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Gumby, the unforgettable stop motion character, has entertained generations of fans since his introduction in the early 1950s. Now, Dynamite will release the essential compendium to his 60-year history in 2017, featuring an incredible retrospective on not only the characters themselves, but a look into the life of their creator: Art Clokey.
New Deluxe Collection to Pay Tribute to The Art and History of the Creations of Art Clokey
“The most fascinating life story I’ve ever known just happens to be about my dad, mom and the world famous characters they created. Art Clokey’s journey intersects and influences major touchstones of our American life. The sixty-year, behind-the-scenes story of Gumby and Davey & Goliath, interwoven with a rich tapestry of photos and rare anecdotes, weds perfectly with Art Clokey and his amazing life,” says Joe Clokey, son of Gumby creator, Art Clokey.
“This book will be a fascinating ‘page-turner’ with never-before-told stories about this clay animation pioneer. You’ll see Art’s friendship with East-West philosopher Alan Watts. His love and partnership with his wife Ruth Clokey and later with Gloria Clokey. Explore Art’s fascination with the counter cultural creative winds of the late 60s and 70s, infused with his spiritual learning from Christianity, Zen Buddhism and Eastern Avatars,” states Joe Clokey.
Joe continues, “Discover Art’s groundbreaking stop motion TV commercials in the early 50s (including his work with fellow stop motion legend Ray Harryhausen), along with over 40 hours of Gumby and Davey adventures, and art films, which opened up new avenues for all of us, the texture of which will inspire. See how stop motion super stars got their start with Clokey Productions, and then went on to work on iconic films from Star Wars, Terminator and Beetlejuice to Nightmare Before Christmas, Toy Story and Kubo. It’s truly an honor to work with Dynamite Entertainment on this very special book.”
“Art Clokey and Gumby are as important to the history of American animation as the creations of Walt Disney,” says Dynamite CEO and publisher, Nick Barrucci, “To be able to tell the story of this man and his incredible cast of characters is a high watermark, both as a publisher, and for me as a fan. Looking through these incredible photos and reading such rich history is guaranteed to make each and every one of us feel like a kid again.”
Dynamite Entertainment’s beautiful Gumby retrospective will be released in 2017. Look for details on pricing, format, and release in the coming weeks, along with news of other future Dynamite Gumby products!
About Dynamite Entertainment:
Dynamite was founded in 2004 and is home to several best-selling comic book titles and properties, including The Boys, The Shadow, Red Sonja, Warlord of Mars, Bionic Man, A Game of Thrones, and more. Dynamite owns and controls an extensive library with over 3,000 characters (which includes the Harris Comics and Chaos Comics properties), such as Vampirella, Pantha, Evil Ernie, Smiley the Psychotic Button, Chastity, and Peter Cannon: Thunderbolt. In addition to their critically-acclaimed titles and bestselling comics, Dynamite works with some of the most high profile creators in comics and entertainment, including Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, Neil Gaiman, Andy Diggle, John Cassaday, Garth Ennis, Jae Lee, Marc Guggenheim, Mike Carey, Jim Krueger, Greg Pak, Brett Matthews, Matt Wagner, Gail Simone, Steve Niles, James Robinson, and a host of up-and-coming new talent. Dynamite is consistently ranked in the upper tiers of comic book publishers and several of their titles – including Alex Ross and Jim Krueger’s Project Superpowers – have debuted in the Top Ten lists produced by Diamond Comics Distributors. In 2005, Diamond awarded the company a GEM award for Best New Publisher and another GEM in 2006 for Comics Publisher of the Year (under 5%) and again in 2011. The company has also been nominated for and won several industry awards, including the prestigious Harvey and Eisner Awards.
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About Premavision, Inc. / Clokey Productions, Inc.
Founded by Art and Ruth Clokey, Premavision/Clokey Productions stop motion animation studio is best known for creating the iconic character Gumby—the world’s original clayboy. The studio has produced over 200 Gumby TV episodes and The Gumby Movie, as well as the popular Davey and Goliath show. The company’s productions have aired worldwide for 60 years, and the legacy continues under the direction of Joe and Joan Clokey.
