Underrated Book(s) ???

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Postby Guest » 11/19/02 05:33 PM

In another post Matthew Field wrote that he felt Bruce Cervon's book"Hard Boild Card Magic" was underrated in his honest opinion. That leads me to wonder what others think is an underrated book or books. Any opinions???
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 11/19/02 05:56 PM

Jeff,

I don't know if it's fair to call it "underrated," but Steve Bryant's Little Egypt Card Tricks is certainly one of my favorite books that rarely gets spoken of. Perhaps it's a "best kept secret."

Steve Spill's Spill Bar & Grill has some interesting stuff (but some forgettable stuff as well - but it's outweighed by the good).

Harry Lorayne's Quantum Leaps is another book that seems to get overlooked by many when the conversation turns to the "best" books when, in my opinion, it's his best book.

Jerry Mentzer's Card Cavalcade 3 is a tremendous book that I never see in anyone's "top 10" list - except mine, of course.

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Postby Jim Maloney_dup1 » 11/19/02 06:11 PM

Originally posted by Dustin Stinett:
I don't know if it's fair to call it "underrated," but Steve Bryant's Little Egypt Card Tricks is certainly one of my favorite books that rarely gets spoken of. Perhaps it's a "best kept secret."
Another book that, I think, falls under the "best kept secret" category is Peter Samelson's Theatrical Close-up, an excellent book that's somewhat difficult to find (though not impossible). I think it's safe to say it's my favorite book on magic.

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Postby Michel Huot » 11/21/02 08:18 AM

One book with incredible material is Star Quality The magic of David Regal Written by a certain Mr. Harry Lorayne. This book has a lot of "workers".

In the refreshing book dept. is SIMPLY HARKEY written and drawings by DAVID HARKEY.

I love people with creativity. People that aren't afraid to go where no one has gone...

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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/21/02 09:32 AM

"Simply Harkey" is under rated because no one thinks it's any good. I agree. It's crap.
I DO think that "Hard Boiled Cervon" was under rated. Much better than the pompous "Ultra Cervon." A good card book.
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Postby Jim Morton » 11/21/02 10:25 AM

A book that I think is consistently underrated by many magicians is Martin Gardner's Encyclopedia of Impromtu Magic. I can't tell you how many times I've heard or read someone say, "I don't get why people say this book is good. It's just a bunch of stunts and bar bets." When I hear people say this, I tell them to look again. The book is chock full of the bare bones of hundreds of tricks. I suspect that some magicians overlook it because they want their routines handed to them on a silver platter, and EOCM doesn't do that.

I also think the Karl Fulves's Self-Working books are somewhat underated. This is due in part, I'm sure, to the antipathy many have towards the "self-working" moniker (in point of fact, no effect is self-working).

Finally, a book I've gotten a lot of mileage out of that I rarely see mentioned is The Card Magic of Nick Trost. A fine book full of useful ideas.

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Postby Guest » 11/21/02 10:52 AM

I couldn't agree more with Jim. Gardner's The Encycloepdia of Impromptu Magic is one of the most amazing, under appreciated bargains in magic. Not only are many, many tricks explained in a neat, precise manner, but all those "bar stunts" are worth their weight in gold to the working performer, weather they stand behind a bar or not.

My other recommendation is a book that several readers of this board have praised, but I still rarely meet anybody who has actually read it. It's Jennings '67, quite possibly one of the best written books on an individual performer I have ever had the pleasure to read. I remember quite distinctly listening to two magicians bash the book into the ground, calling it rehashed material and lacking in modern technique. Imagine my surprise when I picked it up and found it to contain some of the most practical, utterly dumbfounding material ever published. In retrospect, I doubt that either of the magicians I overheard had even read the book. Their loss, our gain. For me, Invisible Palm Aces No. 6 is the crown jewel of an already impressive book. The care and detail of the description finally brought the trick to life for me, and now, if I have the space to set down a packet of cards, I know I can show people one of the most visual, modern pieces of card magic ever.

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Postby Michel Huot » 11/21/02 10:55 AM

I have to disagree Richard, in fact it is true that it's not that superb but it sure is refreshing. It shows that we don't have to do a book only on variations but we can use different objects to creat new magic. I don't remember the title of a certain trick but the one with the folded card that changes places with another one is pretty good.
It's an easy read.

