Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Now, An Optical Illusion

The gags from Tex Avery and credited storyman Dave Monahan in Believe It Or Else run the gamut from surreal to obvious. A guy drinks a lot of milk and goes “moo.” Fortunately, Tex tried for something better as the cartoon carried on.

One of the odd ones is an “optical illusion” where the narrator says he can show how you can get 37 triangles out of three triangles made of match-sticks. I’m sure this must be a send-up that appeared in the “Believe it or not” newspaper column.

How does it happen? You move one stick here, this stick there, and.....

The happy Ripley-stand-in narrator ignores the impossibility of it all, in the best part of the scene. “There now. Isn’t it easy?” Try it on your friends.”

Fade out into the next scene.

The running presence of Egghead helps the cartoon. It’s one of Avery’s better spot-gaggers.

Virgil Ross is the credited animator. Keith Scott wonders if the narrator is Cliff Nazarro, forsaking his double-talk routine.


  1. This cartoon could've used Robert C. Bruce as the narrator.

    1. Pokey aka Steve C.24 January 2023 at 19:52

      Agreed. This also is one of the longest cartoon shorts of any studiio, at around 10 minutes. Love it,anyhow.

  2. Eric O. Costello24 January 2023 at 15:53

    It's not a send up of a particular BION panel, as far as I know, but optical illusions and various types of visual puzzles were a staple of the strip for decades and decades, long after Robert Ripley passed away.

  3. And of course, in addition to the comic panel, there were two dozen BELIEVE IT OR NOT short subjects in the early thirties very ripe for parody.

    1. Eric O. Costello25 January 2023 at 13:08

      Not only that, at least some of the BION shorts were Vitaphone shorts distributed by Warner Bros. Future cartoon producer Eddie Selzer worked on some of the earliest in the series.

  4. I thought it was Fantamasmagorie for a second.