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Gumby Central spent some quality time with Tom Sarnoff, Gumby’s Godfather. Tom, a young executive at NBC studios in the 1950s and ‘60s, greenlit the very first Gumby Show, and he’s been involved with Gumby ever since. He has made tremendous contributions to the television industry. Here’s the interview:
GC: When did you first meet Gumby creator Art Clokey?
TS: I first met Art Clokey in 1955. He had been referred to me by a producer named Sam Engel. At the time I was Director of Production and Business Affairs of NBC, West Coast. Art showed me his Gumbasia film and some film of the Gumby character. I was very intrigued by what I saw, and recommended to the Program Department, headquartered in New York, that we make a deal with Art to develop the Gumby concept. Gumby was first tested on the Howdy Doody Show, and he came across as a winner. As a result, I made a deal with Art for a series.
GC: Why are you called Gumby’s Godfather?
TS: I guess… because I recommended and made the first deal for the series, and because I have been with and have been making deals for Gumby for his whole 61 years. Also, even though Gumby was the creation of Art Clokey, I have always felt something special for him and that he was “a part of me,” too.
GC: You knew Art Clokey for more than 50 years. What was Art Clokey like?
TS: Art was completely dedicated to his creations and very serious about whatever was done with Gumby. On the other hand, he fortunately also had a very good sense of humor, which he used with great success in his Gumby episodes.
I very much enjoyed working with Art. I thought that he was extremely creative, so I gave him pretty free rein in his TV series deal; and, I think it worked out well. I was also very pleased and flattered that Art came to me after we were no longer with NBC and asked me to help him get Gumby restarted. Although we tried to get a movie made, we wound up making a deal with Lorimar for a new TV series.
GC: Tom Sarnoff has worked closely with other TV, Film and Music icons.
He negotiated all of the contracts with Bob Hope for his NBC TV specials and series and all of Elvis’ NBC deals. He worked at NBC for 25 years, and in addition to his television accomplishments, he was instrumental in producing NBC’s Disney on Parade and Peter Pan arena shows. He served as an executive producer for the Bonanza TV movies and a number of Broadway productions. After founding his own company, Tom produced his own world-touring arena shows, such as Yabba Dabba Doo, featuring Hanna-Barbera characters.
Sarnoff has been a keen participant in many activities within the television Industry—he served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and was instrumental in establishing the Television Academy Foundation, among other key roles. He has also played an active leadership role in many civic and community affairs, including the Special Olympics, for which he assisted his wife Jan (President of the California chapter, 1971-85).
GC: Your father David Sarnoff is a legend in the television industry, and he’s credited with founding NBC. He’s mentioned in all the film history books. I’m sure that he influenced your choice of career. Could you speak a bit about him?
TS: My father, who was responsible for the formation of NBC, was also the visionary who envisioned television, brought it to life, and established the television industry.
During the early years of TV development, NBC experimented with showing cartoons such as Felix the Cat. In 1931 they built a studio to experiment with live broadcasting. When they were ready to expose their accomplishment, my father gathered together a group of distinguished citizens including bankers, politicians, etc. and told them what they were going to see. He pulled off a black cloth that was covering the TV monitor and said, “Ladies and Gentlemen, the first broadcast of live television.” Unbeknownst to him, however, but with the collusion of my mother, I had been sneaked over to the studio. When the black cloth was removed, out popped on the screen a little four-year old boy who waved and said, “Hello, Daddy.” I’m sure that it took a while for my father to recover from that shock when he had expected some dancing girls.
I still can feel the extreme heat of the klieg lights that they used in the studio those days, and that experience will be etched in my memory forever. Unfortunately, they did not pick up my option so I never really became a TV star.
GC: You’re a star in our book. You have an amazing list of accomplishments, too numerous to mention here. We’ve heard you say that Gumby’s strength is his character, and that “he always leaves a place better than how he found it.” You’re definitely a Gumby kindred spirit.
