Saranac Lake Believe It Or Not




SARANAC LAKE --- BELIEVE IT OR NOT!


Robert Ripley's cartoon, RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT, has been a big success since he started it back in 1918. The Ripley's franchise has flourished and now contains a multitude of books, radio and tv shows, several museums and even a pin ball game bearing the title. As you can see in Ripley's sketch of his first cartoon panel, he was about to name the feature CHAMPS AND CHUMPS then decided on RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT. What is interesting to us Saranac Lakers is that our own local sports star, Ed Lamy, is featured in that first cartoon with his world record broad jump on skates of 25 feet 7 inches. This feat took place in 1913 and in 1922 Ed soared an extra inch for still another world's record.

Saranac Lake has made it into RIPLEY'S BELIEVE IT OR NOT several times throughout the years. Bill McLaughlin aka The Siver Fox (who, by the way, was a prolific contributer to the cartoon) was the main feature in 1942 when his hair became curly overnight and then, 6 months later, became pure white. Tom Wallace was also featured in one of the cartoons in 1927 when the star fullback was playing football for SLHS. Saranac Lake was playing Lake Placid and the final score was 101 to nothing!!! Tom was also a track star holding the state record for the 220 low hurdles and one of the top basketball players.

John Gregory was a star of a cartoon in the forties. After a slight stroke it was discovered that he could only perspire on one side of his face. Conservation Officer, Dick Emperor appeared in the panel around 1952 when he shot a black Snowshoe Rabbit. Larry Doyle of the Giants was also included in a Ripley panel. One day in 1914 Laughing Larry had hit a baseball into the stands at the Polo Grounds and it was caught by a young boy. The ball was then given to Larry to autograph. After signing it Larry was unable to locate the kid so held onto the ball. Eventually, after Larry had settled in Saranac Lake, he heard from that boy. Larry promptly sent him the ball. The year was now 1957 and the young boy was now a 54 year old man. It had been 43 years since the incident.

Even the Saranac Lake weather accounted for at least one Ripley feature. In 1959 the combination of wind and moisture caused hundreds of snowballs to be rolled up on area lakes. This made an interesting sight for locals and a great cartoon for Ripley.

Many thanks to the Intellectual Properties Department of Ripley Entertainment Inc. and especially Saranac Laker Peter MacIntire, who is an associate in the company, for digging up the following cartoons and for allowing me to share them with you.

RIPLEY'S FIRST CARTOON

ED LAMY JUMPS 14 BARRELS

WAR HERO BERNARD BROWN

MY OLD BUDDY, BILL McLAUGHLIN

DICK EMPEROR'S BLACK RABBIT

FRANK SHELHAMER'S BLACK BUNNY

SNOWBALLS ON THE LAKE

THE ONLY HIGH SCHOOL WITH A LIQUOR LICENSE