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Believe It or Not #1 (1930)

Unrated  |   |  Short  |  May 1930 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 35 users  
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Robert L. Ripley first shows the very first cartoon of his, published in newspapers 8 years earlier. He then proceeds with various oddities, first introducing a woman who can read aloud 8 ... See full summary »


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Title: Believe It or Not #1 (1930)

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Credited cast:
Robert L. Ripley ...
Himself (as Ripley)


Robert L. Ripley first shows the very first cartoon of his, published in newspapers 8 years earlier. He then proceeds with various oddities, first introducing a woman who can read aloud 8 words a second. He demonstrates this by giving her a 200-word tract she reads in 24 seconds. Next a woman telephones to question his assertion that you can walk through a hole in a cigarette paper, but he demonstrates how when she arrives. Other oddities follow, including a miniature bedroom set built in a bottle; statements that the biblical Abraham wasn't a jew, but a Babylonian and that Einstein once flunked mathematics. He draws a picture of an African with a big projection growing out of his forehead and has a photograph to prove it. An animated sequence demonstrates how a porcupine fish can kill a shark. Finally, he brings out a small Chinese boy who sings "Hello Baby." Written by Arthur Hausner <>

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Release Date:

May 1930 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


Vitaphone Production Reel #1005. See more »


Followed by Believe It or Not #3 (1930) See more »


Hello Baby
Music by Michael Cleary
Lyrics by Herb Magidson and Ned Washington
Sung by Chinese Boy (Won Long Hop)
See more »

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User Reviews

A capsule review of Ripley Short #1 in 1930 from Warner Bros....
6 May 2009 | by (U.S.A.) – See all my reviews

Not much can be said for the delivery of Mr. Ripley, who comes across as a very shy man not at all comfortable before the cameras with absolutely no presence at all.

He talks first about how his "Ripley's Believe It Or Not" cartoon series in the newspapers got started with the first of his sketches. He shows us a huge framed copy of the first published drawings that appeared in a newspaper under his name which he has on display in his office as a keepsake.

He shows how it's possible to put a living room into a bottle--the kind usually used for ship-maker models and tells how the whole thing had to be done carefully with tweezers and other handmade objects to create the miniature display in a bottle.

A drawing of Albert Einstein bears the caption that he flunked math in school. Amazing.

A fast talking woman reads from a lengthy memo very rapidly (and reads from it equally rapidly) to make the point that she can say hundreds of words in something like eight seconds. You have to hear her to believe it.

A whale that attempts to swallow a "porcupine fish" has trouble getting it down his gullet for obvious reasons. Ripley doesn't show the actual event but does show us his graphic pictures of the poor whale.

A little Chinese boy demonstrates his singing talent with "Hello, My Baby" and also demonstrates that he's no threat to Shirley Temple.

And that's it for the day's oddities.

A shabby little short subject from the Vitaphone people at Warner Bros. which makes you wonder what kind of entertainment audiences expected in the early '30s.

Summing up: Quirky enough but short on real entertainment value.

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