Card of the Day - 2022-03-25

C151-200 : C18-33 [tobacco  : UK] Carreras Ltd "Believe it or Not" (October 1934) 16/50
Carreras Ltd [tobacco : UK] "Believe it or Not" (October 1934) 16/50 - C151-200 : C18-33

This card puts a whole new slant on being a mother, for here we have Mrs. Frank Scott, of Jewell, Iowa, and her thirteen children, all under five years of age. 

Now when I originally wrote this I said I believed that was physically impossible without multiple births, or adoptions, and that, even more curiously, there was not a record of Mr. Frank Scott or his wife anywhere online. But in my heart I knew such a feat of endurance must not have passed unnoticed, even if it was solely to congratulate him for his fertility, not her for her labours. 

And today, Valentines Day, I found them. Frank Scott was born in Mississippi in July 1872. He married Elise Scott, and had thirteen children. These were indeed multiple births, five lots of triplets, and two lots of twins, all born within the space of ten years, ending in October, 1922. I even have their names, Ashbel, Archer and Austin (born in 1918), Arthur and Arnold (1919), Allen, Almon and Albion (1920), Alfred, Albert, and Adolph, (1921) and Abel and Abner (1922).

However there is a problem, because though Mr. Scott died on the 7th of October 1939, Mrs. Elise Scott is recorded as having died in 1919. So there must have been a second Mrs. Scott, who might be the lady in the picture, who took over the earlier children. And that could well be why the card is worded "Mrs. Frank Scott" rather than her christian name.  

Anyway, more searching will go on.

It is stated that Ripley, or, more correctly, LeRoy Robert Ripley, checked every fact that he published, and he had staff who would trawl through all manner of publications looking for oddities. He was born in Santa Rosa, California, some time in February, 1890, we think, because this is one fact which is not proven.

When his father died things changed and young Robert left school and started working as a cartoonist for newspapers, then moved, in 1913, to work at the New York Globe. His first "Believe it or Not" appeared on December 19, 1918, and was an immediate hit, so much so that it became a weekly feature strip.  At the time this set was produced, in 1934, he was just embarking on a new endeavour, opening museums of unusual artefacts. These were inspired by the success of his original "Ripley`s Odditorium" exhibit at the Chicago World`s Fair in 1933, which saw almost two million people pass through the gates, many of whom were so overcome by the wonders that they fainted. At first he took the show on the road, stopping off right across America. He even had a brief permanent home on Broadway just before the start of the Second World War.

Then, on May 27, 1949, he died, of a heart attack, aged just 59. And a year later, the first permanent Odditorium was opened in Florida. Now there are almost thirty, right across the globe.

Once again I bemoan the fact that the Carreras Reference Book never made it into print, so all we are left with is the scant detail in the World Tobacco Issues Indexes namely : 

BELIEVE IT OR NOT. Sm. 69 x 41. Nd. (50)

What we do have though is the original "Notes on Current Series", written by Mr. C. L. Porter for the London Cigarette Card Company`s "Cigarette Card News", Volume II, No.14, dated November 1934. This reads as follows :

Carreras Ltd., Believe It or Not. 50 small cards. This very unusual and interesting issue consists of selection of drawings and information by Ripley, on the lines of the weekly feature which is so well known to readers of the "Sunday Express". I am very intrigued by this set, and must congratulate Messrs. Carreras on their enterprise in producing it.