Legendary actor Bruce Campbell has proven himself to be endlessly engaging for decades now, but it might be one of his most recent reveals at Comic-Con 2019 that made me realize that “The Chin” never fails to surprise us fans, even after all the years. While in San Diego, Daily Dead had the pleasure of attending a press conference on behalf of the new Ripley’s Believe It or Not! series, which currently airs every Sunday night on the Travel Channel at 9:00pm EST, and Campbell talked about his involvement in the show, the legacy of Ripley’s over the last 100 years, and even discussed his own possible encounter with aliens.
What was the freakiest thing you ever saw before doing this show?
Bruce Campbell: I told the last group I saw here that I had an alien encounter that I feel was real. It was in my house. There was no probing. It was a light that appeared while I was talking on the phone with someone. It drew my attention, and then two lights were dimmed at separate times behind me and then when I looked back the light was gone. I felt it was an alien fu--ing with me. So, that's it. I think I've had something of an experience that couldn't really be fully explained.
Was there anything that’s featured on the show that actually blew your mind?
Bruce Campbell: Most of the stories. Seriously, this is why I hope that it succeeds because when you see these stories, they really blow you away. A little boy wants to ride his bike, well he's blind, so good luck with that. He heard that bats echolocate by making clicking noises and eventually a bat will know that you are 12 feet away, you're 17 feet away, and that you're a soft surface, that's a hard surface, and [an] alley is there because I didn't hear any click to even come back. That's off a brick surface, so the kid went, “Wait, bats are blind. Everything is radar. Blind as a bat."
Because bats echolocate by clicking, the kid started to do his own version of echolocating, learned it, and learned to ride a bike. What the hell more inspiring story do you ever need than that of having the will to live? Holy shit. He just wanted to ride his bike like every other kid. He's now teaching other blind kids how to ride bikes safely by echolocating. Seriously, to have that kind of fortitude is so impressive.
How much of a hand do you have in the stories and the people we see on the show?
Bruce Campbell: I don’t. Those in charge do a good job of picking them. I just wanted to make sure that the tie-ins that I do thread them through. That it makes sense to put certain stories together. They've done a good job at grouping them, and it makes you realize how many different stories there are. We can categorize them, there's so many of them. But it's all real—none of it's fake.
Is there any place that now you want to visit after hearing some of the interesting locales in some of these stories?
Bruce Campbell: There is one. It's in Spain, and they climb each other to make a tower out of humans. It's every year and families do it. They've done it for years. I think they put the little kids on the outside, because then as all the adults get crushed horribly, the little kids can slide off the slopes on the side and just have twisted limbs and stuff. I'd like to go see that happen. It's not quite as bad as the running of the bulls.
It's not that bad. Sometimes they get four stories up, and when that comes down, that's a heap of hurt. That's not a cheerleading squad going south. That's a building collapse. But it’s tradition. But we do some pretty stupid stuff in this country, too.
So, what made you decide you wanted to be the host?
Bruce Campbell: They made an offer and I accepted [laughs]. Sometimes, it's not more complicated than that. Plus, look, it's Ripley's. I read the book as a kid. I still have the book, in fact. It's a cloth-bound, red book with really cool illustrations. Some guy blowing a candle out with his eye. I'm like, "Wow, how do you do that?" I don't know, it caught my fancy. They've kept that weird cartoony drawing stuff. They have a great lineage, Ripley's. It's amazing. 100 years, that's a big deal. We don't have the attention span for anything anymore, but these guys are a century old. It's pretty awesome. It's great to work for somebody that has existed for a while.
You mentioned Ripley's being 100 years old, and it has been a while since they've had a TV show. Why is now the right time to bring back the TV show?
Bruce Campbell: I don't think there was ever a time to not have a TV show. It's all part of what I call the digital period now. I think they are the most interesting curators in the world, if not the biggest. This is just going into the digital curation. It's kind of catching up in a way. There are a lot of stories we haven't done that might be a few years old. It doesn't matter. We'll grab them now, and see what they're up to now, and talk about what they've accomplished. Everything is still on the table. We hope that a lot of people come forward. I think they did a great job finding people, I really do. It's a big deal, 60 stories, what the hell? That's a lot for a season.
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