Thank you for joining us Tom. It has been an honor to meet with you.Read More »
Claremont Heritage Home Tour and Fall Festival Welcome Gumby
Come see the childhood home of Gumby creator Art Clokey, which will be open during the Claremont Heritage Home Tour and Fall Festival on October 9, 2016. An exhibit about Art Clokey will be on display in the home, and children will enjoy Gumby-inspired activities.
Five unique homes, including those designed by Millard Sheets and Theodore Criley, Jr. will be open for docent-led tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on October 9. The homes are located in the Via Zurita neighborhood, which is one of Claremont’s hidden treasures (Via Zurita, two blocks north of Foothill Blvd. and one Block East of Indian Hill Blvd in Claremont, California.)
The Clokey home is only open to those who have purchased a Home Tour ticket. Get your tickets in advance here or at the event.
Meet special guests Joe (Art Clokey’s son) and Joan Clokey at the Sunset Reception on Friday, October 7, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the former Clokey residence. As the owners of Gumby’s stop motion animation studio, Premavision/Clokey Productions, they carry on the family legacy, bringing Gumby to the next generation. Join us for refreshments and jazz at the reception. Reservations are required. Purchase tickets before September 30. See the Claremont Heritage website for more details.
The festival, a free event, held the same day and time and in the same location as the Home Tour, is a celebration of art, architecture and sustainability. The festival features arts and crafts, heritage flea market, live music, food trucks and experts in renovations, gardens and sustainability.
Purchase advance tickets for the Home Tour at participating local businesses or online at: http://claremontheritage.org/hometour.html
Read more about the Home Tour, Fall Festival and other events in Claremont in the Vil Clare online magazine.
See you there!
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Gumby and The Little Prince have a few things in common, so it was with great anticipation that we watched The Little Prince feature film on Netflix on the opening night in the U.S. this month. >>Watch the trailer.
The film is based on the famous and timeless French novella, The Little Prince (published in 1943), which is one of the best-selling books of all time. The film is beautiful. This adaptation captures the wondrous spirit of the book with an amazing blend of stop motion animation and CG artistry.
Connections with Gumby
Gumby creator Art Clokey was acquainted with Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the author of the The Little Prince. Antoine was a pioneering aviator who had recounted his aviation experiences in the Sahara Desert in both his memoirs and in The Little Prince. Art Clokey was a reconnaissance photographer in World War II, stationed in North Africa. He had some similar experiences as Antoine, and even met him in the early 1940s. Art told us that the Gumby episode “Small Planets“ was loosely influenced by The Little Prince. You can see the kindred spirit of the little girl’s yearning for imagination, fun and adventure in Gumby.
Jumping forward to 2014-2016, our very own Gumby Animation Director Anthony Scott served as lead animator on The Little Prince. Anthony got his start as a stop motion animator in the late ’80s when Art Clokey hired him to work on the Gumby series. Anthony has gone on to work on other amazing stop motion films such as James and the Giant Peach, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline, Corpse Bride, Paranorman, and many more.
Animator Anthony Scott Shares his Experiences
“The Little Prince was a once-in-a-lifetime project that I was fortunate to be a part of. Since I was a child, I was familiar with the book, especially its strange and fascinating illustrations. Our core team including Jamie Caliri (Stop Motion Creative Director and founder of Dragonframe stop motion software) and Alexander Juhasz (Stop Motion Production Designer) and myself, set up a small studio in Montréal, Canada. We put together a top-notch crew of local talent to produce the stop motion sequences in Mark Osborne‘s film.
Saint-Exupery’s story was told through the use of paper puppets. Like clay, paper is a beautiful material to work with in stop motion animation. These sequences have received world-wide acclaim and I feel, have effectively connected with the spirit of The Little Prince.”
Hear from the Team that Created the Film
For more details about the stop motion production, watch these podcasts:
AnimateClay Live Stop Motion Chat Podcast
- Alexander Juhasz (Character Designer/Production Designer)
- Anthony Scott (Lead Animator)
The talents behind the stop-motion in The Little Prince:
- Anthony Scott (Lead Animator)
- Corinne Merrell (Art Director)
- Jamie Caliri (Creative Director)
- Alexander Juhasz (Character Designer/Production Designer)
Enjoy The Little Prince!
