‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’ Merges Fandom And Fascination

As Texans, we may want to keep Austin weird, but even we don’t hold a candle to what you could find in Dallas several weeks ago. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! partnered with Fan Expo Dallas, and the result led to some interesting sites to behold. The traveling museum displayed some of the most unique and strange items that DFW has ever seen.

It has been almost 100 years since the first Believe It or Not! cartoon was first introduced to the public, and Ripley’s still manages to leave viewers in awe today. The founder, Robert Ripley, began it all with his love of traveling. He would share unique things that he had seen on his journeys, but those wonders were often scoffed by disbelievers. So, rather than merely visiting these items, he began to collect and showcase them to audiences back home.

The humble beginnings have now sprouted into a wide array of cartoons, television shows, and museums. Many of us grew up watching the unique items, animals, and people on television. Luckily, a new generation will now be able to experience this as well. The Ripley’s Believe It or Not! series is scheduled to reboot in June. Bruce Campbell will host the show and expose viewers to some of the world’s greatest oddities. The series is expected to air June 9 on the Travel Channel.

Those at Fan Expo Dallas were able to peek into some of Ripley’s collection. Due to FXD being a convention mainly revolving around movies/shows, it was only fitting that Riplye’s brought some of their most notable cinema memorabilia. In fact, the most valuable item in their entire collection is Han Solo’s blaster from Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, and lucky fans in at the convention were able to get a glimpse of it. Also, in the Harrison Ford themed display box, was a whip used during the climax of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Several other notable movie props were brought out of the Ripley’s vault for adoring fans. Moviegoers were quick to recognize Michael J Fox’s hoverboard from Back to the Future: Part II and Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber. The lightsaber shared a case with a picture camera from the 1930s. While it seemed to be a strange pairing considering the age difference between the two items, it couldn’t have been more fitting. If you inspected the camera closely, you would find that the flash looks exceptionally similar to the Jedi’s weapon of choice. Due to the film’s low budget, George Lucas had to get creative. However, people with a keen eye will notice that the lightsaber still looks very similar to the camera’s flash accessory and even maintained the same power button!

The opportunity to see these items was definitely unique, but what would Ripley’s be without also bringing along some serious oddities? Their selection was far from disappointing. From ancient torture devices to nature’s blunders, Ripley’s had it covered. The collection included a Vampire killing kit, one of about 30 that the company possesses. Eastern European countries would often sell these items to dimwitted tourists. Some of the kits included garlic, while others went so far as to include a silver bullet and gun in the off-chance that they might happen to encounter a werewolf. You can never be too careful.

The pinnacle of the exhibit stood in the middle of the Ripley’s popup museum area, a 125lb. wonder. A giant ball of hair, measuring over 4’ tall, was on display in its full glory to the amusement and disgust of the curious onlookers. The hairball was started by a barber that happened to be a huge Ripley’s fan. With the permission of his customers, he began to collect and assemble the clippings from his shop. Since the hairball’s humble beginnings, it has now grown into a massive interactive exhibit. That’s right, we said interactive. People who want to be a part of Ripley’s history have the opportunity to have their own hair added to the structure. There’s no reason to worry about a bad hair day when your beautiful locks become permanently enshrined in the Ripley’s collection.

For more Ripley’s Believe It or Not! news, facts, and items take a look at their site and be sure to follow them on twitter @Ripleys! Also, if you act fast, you can use the code "FANEXPO" to save up to 50% off Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Grand Prairie. Just enter the code when you are purchasing tickets before it expires on June 18th!