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“Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Starring Robert L. Ripley”
Wayne Klein
Studio: Warner Archives
Release Date:
Special Features:

Believe it or not nothing…


This two disc set from Warner Archives features 24 theatrical shorts that Robert L. Ripley hosted during the1930’s. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not was a popular syndicated feature in major newspapers at the time and Vitaphone hoping to cash in on that popularity elected to put together these short “documentary” featurettes. The 24 shorts are neatly divided up between those produced in 1930-31 and 1931-2. Forgotten today Vitaphone pioneered synching film and a soundtrack on a record (which was how “The Jazz Singer” was first presented). ***

These 24 short were originally presented in black and white and they are presented in their original Academy aspect ratio. Ripley’s shorts focus on oddities of the time including a book the size of a thimble, the Tuareg people who forced their men NOT their women to wear veils and other unusual things that were natural or manmade. ***

The shorts have aged rather badly and are probably of interest primarily to those folks that enjoy vintage material. I doubt there will be much interest for the casual collector of films from the 1930’s. ---

Image & Sound: The transfer looks pretty decent considering the age of the shorts and the the fact that the source material was originally presented on nitrate stock (and the negatives are probably long gone). There are occasional analog imperfections that crop up now and again but that doesn’t mar the overall presentation of the shorts. ***

Dialogue is fairly clear most of the time but rather “thin” sounding which isn’t a surprise given the original audio source. ---

Special Features:

Believe it or not…NOTHING!

Final Words:

I’m happy that someone is archiving this material for future generations but that doesn’t mean anyone should have to watch these vintage shorts. They haven’t aged gracefully even as artifacts of their era will have limited interest.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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