Now, what about overrated books???
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Postby Michel Huot » 11/21/02 10:58 AM

BTW Richard, what is the book YOU published or written that you think is the most underrated book?

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Postby Curtis Kam » 11/21/02 11:46 AM

I just want to mention two favorite "underrated books": "Watch Closely" by Jim Klayder and "Magic Digest" by George B. Anderson.

Mr. Klayder's little book was way ahead of its time for its layout and wonderful illustrations. It's a very attractive book, especially considering it was staple bound. The material was 100% useable, what would later become known as "Workers", and Mr. Klayder wrote from apparent experience. In addition to some really solid close up, the book includes lessons on how to get a restaurant job, how to know whether a restaurant job is for you, how to deal with rejection, and even provides a script for pitching your services to management.

"Magic Digest" is my favorite beginner's book. Written for an adult or young adult audience, it teaches good useable routines, and it doesn't stop at the tricks. Mr. Anderson covers routining, and includes entire acts for a children's show, a night club show, an informal close up performance, and a mentalism act. He even throws in a few large illusions for trade show use. Add to this his fatherly advice on how to buy magic, (he even includes pages from the Magic Inc. catalog) how to behave at others' performances, "Where Do We Go From Here?", and engaging anecdotes that are peppered throughout the book, and you've got an introduction not only to magic methods, but also to its subculture and folklore.

I'll second the mention of Peter Samuelson's "Theatrical Close Up". Not really "underrated" since I don't recall anyone ever giving it a bad rap, but certainly 'underappreciated"
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Postby CHRIS » 11/21/02 11:54 AM

Underrated books is a good question. But what about books that are largely unknown?

Through my efforts of preserving old magic books in electronic form, I am finding more and more gems and lost treasures, that nobody beside a small group of collectors even knows exist.

It is unbelievable what body of knowledge has been already published. We are to a large extent reinventing the wheel over and over again. A thorough examination of these old books and magazines is often better than the latest overhyped book coming out.

Two examples I would like to mention are "Physcial Amusements and Diverting Experiments" by Guiseppe Pinetti, 1784 and "New Era Card Tricks" by Roterberg.

The Pinetti book was for me the best read this year. 1784! Want to read about REAL miracles? Then read this book. It describes how to change the color of a rose. How to shoot a bird and bring it back to life. How to drown a fly for 24 hours and bring it back to life. Card tricks based on skill and based on mathematical principles. Artificial spiders that move by electricity and much more. David Blaine could learn something here.

Roterberg's "New Era Card Tricks" is one of my all time favorite card books. I consider it a must read for anybody working with cards. This is the foundation Erdnase and so many others have built on.

What's the moral? Study the old books and magazines!

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Postby Guest » 11/21/02 11:54 AM

Why are these books underrated ? Where is the ratings? Maybe undersold is a more appropriate term. But in many case a book that is undersold is a good thing for those who purchased. ;)
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Postby Guest » 11/21/02 11:56 AM

"Now, what about overrated books??? "

That would be a much longer thread. It is also completely subjective to what you want out of magic. If people started listing books that they thought were overrated, some people would start crying.

All of the books I really cherish are not underrated. I like the standard magic books and I think they are rightfully praised.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 11/21/02 12:08 PM

Chris, I really don't think anyone with a good working knowledge of the literature of magic would say that Roterburg's "New Era Card Tricks" is underrated. It's a spectacular book, as we all know. Like any book that's over 100 years old, many magicians have not read it. That's not the same as underrated.
As far as my own publishing efforts go, I would have to agree that "Jennings '67" is the most underrated. I rank it right up there with the books on Roth, Dingle, and Hamman. Also, "The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser"--what a load of great great material!
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Postby Michel Huot » 11/21/02 12:23 PM

Ah Richard, something we finally agree on

hahaha

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Postby Matthew Field » 11/21/02 01:38 PM

Originally posted by Richard Kaufman:
As far as my own publishing efforts go, I would have to agree that "Jennings '67" is the most underrated. I rank it right up there with the books on Roth, Dingle, and Hamman. Also, "The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser"--what a load of great great material!
Richard and I have discussed this many, many times. Our lists agree. I would add the Ibidem reprint (now published by Hermetic Press, with Vols 2 and 3 plus Aziz as well), "The Book, or Don't Forget to Point" by the Flicking Fingers and "Secrets Draun from Underground," a phenominal book.

