‘Believe It or Not!’

(Above: Robert Ripley in the late 1940s. Source: Ripley’s Believe It or Not!)

Happy 100th birthday Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

The franchise began as a newspaper cartoon that’s still running, but has long since evolved into such ventures as a chain of museums and, on and off, a TV series.

So, to celebrate Ripley’s centennial, why not watch an episode of Ripley’s Believe It or Not!?

Easier said than done.

The first iteration of the series, airing on NBC from 1949 to 1950, began with founder Robert Ripley himself as host (until his death in May 1949). We couldn’t find any existing video of this live show, but we did discover Ripley himself in a series of 24 movie shorts from 1930 to 1932. Here’s episode two:

You can see several more of these shorts free on MrJadedtom’s YouTube channel. All of them have also been collected on a DVD, available from Amazon for $14.99.

Ripley’s Believe It or Not was revived on ABC from 1982 to 1986 with Jack Palance as host. You can watch an episode in Spanish at 7 pm ET/PT tonight and every weeknight on free over-the-air channel TeleExitos, available via an antenna hooked up to your TV set. For your local channel number, visit TeleExitos’ “Where to Tune” page.

Again, thanks to YouTube, here’s an episode in English:

Another version of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! ran on TBS from 2000 to 2003, hosted by Dean Cain. It’s currently not streaming or airing anywhere, but here’s a clip:

A cartoon version of Ripley’s Believe or Not!  ran on Family Channel (now Freeform) from 1998 to 1999. You can buy episodes for $1.99 each from iTunes or Vudu. Here’s episode one:

For more on the story of Robert Ripley, we suggest the 2015 documentary Ripley: Believe It or Not, which originally ran on PBS’ American Experience and can now be streamed by Amazon Prime subscribers or right here:

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

View All Articles

Leave a Comment