Human beings are curious creatures and so throughout history people have strived to find out information about things that seem somehow different, odd, or inexplicable. The success of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” is a testament to this fact, especially noting that the brand has been in existence for nearly 100 years.
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” is an organization that is dedicated to sharing information about the strangest facts and features that the world has to offer. Via books, television, websites, apps, and museums, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” finds ways to consistently fascinate, disturb, delight, and hook viewers into the strange and often absurd information being offered. Yet, despite its’ somewhat carnival side show image, many of the stories reported in “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” have real educational merit and the brand is a good way to get kids interested in reading and exploring the world.
“Ripley’s Believe It or Not” was started by America cartoonist Robert Ripley (1890-1949). Early in his career, Robert Ripley created a newspaper panel series that was so successful that it led to a radio show and then an television program. Ripley was extremely interested in odd facts and he collected information about people and places from all over the world to share with American audiences. Yet what is generally regarded as being Ripley’s most savvy business move was his willingness to include items submitted by readers into his publications. Many readers sent photos to Ripley of oddly shaped vegetables and town trivia that were interesting to non-locals who read the articles. In 1922, Ripley made his first trip around the world and carefully documented the foreign and exotic cultures and locations he observed. Ripley also published articles about his travels in many newspapers and magazines and this greatly increased his popularity. In 1929, infamous newspaper mogul Hearst syndicated “Believe It or Not” in seventeen papers worldwide. Ripley soon started publishing book collections that were full volumes of the articles published. Needless to say, the books were instantaneously popular.
Although Robert Ripley died suddenly of a heart attack in 1949, the brand he created is still going strong. Presently, Ripley’s has more than thirty museums all over the globe that are dedicated to displaying oddities. Ripley still publishes books on a regular basis and now has a detailed website full of frequently updated facts. Furthermore, Ripley’s brand has extended into an entire media company that includes aquariums, candy stores, and miniature golf. Needless to say, the company still holds public interest based on its reporting of wacky yet real-life facts.
Most people regard “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” as a cheap source of amusement with no real educational merit. Yet, Ripley’s material can indeed be a source of education via enlightening individuals about the many things that exist in the world. By engaging trivia brands like Ripley’s it is likely that one will come across something that interests them so much that they wish to research it further. Hence, brands like Ripley’s can be useful for entertainment purposes and, very possibly, for sparking one’s interest in a particular topic.
Although it is not the sort of material that can be worked into an official curriculum, “Ripley’s’ Believe It or Not” is a brand that is worth exploring for anyone who is interested in a wide array of topics. For more information about Ripley’s visit the official website: http://www.ripleys.com/