arts & entertainment
ROBERT RIPLEY PUBLISHED his first
Believe It or Not! cartoon more than 90 years
ago. For the next half century he worked with
researchers who scoured the New York Public
Library looking for unusual facts. Today, hearing the name Ripley’s Believe It or Not! might
bring to mind their odditoriums, the 1980s
TV series or, most likely, the fascinating and
nearly impossible-to-put-down annual book.
The latest edition, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!:
Download the Weird includes an all-new collection of stories from around the world,
including the vampire woman, the world’s
oddest couple and a skateboarding dog, as well
as favorite features, such as interviews, facts,
lists, and lenticular and holographic images.
Anne Marshall, publisher at UK-based
Ripley Publishing, explains that they continue
to gather information in traditional ways.
“We send out photographers and writers to
undertake photography, filming and inter-
viewing [of] characters who are usually
unknown,” she says. “We have a large team of
researchers who investigate stories and follow
up leads. We also draw from the thousands of
people who reach out to us every day sending
us BIONs [Believe It or Nots!] in their effort
to get a mention in one of our books.”
For those who can’t get enough of their
favorite curiosities, Download the Weird fea-
tures new “oddSCAN” logos. By scanning the
logo with a smartphone, readers can get
ALL PHO TOS COURTESY OF RIPLEY EN TER TAINMENT, INC.
exclusive bonus content, including videos and
images, sent instantly to their mobile device.
Marshall adds that Ripley fans can also
find their favorite oddities via Ripley’s
Facebook page and through Ripley’s Twitter
feed. Ripley Entertainment has also released
the new Ripley’s Believe It or Not! app, which
encompasses all aspects of the Ripley world:
museums, magazines, oddSCAN and more.
“Over the last few years
the publishing industry has
undergone a dramatic
change,” Marshall tells The
Connection. “We are still producing facts, but in both
physical book form and digital. The work on our Ripley’s
Believe It or Not! app … makes
it a very interesting industry to
be in at this time. All very exciting stuff, and [there’s] more to
come.”—Stephanie E. Ponder
Ripley’s oddities include a
crocheted car, the ruthless
Maeklong Market Railway
in Thailand and the answer
to the question: How many
musclemen can pass through
the eye of a needle?
The Costco Connection Members will find Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Download the Weird at most Costco locations.
52 ;e Costco Connection NOVEMBER 2012
well as a plot and a group of characters, diametrically opposed to what one might have
imagined for a Moses novel by the author of
the intensely researched 1,800-page duology of
The Winds of War and War and Remembrance.
Weighty the book is not.
The story begins with movie producer
Tim Warshaw breaking through Wouk’s pri-
vacy fortifications to offer him $1 million for
a half-hour conference with the aim of getting
Wouk to write a Moses movie. “I’ve appreci-
ated your approach,” the crusty 96-year-old
tells Warshaw after a few minutes on the
phone. “Most of all, your offer to thank me and
Despite the rocky beginning, Warshaw’s
financial backers, a Texas venture capitalist
who in turn is backed by a mysterious
Australian uranium tycoon, manage to
ensnare “that mulish ancient” to serve not as
a writer but as a consultant on the film. Wouk
negotiates veto control over the writer-direc-
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 49
tor of the film, expressing doubt that a person
“measuring up to the subject” can be found.
Promptly onto the scene comes 26-year-
old Margo Solovei, a mildly acclaimed, highly
talented indie filmmaker with a fascinating
love-hate relationship with Judaism. Margo
captivates Wouk with her innate understanding of the scope and drama that infuse the
Moses story. All set off to do the impossible.
Along the way, there are actors to cast
(who could fill the sandals of both Moses and
Charlton Heston?). New friendships that
develop. Old romances that rekindle. Shyster
agents to contend with. Naysaying critics.
And the ever-present self-doubts encountered by all creative people.
We also are treated to the wit and humor
that have always characterized even Wouk’s
most serious novels. Often it has to do with
that story–backstory relationship, as when,
after reading Solovei’s first-draft screenplay,
Wouk’s wife comments, “Shallow. Shallow.”
Wouk responds, “What attempt at Moses
wouldn’t be shallow?” “Yours, if you’d ever
write it,” she replies.