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The Gumby Show – The Complete 1950s Episodes DVD Gift Set is Here
In preparation for Gumby’s anniversary years, Art Clokey’s son Joe has re-mastered all of the original 1950s episodes from the original camera rolls. They look fantastic! The brilliant colors and textures are so clear that you could almost walk right into an episode.
The episodes are put back into their original lengths with original soundtracks as they appeared when they first aired. You’ve never seen Gumby like this before! Get the details.
This two-disc gift set includes a 1950s style bendable toy–a toy modeled after the first clay Gumby puppets used in the 1950s.
Not wanting to take advantage of children, creator Art Clokey avoided merchandising Gumby items in the 1950s. After thousand of letters from parents who insisted that he make a Gumby toy for their children to hold while watching the show, Art finally relented and released the first bendable Gumby in 1964, which was modeled after the 1960s clay Gumbys that appeared in those episodes.
We’re thrilled to be offering the 1950s style Gumby bendable toy for the first time ever.
You’re going to love Gumby’s imaginative, fun-filled adventures. The DVD set will be available at www.gumby.com and other retailers.
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Re-mastered Gumby Episodes to Air in November
Big news! Your favorite Gumby episodes will be back on TV! Kabillion, one of the Top 10 Kids Free On Demand TV networks will launch Gumby episodes in mid November. Kabillion is available in over 45 million households in the U.S., so check your cable menu. There is a good chance that you already have this station in the “free” section of the menu. The Kabillion network is provided by most of the major cable companies: Time Warner, Comcast, Verizon, Charter, Bright House, Blue Ridge Communications, and more. Read about Kabillion here. Check out Kabillion’s YouTube station to watch online.
Joe Clokey, son of Gumby creators Art and Ruth Clokey, has recently re-mastered the classic Gumby episodes from their original camera film rolls and included the original soundtracks. Gumby is brighter, more colorful and more fun than ever! You’ve never seen Gumby like this before! With 209 episodes, the longtime hit series has aired in over 146 countries and touched many generations, first airing in the mid 1950s, and continuing into the 2000s.
“My parents created Gumby as a gift of love to children and the child within all of us,” commented Joe Clokey. “People from all generations have been enthralled with these timeless imaginative adventures. Families today want to have 24/7 access to content and we are delighted to be partnering with Kabillion who can now make this happen for our Gumby fans everywhere.”
“For well over fifty years, Gumby has inspired people of all ages and nationalities with the shows central concept of lending a helping hand to others. Gumby has truly become a cultural icon,” commented Nicolas Atlan, Kabillion President & Splash Entertainment co-CEO. “We are excited to bring Gumby to our audience as it is a show that crosses multiple generations and will provide a great co-viewing experience,” added David Di Lorenzo, Vice President Licensing and Digital Distribution for Kabillion.
Stayed tuned… more announcements and official launch dates to come.
P.S. To our Canadian fans: You’re going to love what we have in store for you!
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Glendora Racer Kenton Koch Promotes Inaugural Gumby Fest at 125 mph
April, 2014 (GLENDORA, Calif) Race drivers come in all shapes and sizes. Glendora native Kenton Koch is tall and lean, just like another famous Glendora native—Gumby. On May 1-3, Kenton will be taking Gumby for a high-speed ride in his ALARA Racing Mazda MX-5 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in Monterey, California. This community partnership is to promote the June 14th Gumby Fest in Glendora, and help raise money for the Glendora Library.
Kenton will be donating his custom Gumby Fest Mazda Motorsports Sparco racesuit and helmet to the Glendora Library to be auctioned off in support of the library.
Kenton Koch: “Being a native Glendora resident, I jumped at the chance to support this great community event. My plan is to take both Gumby and Pokey to the winners circle in Monterey.”
Joe Cina, Executive Director, Glendora Chamber of Commerce: “The inaugural Gumby Fest is all about fun for the family. It’s wonderful to have young community leaders like Kenton Koch step forward in creative ways to help out. This will be a great photo op for kids of all ages.”
