wyrick 'rips off' harary on ellen

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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/07/10 02:07 AM

Was sent to me. As he requested this be disseminated, I have copied his email here.

From: Franz Harary <xxxxxx@aol.com>To: xxxxxxx@aol.comSent: Wed, Oct 6, 2010 11:10 pmSubject: Get the word out please.Al,So,..... I just heard that Steve Wyrick isplanningto do my water tank illusion on the ELLEN show tomorrow.I'm inShanghai and it's pretty hard to do much from here. But I'll try my damnedest!In the mean time, Please spread the word toany magic blogs you canor just start emailing magicians..Get the word out there thatWyrick ripped off the tankillusion!I sued himforthis.He went bankrupt, and is now ripping me off again.IfIcan not stop him,at least I can let the magic community know what's going on.Thank you for this..From ShanghaiYour friend.. Franz.
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Postby Ryan Matney » 10/07/10 02:47 AM

I'm pretty sure Ellen's show is taped a few days ahead most of the time. Hard to stop Wyrick when he is taped and already left the building.
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Postby Tim Ellis » 10/07/10 04:27 AM

Hmmm.. they are both Merlin Award winners - someone should let Tony Hassini know so he can revoke Steve Wyrick's award as he did Bambi VanBurch
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/07/10 08:45 AM

He was doing this same illusion of Franz's without permission in his show for years I think.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/07/10 09:01 AM

Awkward. Even more awkward to go public about the issue as we have a long history in this craft of taking, using and even publishing without permission. Maybe if he were dressing up like Franz and using the same script and blocking the case could be made on the bassis of performing a play without rights?
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/07/10 10:41 AM

Quoting Townsend:

Awkward. Even more awkward to go public about the issue as we have a long history in this craft of taking, using and even publishing without permission. Maybe if he were dressing up like Franz and using the same script and blocking the case could be made on the bassis of performing a play without rights?

Quote ends

Jon -- not sure I get your point.

Are you defending Wyrick?

Are you saying that Harary shouldn't protect his rights to his own illusion?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/07/10 11:52 AM

No Bill, those are your projections thinly disguised as disingenuous questions directed at me.

For now I feel sympathy for Franz Harary who's expressed his discomfort/annoyance that his work is being abused. It's a lousy feeling I know from experience.

My considered opinion is that were the matter brought to public it would quickly be discovered that we have a long history of people doing that sort of thing and usually getting lauded for it.
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Postby David Alexander » 10/07/10 12:00 PM

Quote from Tim Ellis:

Hmmm.. they are both Merlin Award winners - someone should let Tony Hassini know so he can revoke Steve Wyrick's award as he did Bambi VanBurch."

Such severe punishment. Ellis, you are a hard man. ;-)
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Postby Bill Mullins » 10/07/10 12:46 PM

quote Jon:

"No Bill, those are your projections thinly disguised as disingenuous questions directed at me."

Nope, I'm not projecting. I'm simply trying to understand your points. You often (always?) make oblique statements and I generally leave your posts with a feeling of "WTF?"

I know your history and sensitivity to "theft" of intellectual property, and it struck me as odd that I couldn't find any criticism of Wyrick in your post, and that it was even possible to read what you said as an acceptance of it, possibly even a defense of it.

You said "We have a long history . . . of taking, using and even publishing without permission". "We" is a first person pronoun, including yourself -- I was just trying to get clear that you weren't aligning yourself with Wyrick.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/07/10 01:06 PM

I would have preferred you asked this question directly: Jon - I read your sympathy toward Harary though nothing about Wryck in your post. Would you care to direct some venom his way?

Bill - just the public notice here of his behavior seems to suffice to lower my opinion of him enough for now. I expect it does similar for the rest of the readers here.

I could be mistaken in this matter of grammer so let me know if I'm using the word 'we' improperly. As a member of the community refering to the group and its accepted historical norms it felt appropriate to state my opinon using the inclusive 'we' in this case. Had I wrote my sentiment directly (though it seemed to me to also presume an outsider perspective) I'd have written something like: "The literature and ethos of the magic community shows much tolerance if not encouragment for taking, using, publishing and then even making claims upon the works of others by attribution or lack thereof - acts most consider dispicable and an ethos which lowers the public opinion of our craft considerably."

My concern in this matter of Wyrick is that we don't get too much backslplatter of bad opionion onto our craft. Times are tough enough in magic IMHO.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/07/10 01:23 PM

Since, as was noted, that Ellen's show is taped and little can be done to stop it from airing, what might be possible is if someone (NPH?) were to contact her "people" and request that they keep the video clip of the performance off her site.

