myFiveBest turns one today. We started the web site on May 26, 2009. Over the past year, we’ve brought you 835 articles (averaging out to 2.3 posts per day) and have had over 1,100 comments. Each month, we get about 45,000 people look at the site. For those of you that are loyal readers; we thank you for being a part of our growth! In honor of our recognition, here is a special thank you to our original inspiration:
ROBERT L. RIPLEY
The author of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. He was a cartoonist, amateur anthropologist, and entrepreneur, who traveled the world and put his exotic findings into a comic for King Features Syndicate, owned by William Randolph Hearst. His comic strip was so popular that because of Robert Ripley, The Star Spangled Banner, is the American national anthem. How did he do this? In 1929, he made an article that said “Believe it or not, the United States has no national anthem.” By 1931, John Philip Sousa, the famous bandleader, had pursued President Herbert Hoover into making the song official. It worked. Other interesting facts about Ripley were that he published the first drawings of a dog by a very young Charles M. Schultz – the dog would become Snoopy. When I was very young, I was given a large gazette of Ripley’s works one Easter Sunday. I read that book until the cover wore off and still have it to this very day. Robert Ripley was one of my first influences in trivia.
THE PEOPLE’S ALMANAC
This is a series of three books written by David Wallechinsky and published in the 1970s. The books contained obscure facts and esoteric knowledge. The books, each about 4-5 inches thick, were a regular read of mine growing up. I would lie on the couch in our family room and read them over and over. These books, and the next entry on this list, are considered the inspiration for internet web sites, such as Wikipedia.
THE BOOK OF LISTS
If it isn’t enough that David Wallechinsky came out with a with a great series of books, his father, author Irving Wallace had his own series of trivial matter. The Book of Lists was a series of four books written by Wallace, his son, and his daughter, Amy Wallace between 1977 and 2005. Each one contained lists of unique trivia and opinion from a collection of knowledge from around the world. The books also took lists of opinions from popular celebrities and literary figures during the time. Today, some of the material is outdated, but they are still fantastic reads.
GUINNESS BOOK OF WORLD RECORDS
This collection of human achievements and natural world events used to come out every year. I remember reading this book for the first time around 1976. By 1979, I was using my allowance money to buy the newer editions as they came out. Some records on this series of books are: The best-selling copyrighted group of books (yes, even more than Harry Potter and that dreadful, Twilight series) and the most stolen book out of United States public libraries.
Of all of the trivia shoved into the deep recesses of my brain, the greatest contributor is my father, James P. Fowler, Sr. Growing up, I had the privilege of being inundated with stories of the American West, accounts of unique historical events, sports trivia, and so much more information that most people would probably never know about. My father, like my grandfather before him, was a voracious reader – an trait I have, luckily, gained myself. Thank you, dad, for the love and search of knowledge of all kinds. This web site is a product of him.