The Last Archive Believe It

NEW YORK – AUGUST 2: CBS Radios “Believe It Or Not” host Robert Ripley at his home in New York. He is seen with part of his collection of oddities. Photo dated: August 2, 1940 New York, NY. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! was one of the most popular radio shows of the 1930s, and for good reason: Early radio, not unlike the Internet of nearly a century later, was obsessed with doubt about belief. On this episode of The Last Archive, Jill Lepore spins the dial and takes a tour of 1930s radio — from Robert Ripley to Charlie Chan, from Mexican broadcaster Pedro González to the shows of Orson Welles: the full spectrum of true and false on the air.

The Host

Jill Lepore

Jill Lepore is the David Woods Kemper Professor of American History and Affiliate Professor of Law at Harvard University and a staff writer for The New Yorker, where she writes about politics,…