The Virtual Corkscrew Museum's Weekly Newspaper

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Number 514

Click for free subscription

News Archive

Ripley's Believe It Or Not

Robert LeRoy Ripley (1890 - 1949) created the world famous Ripley's Believe It or Not! newspaper panel series, featuring odd but true facts from around the world. There were many subjects covered in Ripley's "cartoon" but the most interesting to us is the number of objects he mentioned that have corkscrew shapes. Here are clippings in chronological order:

1929 - The Corkscrew Bridge

1935 - Corkscrew Tail

1937 - Corkscrew Tree

1939 - Corkscrew Tree

1941 Screwy Palm

1946 - Corkscrew Egg

1964 - Corkscrew Columns

1966 - Twisted Trees

1970 Olive Trees

1971 - Persimmon Stick

1972 - Corkscrew Pistol

1975 - Corkscrew Horns

1975 - Corkscrew Tree

2005 - Swiss Army Knife (see story below)

The knife mentioned in the clipping above was carried by Francis Gary Powers on the U2 Spy Plane that was shot down on May 1, 1960. A copy of the original Russian photograph is shown below. The knife is shown in the circle.

2007 - Freak Show

At the June 21, 2007 grand opening of Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium, in Times Square, New York City, "Lizardman" Erik Sprague, stuck an oversized corkscrew through his nose and out his mouth.

Scott's Scrap Book

R. J. Scott copied Ripley's concept with his Scrap Book (originally titled "Did You Know"). It was published from 1931 until the 1960s. We could locate only three Scrap Books with corkscrew related items. It is interesting to see that Mr. Said's wife left him between the 1960 and 1963 Scrap Books.

1953 - Corkscrew Pendants

1960 - Mr. Said

1963 - Mr. Said reappears with no wife!

Human Corkscrews

1942 Advertisement

Anzola, The Human Corkscrew

We could not find photos of two individuals mentioned as "Human Corkscrews" - Ames Aldoni and William Barrow.

Alleged Thief a Social Lion

Note: This article appeared in the March 29, 1906 edition of the San Francisco Call

One-Time Suitor for the Hand of a Daughter of Former Senator Mason

Interest in the unique career of John Wilmer Martine, ex-actor, former circus contortionist, man about town and friend and entertainer of smart society, increased today when it developed that he had been a suitor for the hand of Miss Ruth Mason, daughter of former United States Senator W. E. Mason of Illinois, and had at one time known Miss Ruth Hanna, daughter of the late Senator Mark Hanna.

When Martine was arraigned in the West Side court today on the charge of grand larceny preferred by a Fifth avenue haberdasher, for whom he been had salesman, a number of his fashionable friends drove up to the building in automobiles and were present in the court-room during his appearance there......

Former Senator Mason was angry when shown the text of some of his daughter's letters, written to Martine.

"I shall go to New York," he said "and shoot the cur that prints the letters of my daughter. Martine met my daughter in Washington several years ago. It is true that they were sweethearts, but later my daughter learned several facts in regard to Martine's life which caused her to renounce him."

The love letters of Miss Ruth Mason to Martine were written shorty after his circus experience as the vaunted "Human Corkscrew" and "Anatomical Marvel". They are typical letters of a school girl.

Sentence Suspended on "Human Snake"

This information appeared in the Brooklyn Daily Stand Union on April 6, 1906.

John Wilmer Martine, the Fifth avenue haberdasher's clerk, was arraigned to-day before the Justices of the Court of Special Sessions, Manhattan, for sentence under his plea of guilty to stealing a polo shirt valued at $5 from his employer, McLaughlin, the haberdasher. A probation officer reported to the court that he had discovered that Martine's real name is John Rauschenbach and that he has a sister, Mrs. Bertha Brown, living at 510 Otterbein street, Baltimore, and another sister, Mrs. Ida Nodman, living at Cherry Hill, Md. The probation officer declared that he understood ex-Senator Mason, of Illinois, had been informed that Martine was engaged to the Senator's daughter, Ruth, for some time, but that the engagement had been broken. At one time, it is said, he was secretary for James H. Hyde, former vice-president of the Equitable Life Assurance Society. He finally joined Harrigan's circus, eventually developing his act known as the "human snake." After hearing this report the justices suspended sentence and he was paroled in the custody of the probation officer until May 25.

Further Reading

For more on the Saucier, Miss. corkscrew tree, see the May 5, 2004 edition.

More trees in the January 28, 2007 edition.

News Index

©2008 Don Bull, Editor


The Virtual Corkscrew Museum