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"Ripley's Believe It or Not!" Autographed Letterhead
More for the 20th Century section, one of my personal favorites, a signature and inscription of the famous Robert L. Ripley, who created the "Believe It or Not" series that survives to this day. Photo and biography are attached near the bottom. Two file holes at right margin, otherwise in very good condition.

$195.00 plus shipping


Robert L. Ripley
In the first half of the 20th Century, Robert Ripley was one of the most famous people in the world. His Believe It or Not! cartoon featured tales that were too incredible to believe, but he claimed they were true. At the peak of it's popularity, the cartoon feature was being read by about 80 million readers, and during the first three weeks of May 1932 alone, Ripley received over two million pieces of fan mail.

The world famous cartoonist was born LeRoy Ripley, in Santa Rosa, California in 1890. A socially awkward boy, Roy, as he was called, was an avid artist and a superb athlete, even at a young age. Combining his two passions, Ripley pitched semi-pro baseball when he was 13 and made posters advertising the games, as well. At 14, he sold a cartoon to the old LIFE magazine for eight dollars. The drawing showed some young women washing clothes and was entitled "The Village Belles Were Slowly Ringing'

After a family friend saw his work, she shared his drawings with several newspapers. This resulted in Ripley landing a job with the San Francisco Bulletin at the ripe old age of 15.

In 1912, LeRoy moved to New York and added Robert to his name. He was hired by the New York Globe to sketch sports cartoons called "Champs and Chumps". Ripley was an aspiring cartoonist and began travelling the world covering major sporting events. It was while he worked at the Globe that on a slow sports day, he created the cartoon Believe It or Not!

Travels Robert Ripley was frequently called the "modern Marco Polo" because like the famous adventurer of the middle ages, he was the most traveled man of his time. Just as his daring predecessor electrified all Europe with his penetration into the then obscure and dangerous Orient, so Ripley astounded the entire modern world by venturing into it's remotest corners.

In his endless search to discover new and amazing facts, or to personally verify local oddities, Ripley made at least one trip a year for over 30 years. These travels took him to 201 countries in his lifetime. No other man in the history of the world had ever traveled so extensively.

Ripley found hundreds of ideas for his Believe It or Not! cartoon in untouched, primitive areas and in unconventional cultures like that of India and the Orient. China was his favorite destination. "If I could be reincarnated, I'd return as a Chinese" Ripley remarked.

His obsession with Chinese relics led him to purchase a Chinese Junk, which he outfitted with power diesel engines and cruised along the east cost at top speeds. He called the boat "Mon Lei" which means "infinity' or 10,000 miles and is the same name the Chinese gave the Great Wall.

In March of 1949, Ripley began taping his own television series. During the 13th show, he passed out and was sent to the hospital. On May 27, Robert Ripley died of a heart attack at the age of 55.

There are more fans of Robert Ripley's legacy than ever before. The 27 Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museums worldwide, the syndicated daily cartoon and the famous Ripley's Believe It or Not! Show, carry forward Robert Ripley's legacy of sharing the unbelievable to this day.