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Postby Ted M » 10/07/10 02:33 PM

Hey, it's not like Wyrick is stealing Harary's costume, name and whole act in the same city where Harary is performing.

If he did that, maybe it'd be celebrated in a book as a "Glorious Deception".

Maybe if he just steals a cornerstone illusion he'll be remembered as the Dean of American Magicians...
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/07/10 03:24 PM

++Dustin :)
Maybe could suggest showing a clip of Harary doing the item instead?
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Postby David Alexander » 10/07/10 04:25 PM

Ellen's people will be guided by their contract with Wyrick and what they deem as the best interests of their show.

They are not judge and jury and will almost certainly not allow themselves to be put in that position in a dispute between Harary and Wyrick.

I think it would be counterproductive to have a bunch of angry amateur magicians sending the Ellen show emails especially since she's shown herself to be a supporter of magic. If the producers conclude that having magicians on their show only produces a tide of angry emails they may decide to eliminate the magic portion entirely which would be too bad.

Leave it to Franz to work out. It's his problem, not ours. The rest of us should stay out of it.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/07/10 05:05 PM

So, have any of these ethical quandries ever gotten sorted out WITHOUT the pressure exerted from having the concern go public?

And if, as the email suggests, action on a private level has already been attempted and failed, doesn't it make sense to reach out to the community, if not for support, at least to inform and possibly protect them?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/07/10 08:43 PM

? Brad do you have some suggestions as to what won't come back to splatter our community?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/07/10 08:52 PM

So, this is not your ordinary "Someone just stole my trick" business as you'll read in the email from Franz below. This illusion was involved in a business transaction.
Here is an email which Franz asked me to print:

"I just got word that Steve Wyrick is doing my water tank on the Ellen show.

This is the illusion that he ripped off of me a few years ago.

He basically told me he was doing it if I was making a deal or not.

So we traded the license for his airplane illusion.

The plane was totally destroyed on delivery.

Unfortunately by then i had already sold it on his word to a Japanese production company ... bottom line is he cost me over $X00,000 in damages.

I sued him. (Clark County Court Nevada, case number: A561018.)

He went bankrupt and walked.

I got screwed again with massive legal fees.

Even if the deal had gone down as planned, he would NEVER have had the TV rights for this. He is truly below low.

The reality is there is not much I can do to stop this [censored]. But at least I can tell all the magicians what's going down. That may make it a little less painful.

Richard, please do what you can to spread the word.
I feel as if I have been punched in the face.
Thanks in advance for anything you can do here.

Magically,... your friend and fan... Franz."
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/07/10 08:53 PM

Jonathan--please stop discussing what laymen will think about this. It is entirely unrelated to the matter at hand and is screwing up this thread!
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/07/10 09:19 PM

Okay Richard,

Having expressed my sympathies for Harary and lowered opinion of Wyrick - maybe I'm just gonna open my copy of Neonomicon issue 2 and put three pennies in the window all tails side up. Who knows, stuff might happen.

Any other suggestions as to what might either help Harary or at least not support Wyrick?

Jon
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 10/08/10 12:50 AM

I want to make something clear: I wrote someone, not everyone. I said contact her people not email her people (as if I was recommending some sort of angry email campaign). Additionally, by adding the notion that it could be Neil P. Harris(NPH?)I was alluding to it being someone inside both magic and mainstream show business (not to mention the fact that NPH and Ellen are friends). Talk is cheap and no one can say yes to request never made.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/08/10 01:25 AM

Jon, you ask what can be done without splattering our community? I think we follow Bob Sheets' suggestion and 'cut them from the herd.'

No more magic mag stories on wyrick. We make sure people know what he's done by way of screwing other magicians and try to encourage others to not support him or his endeavors.

Plus, forewarned is forearmed. If you know someone has a reputation for stealing material, then you know never to show or talk about anything with them.

Of course, this is an individual"s decision as to whether or not to take this course of action, but unless the concern is made public others will continue to get screwed.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 10/08/10 04:00 AM

Have there been any stories on Wyrick in any magic magazines other than the cover story in MAGIC? I got a chuckle out of that one.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/08/10 10:45 AM

He's been mentioned in several places. And yes, I find featuring any of the ethically suspect magicians to be ill advised regardless of whose printing it. But hey, at least none of the magic editors have appeared in any tv magic series which betrays the public trust regarding stooges and camera tricks.

:p
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/08/10 11:05 AM

Agreed Brad, heck I did not even mentinod that person in my initial post on the matter.

On the legalities side, is using copied choreography and props actionable as 'performance of a play without rights' ?
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/08/10 12:10 PM

While that notion is appealing, is it legally valid? Don't know that it has been tested.