Joe Clokey, Clokey Productions/Premavision: “Gumby is about adventure, and racing is certainly an adventure. It’s great to have a Glendora native carrying Gumby and Pokey at the racetrack.”
About Gumby and Gumby Fest
Memories of Gumby make everyone smile. What most people don’t know is that Gumby is alive and doing well, and we’re here to help promote and educate everyone on the history of Gumby as well as the magic Gumby will create for future generations. Welcome to Gumby Fest Glendora. Many are not aware Glendora, California, is Gumby’s hometown. Gumby was created in the mind of Art Clokey after he graduated from USC in the early 1950s. In 1953, Art produced the first clay animation music video called “Gumbasia,” which led to the Gumby series. Based on a suggestion by Art’s wife Ruth, Gumby’s shape was inspired by a gingerbread man. Clokey’s first commercial production of Gumby was an episode for the hugely popular “The Howdy Doody Show.” Gumby then earned his own spin-off in 1957 on NBC that resulted in 233 episodes. In 1960, the couple opened Clokey Productions on Fleetwood Avenue in Glendora. For the next 18 years, Gumby and the stop-motion animated children’s Christian television series, “Davey & Goliath” were produced quietly in an unassuming industrial building in south Glendora. Since Gumby lived in Glendora during his formative years from when he was 7 until 25, we humbly claim that Glendora is Gumby’s Hometown. In honor of Glendora’s connection to Gumby, Glendora will host the first ever Gumby Fest on June 14, 2014, with film screenings, demonstrations, memorabilia, historical displays and plenty of games, contests and activities for the kids.
About Kenton Koch Racing
19-year old Kenton Koch has been racing for over a decade, starting out in karts at age eight. The Glendora native balanced his school work with racing as he moved up to racing with the Skip Barber Racing School where he won 30 races over three years. Kenton won the 2013 Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge to earn a place in the Mazda SportsCar Racing Academy. Kenton kicked off the 2014 season with a win and a second place in the SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich. When not at the racetrack, Kenton is a full-time student at Cal State Fullerton where he is majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
Learn more about “Gumby Fest” at http://www.gumbyfest.net
Race Questions: Kenton Koch Racing. Kenton Koch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 626-622-5858
Glendora, CA – Several film industry stop-motion animation artists will be joining the fun of the premier Gumby Fest to be held June 14 in Glendora, California.
Gumby, the world’s original clayboy and pop-culture legend who starred in more than 230 TV episodes and a movie, “grew up” in Glendora, where the iconic TV series was produced from 1960 to the late 1970s.
The celebration of all-things Gumby as well as stop-motion animation will take place on the grounds of Glendora City Hall and Public Library at the corner of Glendora Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.
Among the family fun at Gumby Fest 2014:
- “Gumby Through the Years” presented by Joe Clokey, son of creator Art Clokey,
- Gumby Museum with memorabilia provided by the Clokey family and Gumby producer Premavision, Inc.,
- Film screenings of Gumby cartoons, as well as stop-motion animation videos submitted to festival organizers,
- A Kids’ Stop-Motion Animation Studio conducted by animation artists from Stoopid Buddies Stoodios, home to the longest running stop-motion show on television, Robot Chicken. Children will learn how to produce a stop-motion video they can take home after the festival,
- Panel discussions about the past, present and future of stop-motion animation with artists from LAIKA Studios, producers of ParaNorman and next September’s BoxTrolls, along with stop-motion animators who worked with Art Clokey to produce Gumby shows.
Art and Ruth Clokey founded Clokey Films (later renamed Clokey Productions) when they launched “Gumby” in 1955. The studio moved from Hollywood to a larger facility in Glendora, California in 1960 when they began production on 85 “Gumby” episodes and 65 “Davey and Goliath” episodes.
Clokey’s son Joe and his wife Joan employ top animators, puppet makers and set designers in the industry (many of whom were mentored by Art himself) as they continue all things Gumby with Premavision, Inc., and Prema Toy, Inc.