Favorite historical book, also little discussed, is Edwin Dawes' "Stodare: The Enigma Variations." What a story!

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Postby Guest » 11/21/02 03:38 PM

Overrated: Anything by Eugene Burger (he preaches the obvious a wee bit too much). The books are good, OVERrated is the key term.
Ultra Cervon is better than Hard Boiled. Why is everyone so down on Cervon? He's a heck of a performer (from what I've seen on those L&L videos). Why do so many magicians seem to hate the guy?

The cannon/confetti thing in the Harkey book is pretty neat. A silent performer or clown-type character could have some fun with that trick.

Underrated: Simon Lovell's first book from L&L. It's full of practical magic that many I've spoke to have dismissed because it's too easy. The tricks are very direct and powerful. I'm surprised that so few perform the material from Lovell's book.

Harley
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Postby Chris Aguilar » 11/21/02 09:11 PM

Originally posted by Harley Race:
Ultra Cervon is better than Hard Boiled. Why is everyone so down on Cervon? He's a heck of a performer (from what I've seen on those L&L videos). Why do so many magicians seem to hate the guy?
Actually, I haven't read Hard Boiled, but I quite like "Ultra Cervon" after having it for a few years. There are quite a few excellent routines in it.
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Postby Jon Racherbaumer » 11/21/02 11:04 PM

The more evocative sub-question raised in this thread is: WHY are some books underrated?
Why are initial reviews sometimes lukewarm or negative? Why is the first-blush buzz regarding some books so faint and short-lived?

Perhaps a partial answer lies in what we, as hasty readers, EXPECT to find in a book and are then disappointed when we discover that those expectations are not met? Sometimes prospective readers are turned off by an author's personality, obnoxious ego, or heavy-handed style? Sometimes readers are annoyed by the hyper-advertising and advance publicity.

There may be another, more subtle reason that may be connected to the Glut that is our bounty? Perhaps there are too many new books to read--so many that they exceed our capacity to FULLY appreciate them? (So many books; so little time.)Therefore, we fail to give these new books close readings...we tend to rush, skim and gloss over the text...giving them catalogue-once-overs...

On the other hand, my copies of Greater Magic, Encyclopedia of Impromptu Magic, Royal Road to Card Magic, Expert Card Technique, Modern Coin Magic, and Close-up Card Magic are dog-eared and ratty-looking...having been subjected to many, many readings.

I cannot tell you how many times I've performed tricks for magicians who then say, "Is THAT in print? That's great!" When I point out where the said trick is explained in print, they are dumbfounded. They usually say, "I have that book."

This strongly suggests that magicians continually miss great tricks and ideas. They missed them because they read books too quickly and cursorily, undervalued the material, hating the author, or failing to accurately rate (even by their own standards)what they were reading...

I've written a book I'll probably never publish...being hesitate to add to the Glut:

FABULOUS TRICKS OVERLOOKED
BY EVERYBODY

Onward...

JR
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Postby John Pezzullo » 11/22/02 03:39 AM

Here are my three nominations for the "underrated books" category:

"Korem Without Limits"
"The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser"
"Cardfixes"

...and remember:

"Everything reads 'cold' in print."
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Postby Guest » 11/22/02 08:30 AM

Originally posted by John Pezzullo:
Here are my three nominations for the "underrated books" category:

"Korem Without Limits"
"The Feints and Temps of Harry Riser"
"Cardfixes"

...and remember:

"Everything reads 'cold' in print."
Not some of the Paul Harris material out there. Did you ever try out Flapjacks after reading it? Or the Uncut version?
Harley
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Postby Robert Kane » 11/22/02 10:28 AM

Here are my thoughts... I like Dustin's "best kept secret" concept:

1. Arcade Dreams - Racherbaumer/Marlo - I recently picked up this wonderful book for my little collection. I found that I was delighted by the commercial quality of the material as well as with the superb production value of the book itself.

2. Magic with Faucett Ross - Ganson - This book is full of great magic for the stage and close up, as well as interesting bits of business from Vernon and T. Nelson Downs.

3. Self Working Card Tricks - Karl Fulves - Available in almost every book store in the USA and replete with some really super effects and ideas. Gerry Griffen believes most magicians ignore this book to their detriment.