Thing is, can you keep the prop and magic, change everything else, and be in the clear?

Would laypeople be able to see the difference or, to them, is it 'just another guy who produced an airplane?
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Postby Travis » 10/08/10 09:36 PM

So, did anyone happen to watch this and confirm that he did perform the trick?
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Postby Joe Pecore » 10/08/10 09:52 PM

I didn't see it but there is a video up on her website of Wyrick performing: http://ellen.warnerbros.com/videos/?aut ... 03ece7e10f
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Postby MagicLaw » 10/09/10 01:40 AM

Folks, there are a lot of accusations and half-truths flying around here. More importantly, there is only one side of the story being told and people are jumping to conclusions prematurely.

The truth (as admitted by Franz Harary in his court pleadings filed against Steve Wyrick in the public records of Clark County, Nevada) is that Mr. Harary SOLD Steve Wyrick the rights to the Water Tank illusion in exchange for Wyrick's old airplane appearance illusion that was previously used by Wyrick for 3 yrs at Planet Hollywood. The unfounded accusation that Mr. Wyrick ripped off the Water Tank illusion from Mr. Harary is wholly inconsistent with Mr. Hararys judicial pleadings filed with the court, where he admits that he gave performance rights to Mr. Wyrick as part of a negotiated business deal. For those that would like the truth rather than rumor and speculation, here is the real story (based on the public records in Case No. 08-A-561018, Harary v. Wyrick, filed in Clark County District Court):

In 2006, Mr. Harary and Mr. Wyrick negotiated a deal whereby Mr. Wyrick would receive rights to the Water Illusion and Mr. Harary would acquire the airplane appearance prop. As agreed, Mr. Harary acquired the airplane appearance illusion from Mr. Wyrick on an "as is" basis and he had ample opportunity to inspect the prop prior to consummating the transaction. When the deal was completed, Mr. Harary received possession to Wyrick's airplane illusion and Mr. Wyrick acquired the rights to build and perform Mr. Harary's Water Tank illusion. For about two years, Mr. Wyrick performed the Water Tank illusion in his show at Planet Hollywood (and he previously performed the Water Tank 3 yrs ago on VH1's Celebracadabra without incident). Then, on April 14, 2008, (about 2 years AFTER the business deal was completed), Mr. Harary experienced buyer's remorse with the airplane illusion and tried to renege on the deal. When Wyrick refused to "undo" their transaction and stop using the Water Tank illusion in his shows, Mr. Harary filed suit against Wyrick in Las Vegas (Clark County District Court) to rescind their transaction. Mr. Harary claimed the airplane illusion was in bad condition and that he had to spend a lot of money to repair it, even though he knew the condition of the prop before taking possession back in 2006. As part of the judicial proceedings, Mr. Harary could have asked the court to enjoin Mr. Wyrick from performing the Water Tank illusion, but he elected not to seek such relief from the court.

Accordingly, Mr. Wyrick is wholly within his rights to continue performing the Water Tank illusion pursuant to the parties contractual agreement.

Mr. Hararys lawsuit against Mr. Wyrick was temporarily stayed on June 7, 2010, due to Mr. Wyricks bankruptcy filing. However, Mr. Hararys case has not been dismissed and is still pending. In other words, this legal dispute is FAR from over and will, eventually, be determined in a court of law by a judge or jury. In the interim, I hope that the magic community will reserve judgment on this issue without pointing fingers at either Mr. Wyrick or Mr. Harary. Jumping to unfounded conclusions does nothing to further this discussion. Finally, although this is a civil dispute rather than a criminal matter, the idea that someone is innocent until proven guilty should still be respected. Thousands of lawsuits are filed every day, and just because a claim or accusation is made does not mean it has any legal or factual merit. Only time will tell in this case

Ultimately, Mr. Wyrick did nothing illegal or unethical in performing the Water Tank illusion on Ellen, just as he did for more than 2 yrs in his live show in Las Vegas. Mr. Harary made a deal with Mr. Wyrick and voluntarily SOLD the rights to one of his trademark illusions, a fact that is undisputed in Mr. Hararys court filings. Unless and until a court of law orders rescission of the transaction or enters an injunction, Mr. Wyrick is free to continue to perform the Water Tank illusion.
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Postby MagicLaw » 10/09/10 02:46 AM

A few more interesting notes about the Wyrick/Harary saga based on my review of public court records:

1) On May 27, 2010, Franz Harary (and his wife, Akiko O. Harary) filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The case number is 2:10-bk-31587-TD. The case is still pending, so I guess Wyrick is not the only professional magician with financial problems!

