Somewhere, sometime, someone thought of resurrecting the grainy, laughably amateurish, black-and-white film drawn from the defunct Ripley’s television series and editing it into a collection of six videotapes. Believe it or not! (Those, incidentally, are the words the breathless narrator uses at the conclusion of each of the six stories in this cockamamie concoction of exclamations with dubious points.) It’s hard to judge what’s more bizarre, the tales — such as the one about the mother-in-law who moved in with the British king and stayed so long that Parliament voted to give her $100,000 if she would go home — or the startlingly crude acting by the poor souls called upon to portray Robert Ripley’s cast of weirdos. We’re even treated to a short documentary on Ripley himself,a semipro baseball player-turned-news-paper cartoonist whose syndicated newspaper feature (and later, radio show) on oddities from around the world made him a celebrity in the 1930s. (Ripley died in 1949.) Perhaps the biggest curiosity is the tape itself; it’s campy, and it is, in its own strange way, a documentary on a style of broadcast journalism whose passing few lament. C
Ripley's Believe It or Not!