4. Merrill's Knife Book - This little book is jammed packed with great moves and routines for the Color Changing Knives. It contains everything you need to develop a killer routine. A big bonus is that it is very well written with good photographs. The end result is that the explanations are crystal clear.
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Postby David Acer » 11/22/02 11:17 AM

I second Matt's nomination of THE BOOK, OR DON'T FORGET TO POINT in a gentle, loving manner. It's one of the best magic books I've read in the past five years. I also think John Racherbaumer's AT THE TABLE is too often forgotten, and I love both the FORK FULL OF APPETIZERS books, neither of which comes up in conversation anymore (especially with laymen).
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Postby Ryan Matney » 11/22/02 12:03 PM

Underrated: Simon Lovell's first book from L&L. It's full of practical magic that many I've spoke to have dismissed because it's too easy. The tricks are very direct and powerful. I'm surprised that so few perform the material from Lovell's book.
Oh, I must have passed over Simon Lovell's book. He is so funny, I just assumed when I read it that most of his magic was a joke.

Richard Kaufman said:
"Simply Harkey" is under rated because no one thinks it's any good. I agree. It's crap.
"Simply Harkey" was one of the first magic books I ever bought and I seriously almost gave up completly after reading it. Even now, it lurks in the farthest corner of my shelf, gathering dust and emiting a high pitched frequency that drives away vermin. I suggest giving it to all beginners, if they make it through and still want to do magic, you know they are serious.
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Postby Steve Bryant » 11/22/02 02:13 PM

I love the first Simon Lovell book as well, and the Ron Wilson book is a treasure. For me the problem in "under appreciating" a book is that there simply seems to be no time to really absorb a book when it appears. Read it, maybe learn one trick from it that stands out, then stick it on the shelf before the next one comes along. It's almost getting to be that way with Genii and MAGIC, and I now have a small stack of Penumbras that I haven't properly digested. The books are great; I'm just too darn busy.
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Postby Michel Huot » 11/22/02 02:39 PM

I hope i'm not off the track but for me a good book is not only based on tricks but if we're talking about tricks, then if in a book you can REALLY put a trick in your repertoire, it's a good one.

Imagine if we all did one trick from every book we own, we'd be rich magicwise...
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Postby John Pezzullo » 11/23/02 03:59 AM

Let's not forget "The Jerry Lewis Book of Tricks and Magic" (1962).
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/23/02 08:50 AM

Originally posted by David Acer:
I second Matt's nomination in a gentle, loving manner.
After reading about the Acer Nipple Writer concept in Josh Jay's December MAGIC column, I wish David's reply had been in an overtly sexual manner, as opposed to gentle and loving.

Originally posted by John Pezzullo:
Let's not forget "The Jerry Lewis Book of Tricks and Magic" (1962).
And Jer's unforgettable patter line, "LAY-dee!!!"

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Postby Joe M. Turner » 11/23/02 01:51 PM

Actually, I'm working on a new Swami writer attachment that, when combined with nipple writers, will allow you to write three predictions at once.

The principle is as old as yellow snow, but the application is what counts...

Favorite "under-noticed" books: I like reading and re-reading "McComb's Magic - 25 Years Wiser." How about Tarbell? It gets lip service, but who really reads them? Probably not enough of us...

JMT
... turned 33 today
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Postby Guest » 11/23/02 07:11 PM

Congratulations, Joe! Happy Birthday!
What we really need is a Prince Albert-type "peenie-writer". Casually drop the paper briefly to the lap and the, uh, 'dirty deed' is done. Try to do it on the 'off-beat'. Hopefully spectators won't be "burning" you at the critical time, so to be safe, try to keep the 'heat' off your privates. Ok, guys - anyone else have any ideas in this area? Magi from the northern states will be way ahead of us southerners - we haven't had years of practice writing our names in the snow! --Asrah
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Postby Matthew Field » 11/23/02 07:28 PM

Originally posted by Joe M. Turner:
... turned 33 today
Happy Birthday Joe!

Matt Field (25 years your senior)
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Postby Joe M. Turner » 11/23/02 09:29 PM

Make sure Reed McClintock gets this idea for his "piercing magic" book...

JMT
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Postby John LeBlanc » 11/25/02 06:04 AM

Originally posted by Jeffyz:
In another post Matthew Field wrote that he felt Bruce Cervon's book"Hard Boild Card Magic" was underrated in his honest opinion. That leads me to wonder what others think is an underrated book or books. Any opinions???
One book that comes to mind is "The Charlatans Handbook" by Sid Fleischman. Ever since it was released I was selfishly hesitant mentioning it to others because I liked it so much. There. Now my conscience is molified.

