The panel for the most recent iteration of the television show RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT was held this past weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. The panel, which was moderated by the show’s host and all-around groovy dude Bruce Campbell, showcased a few clips from the upcoming show as well as panelists Angel Giuffria the bionic angel, Hammer Head John Ferraro, Short E. Dangerously and show producer Sabrina Sleck.
Started in 1949 by Robert Ripley as a newspaper column, RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT has always been about showcasing people with tremendous gifts and unique talents. From then on it was adapted into books, radio, a museum and a television show. Now in its 4th revamp, Bruce Campbell will lead us on a tour of the strange and unusual while telling us the stories behind those featured.
During the hour-long panel, a variety of subjects were discussed including the backgrounds of each of the panelists and how they came to be involved with Ripley’s as well as insight into what makes the show different than searching for people with unique talents online. When asked how they find the people they feature, Sleck responded that a lot of the people they find self-submit themselves and was quick to point out that there is a section on Ripley’s web site where you can “Submit your BION” (Believe it or not) in case you or someone you know would like to be featured on the show.
Throughout the panel, we were introduced to three of the individuals that would be featured in the upcoming season. Angel Giuffria was born without the bottom half of her arm below her elbow and was fitted with a myoelectric muscle operated prosthesis when she was just a baby. A self-described “Bionic Actress”, Giuffria showed the audience the intricate parts of her current prosthesis including how to change attachments and wowed us when she pulled out the ever so cool purple lightsaber attachment. During the panel’s Q&A session, an audience member coyly asked if she could crush cans with her bionic arm to which she stated that although unfortunately, she is unable to with her current prosthesis, she had tested one in the past that had allowed her to do so.
Following Giuffria we were introduced to Hammer Head John Ferraro, who has a skull that is 2.3 times thicker than the average human skull, allowing him to break pieces of wood, steel, and cinder block and Short E. Dangerously, who stands at 3 feet 3 inches due to a double leg amputation as a child and spends his days touring the world with the traveling Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue. When asked what his inspiration was, Dangerously cited famed sideshow performer Johnny Eck, who was born without the lower half of his torso and was frequently featured on Ripley’s in the past.
The RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT panel was a fun experience made even more fun by the incomparable Bruce Campbell and was definitely a breath of fresh air and welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of the convention floor madness. RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT hosted by Bruce Campbell airs Sundays on the Travel Channel.