Gumby Fest is produced by the Glendora Chamber of Commerce, Glendora Community Services, Glendora Library, Glendora Rotary and Glendora Kiwanis.
Sponsors include A1 Rentals, The Glendora Library Friends Foundation, Southland Properties, NJ Croce, Undercovers, Crazy Dog Ladies, Alta Pacific Bank, and TAS Advertising Specialists.
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The Clokeys (stewards of the Gumby brand and Clokey Productions/ Premavision Studios), were the Saturday night headliners at the Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival in October, 2013. The Clokeys, along with director Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas), were the festival jurors.
What an inspiring event! It was a stop motion marathon—over 300 short films were submitted to the competition. Producers, directors, animators, puppet makers, writers, set designers and crew from around the world attended to premier their new films.
The Montreal Stop Motion Film Festival, which was launched five years ago, is the first festival in the world dedicated solely to stop motion animation. Founder Erik Goulet, an animation professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, frustrated with the lack of attention that stop motion films received at regular film festivals, decided to start his own. He has been generating international attention for this unique art form. Other stop motion animation festivals are now springing up around the world: Poland, Brazil and Mexico.
Festival goers learned more about stop motion pioneer Art Clokey and the impact Gumby had on the development of animation during the “Gumby through the Years” presentation. The montage included a sampling of Gumby and Davey and Goliath episodes and excerpts, Art Clokey’s art films and his early commercial work. While a few film and commercial makers were experimenting with stop motion animation in the 1950’s, Gumby was the first stop motion character to have his own TV series. Many of today’s acclaimed animators attribute their break in industry to Art Clokey, who was known for hiring and training young art school graduates. Gumby has inspired thousands in the animation business and continues to stir imagination and creativity.
Henry Selick’s presentation included a screening of Nightmare Before Christmas (celebrating the film’s 20th anniversary) and scenes from his features: Coraline, James and Giant Peach and Monkey Bone. Animation Director Anthony Scott, who learned to animate under Art Clokey and later worked on many of Henry Selick’s films, joined in the presentation to share his anecdotes and perspective on how stop motion has evolved in the last 20 years.
You can read more about the Montreal Film Festival and the winners at http://www.stopmotionmontreal.com/index.php/en/
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The Gumby Central Gang was thrilled to be part of the special exhibition: Between Frames: The Magic Behind Stop Motion Animation—which was on view at the Disney Family Museum in San Francisco, California, from September 2012 through April 2013.
The exhibition explores the evolution of stop motion animation in the United States—especially in special effects, television, and film—while examining some of the key milestones in the field. Innovators include Willis O’ Brien (King Kong), Tim Burton (Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas), Art Clokey (Gumby), Ray Harryhausen (It Came From Beneath the Sea), Henry Selick (Coraline and James and the Giant Peach), Phil Tippett (Star Wars and Jurassic Park), and more. This 100-year-old art form launched Walt Disney’s career in animation.
The exhibition includes behind-the-scenes photographs, replicas of the original armatures, a Digital Input Device (DID), puppets and other interesting tools of the trade. Gumby is represented with storyboards, an original Gumby puppet mold, a description of how a clay character is made, a morphing Gumby, and photos of Art Clokey at work.
Visitors are invited to manipulate and touch armatures at a special interactive station. A video spotlights great moments in stop motion animation, and episodes and clips from various stop motion masterpieces are shown.
We especially enjoyed the kick-off party, “Animate Your Night,” in September, during which visitors made clay puppets with wire and foil armatures and created their own digital stop motion animation. There was so much wonder and creativity in the air! The entry hall featured a sculpted cake adorned with sweet likenesses of the characters in the exhibit, and the caterer even got into the spirit by dressing in a Gumby costume to deliver tasty treats. Too much fun!
The next time you are in San Francisco, stop by the Walt Disney Family Museum for an introduction into the world of animation and Walt Disney’s life. The well-designed museum will surely delight animation fans of any age. Check out their calendar of events for their list of fascinating talks and activities.
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