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Postby Dave Cox » 11/27/02 09:21 PM

I've got to strongly agree with several of the suggestions posted here - "The Uncanny Scot" (great routines, and great practical tips and tools for working in the real world, and on cruise ships (which are awfully far from the real world)) Simon Lovell's "Simon Says" (fun, direct, solid work, and some very funny stuff. a joy to read) the Flicking Fingers' book (off beat, and clever clever clever) "The Charlatan's Handbook" (Sid likes to make things look good, and likes them to be easy - excellent) everything by Billy McComb (which should be self evident)... Great books all that no one talks about in magazines or around the table. I have to add Don England's "TKO's" and Gary Ouellet's "Close Up Illusions." TKO's is mostly solid, solid card magic, and very, very fun. "Close Up Illusions" contains a wealth of material, from practical help towards creating art in magic, some good work on sleights, and good routining. And I re-read "Okito on Magic" every other year or so. I don't think I've ever really USED anything from it, but, boy, is it a fascinating read. Enjoy.

- Dave Cox
LA
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Postby Dave Egleston » 11/28/02 01:59 AM

One book that comes to mind is "The Charlatans Handbook" by Sid Fleischman. Ever since it was released I was selfishly hesitant mentioning it to others because I liked it so much. There. Now my conscience is molified.

John leBlanc
Houston, TX

Mr LeBlanc:
I find it interesting that you stated THE CHARLATANS HANDBOOK as one of your favorite books - I've always considered it as not very interesting and a blatant attempt by L&L to pull the wool over our eyes
When I bought this book back in - 1993? - I thought there was something odd about the book - I talked to the guy that said he did the graphic layout of the book and was under instructions from the publisher (Whom I like and admire greatly,by the way)to increase the size of the type and add more space between lines and of course the big margins are the most obvious change from the other books L&L was producing at the time -
At that time L&L had just put out some of the most "important" magic books in recent history and was on a roll with the likes oF CARNEYCOPIA, M.I.N.T. vol 1, THE CARDWRIGHT, THE COLLECTED WORKS OF ALEX ELMSLEY and three or four others. I think in order to keep the "big" books coming, we were treated to a little misdirection - of course, L&L came right back with some great books - but I still don't like to be "hornswaggled"
I've just gotten my copy out and will go through it again - I have to say - You're the first person I've heard rate this book so highly - But looking at the book again - It IS easy to read!!!

Dave
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Postby Guest » 11/28/02 02:27 AM

[...] to increase the size of the type and add more space between lines and of course the big margins are the most obvious change from the other books L&L was producing at the time...
That's true: margins are big, space between the lines is wider than ever... but the contents are gorgeous! I like the book; devious methods, great patter and fascinating effects. I hope it continues to stay a secret...

Regards,

Andrea Antonuccio
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Postby Guest » 11/28/02 01:42 PM

To me, one of the most underrated books is "FECHTER...The Magic of Eddie Fechter"! Eddie made a life time living with the material in that book. And for those who keep asking...David Blaines 2 card monte can be found in that book...oops, wrong forum ;) Oh yeah, and how 'bout that "Lou Gallo, underground Man?

Mike

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Postby Bob Farmer » 11/28/02 02:25 PM

Jack Carpenter's"The Expert's Portfolio No. 1" is, neither under- nor overrated -- it just seems to be in limbo. It's a fabulous book, especially for "A Potent Presage" and the 3-card monte routine.
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Postby Chris Bailey » 12/02/02 03:42 PM

Simply Harkey sits on my shelf unused as well BUT, the Goldfinger PRinciple is GOOD. It looks like real magic and I fooled Dean Dill with it quite badly. That was one of the few tricks I saw that REALLY hurt me.
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Postby Guest » 12/02/02 03:48 PM

I saw David Harkey lecture on the material from this book shortly after the release and some of the effects look great when he performs them. The one that really didn't deliver was the one where he creates an hourglass.

Mike Gallo mentions the Fechter book. I have been trying to get this book for some time because alot of guys love this book and I know there is some great stuff in it.

Keep your eyes peeled and if anyone is willing to part with it...
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