Saturday, May 27, 2006
Obscurity of the Day: But It's True
Yet another Believe It Or Not knockoff, this one was produced by Walter Galli for the Western Newspaper Union syndicate. WNU catered primarily to weekly papers with a line-up that included a combination of their own material, like Mickie The Printer's Devil, The Featherheads and Finney of the Force, plus reprints from other syndicates.
Galli's other verified syndication credit is Stranger Than Fiction, also a Ripley simulacrum, and it was produced from about 1934 to 36. Then Galli switched syndicates, switched titles, and kept on doing the exact same material with But It's True. This feature is known to have run at least 1937 to 1939, but perhaps longer. Western Newspaper Union was pretty lackadaisical about advertising their wares in the E&P syndicate directory, so I can only go by the tearsheets in my collection for running dates. Do you have any earlier or later?
You'll note that our example includes a text piece at the bottom giving further information about the illustrated items. Not many people realize that this was for a long time a typical feature of the 'oddities' panels. Ripley's original included it for many years as did most of the better knock-offs. However, most newpapers seemed to consider the text portion a throwaway and few printed it. Some oddities panels, instead of further discussion of the illustrated item, just printed an address and offered to send proof of any item by return mail. Curiously, I've never seen any of these proof letters offered for sale. Have you?