Thursday, March 29, 2012

Saturday Morning's Forgotten Heroes: Michael Ripley (Ripley's Believe It Or Not: The Animated Series, 1999)

I'm sure most of you are familiar with Ripley's Believe It Or Not!, which began as a single panel comic strip way back in the day, distributed by King Features Syndicate, chronicling the bizarre finds uncovered by Robert Ripley. In the late 80's, ABC aired a weekly series hosted by actor Jack Palance that lasted for three seasons. Sony revived the series for cable around a decade ago, with Dean Cain (ex-Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) as host, and reruns of both series are turning up here and there on Chiller these days.

In between, Cinar (now part of Cookie Jar) produced a short-lived animated adventure series featuring a fictional relative of Robert Ripley. This animated Believe It Or Not! aired on Fox Family (now ABC Family) and lasted a year, clearly the least successful adaptation of the strip.

Here's the series opener, "The Daruma Dolls":



The 1999 Ripley's cartoon, had it been on another channel and better promoted, might've gotten an extra year or two. It was certainly an alternative to what the Fox network was offering on Saturdays at the time, but, as the strip isn't in as many papers as it used to be (or isn't being published at all anymore), parents who grew up with the strip or the earlier Palance series might not have appreciated a fictionalized version.

Rating: B-.

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