By Neal Thompson
An Amazon top ebook of the Month, may possibly 2013
A Curious Man is the marvelously compelling biography of Robert “Believe It or Not” Ripley, the enigmatic cartoonist became globetrotting millionaire who gained foreign repute by means of 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 lifestyles is the stuff of a vintage American fairy story. Buck-toothed and cursed by means of shyness, Ripley became his feel 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 Not” conceit and the wildly well known radio indicates it birthed that might make him probably the most profitable leisure figures of his time and spur him to look the globe’s farthest corners for weird and wonderful proof, unique human curiosities, and stunning phenomena.
Ripley extremely joyful in making outrageous declarations that in some way continually became out to be true—such as that Charles Lindbergh was once simply the sixty-seventh guy to fly around the Atlantic or that “The famous person Spangled Banner” was once not the nationwide anthem. Assisted through 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 really actual feel, Ripley sought to remake the world’s aesthetic. He demanded recognize in case 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 may possibly 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 style for the titillating and unique, and a fascination with the quickest, greatest, dumbest and weirdest. at the present time, that legacy keeps and will be noticeable in fact 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 superb irony of his lifestyles, which used to be devoted to exalting the unusual and strange, is that he could have been the main impressive oddity of all.
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Additional info for A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert "Believe It or Not!" Ripley
The parish officers were angered that his "bill was paid in full by R. Abram Bignall. —and the balance was paid and a receipt in full was taken—Mr. " 10 The sparse vestry minutes of Christ Church do not give a complete record of the reasons for Crummell's failure in Providence. It seems the arrogant and embittered twenty-three-year-old failed more for reasons of personality than for neglect of duty. In Shades and Lights, Crummell admits that many of his difficulties with congregations resulted from the rigidity of his personality.
He would, perhaps, have been able to remain in New Haven, and even to complete his studies at Yale, if his financial situation had been better. 1 The twenty-two-year-old pastor arrived in Providence unbendingly righteous, still seething with rage and humiliation over his ongoing feud with Bishop Onderdonk. He could not let the matter drop, as he wrote to John Jay, "because I love truth and hate injustice . . 3 Crummell's years in Christ Church were disappointing; not only did the parish not support him, but he also experienced much personal humiliation, which is only hinted at in his autobiographical essay.
To the idealistic youth, this was indeed a challenge. With his father's consent, and thanks to the "little scanty earnings" that the New York abolitionists had helped him to acquire, he departed for the Noyes Academy in Canaan, New Hampshire. 45 In 1835, abolitionists had established the Noyes Academy in New Hampshire which was open to both races. Crummell, Garnet, and Sidney set off together on the first leg of their journey, which was by steamboat from New York to Providence. Garnet's health had deteriorated considerably due to his infected leg.