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh used to be merely the sixty-seventh guy to fly around the Atlantic or that “The celebrity Spangled Banner” used to be not the nationwide anthem. Assisted by means of an unique harem of girl admirers and via ex-banker Norbert Pearlroth, a faithful 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 genuine experience, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded recognize in case you have been categorized “eccentrics” or “freaks”—whether it's E. L. Blystone, who wrote 1,615 alphabet letters on a grain of rice, or the guy 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 whatever deep within the American consciousness—a flavor for the titillating and unique, and a fascination with the quickest, largest, dumbest and weirdest. this present day, that legacy maintains and will be noticeable actually television, YouTube, America’s Funniest domestic movies, Jackass, MythBusters and a number of alternative pop-culture phenomena.
In the tip Robert L. Ripley replaced everything. The best irony of his existence, which used to be devoted to exalting the unusual and weird, is that he can have been the main remarkable oddity of all.
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Extra resources for A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
Elliot was full of ideas for Plexiglas, which was not only clear, but could be buffed to a high shine. As Elliot looked around the young couple’s apartment he imagined everything from furniture and lamps to small items such as ashtrays and bowls made from the material. He began sketching. When Ruth looked at his ideas she began to plan. If Elliot made samples, she told him, she would find a way to sell them. He was willing, but there was a problem. He needed equipment that was available only at school.
Elliot worked long hours, both designing new products and spending time on increasingly bitter intracompany disputes. His three new partners came from Russia, Hungary, and Romania. They brought not only conflicting tongues, but also differing ideas about running Elzac. To add to his stress, Elliot also had worries at home. Ruth tried to settle into her role as a first-time mother; then in 1942 she became pregnant again. This time, however, she miscarried. Determined to have a bigger family, she was again pregnant in the summer of 1943.
The young couple also had a problem far more worrisome than cash flow. Ruth was pregnant with their first baby, and there were complications. She started hemorrhaging, and the business suffered from her need to rest. In February 1941 Elliot sent a letter to the state tax board explaining his failure to pay sales tax on time. Evidently, he had forgotten to put a stamp on his payment and pleaded not to be penalized. “Until recently,” he wrote, “my wife has taken complete charge of my books and office work.
A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley by Neal Thompson