2) On June 23, 2010, Mr. Hararys attorney, Phillip Varricchio filed a motion to withdraw as counsel in the case against Steve Wyrick due to Mr. Hararys failure to pay his legal bills in the lawsuit. Mr. Hararys former attorney also filed an attorneys lien against Mr. Harary due to non-payment of the bills.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/09/10 10:22 AM

You know, your posting would have a lot more credibility if there were a name assigned to them - especially when you seem to have signed up only recently and the only two posts the system displays are in this thread.

Harary signed his name.

Where is yours?
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 10/09/10 11:13 AM

Would having someone's name make the docket/case information any less verifiable?

I am happy to see some case data posted instead further mudslinging.

I still feel sympathy about Harary's stated feelings of his work being taken/abused. Whether or not Harary's feelings are themselves grounded in legal context is its own matter.
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Postby MagicLaw » 10/09/10 11:40 AM

Credibility, Mr. Henderson?

How about the fact that the information Im posting on here is drawn directly from public court records? The information is easily verifiable if you take the time and effort to do so (which, as a practicing lawyer, I have to do on a daily basis).

On the other hand, this entire string of allegations (including the groundless heading) was apparently started by a rash and haphazard decision to post/forward Mr. Hararys one-sided accusations against Mr. Wyrick. From there, everyone immediately accepted the allegations as truth without any question of Mr. Hararys motives or consideration of the other side of the story.

My only interest in this discussion is to shed some light on the actual facts because honesty and fairness to fellow performers and artists demands as much in these forums. Do I personally know both of the participants in the lawsuit? Yes, I do, because I have represented a number of entertainers in my career and the entertainment industry is a relatively small circle (hence the reason I have elected to remain anonymous at this time). However, I can tell you that I dont have a dog in this hunt as you seem to suggest and I do not represent any parties to this dispute.

My ultimate point is that regardless of whether you love, like, dislike, or loathe a particular magician or performer, your criticism should be based on accurate information rather than concocted accusations of legal wrongdoing such as those that were made by Mr. Harary and then spread like a virus throughout the Internet. It is imperative that we stop, think, research, and then determine whether to further advance such damning accusations.

Clearly, Mr. Wyrick and Mr. Harary have a legitimate legal dispute between themselves or the case would have settled a very long time ago. I assure you litigation is NOT a cheap resolution and 99% of lawsuits settle very quickly when there is evidence that one party is liable to the other. However, according to the docket sheet in Clark County, even before the stay due to Wyricks bankruptcy, the case was ongoing for over a year, which indicates that both sides seem to have strong reasons to believe in their legal positions.

So again, you ask for credibility? Just spend some time reviewing the documents and pleadings filed in the following cases and, as Mr. Townsend suggests, you will have more than enough verifiable reasons to know Im simply trying to shed some light on the real facts in this situation:

Franz Harary v. Steve Wyrick, Case No. 08-A-561018, Clark County District Court, State of Nevada

In re Franz Harary and Akiko Harary, Case Number 2:10-BK-31587-TD, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California
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Postby Travis » 10/09/10 11:43 AM

Franz stated in his initial email that there really wasn't anything he could do about it, but that he at least could get the word out within the magic community.

I don't think anyone was saying that Wyrick couldn't legally perform the trick. This was a matter of ethics. I was with Franz in Atlantic City when he was constantly fielding calls dealing with this situation. It all comes back to the original deal offered by Wyrick, as stated by Franz above. Wyrick, according to Franz, wanted to strike a deal to perform the Water Tank, and said that if Franz refused the deal, he was going to do it anyway.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/09/10 11:48 AM

So, magiclaw, you choose to remain anonymous

Classy.

Glad the topic's inflammatory subject encouraged you to join and comment.

So, does Franz's personal finances have anything to do with the case or issue under consideration, or would a good lawyer consider them irrelevant?
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Postby MagicLaw » 10/09/10 12:05 PM

Travis,

Contrary to his email claim, as a matter of law, Mr. Harary is not as helpless as he purports. Under state and federal law, Mr. Harary could have sought injunctive relief and asked a court to order Mr. Wyrick to stop performing the Water Tank illusion at any time during the pendency of the lawsuit for the past 2+ years. Not only could he have sought an injunction in the Clark County, NV court, but he also could have asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court to grant an injunction if Mr. Hararys debtor estate would be injured by Mr. Wyricks continued use of the Water Tank illusion.

Notably, Mr. Harary did NOT elect to pursue his legal remedies available under law. Rather, Mr. Harary is admittedly electing to smear Mr. Wyrick in the magic community or, as it is often called: the court of public opinion. IMHO, thats called taking the low road and while I empathize with his frustration over the situation, I have lost some respect for Mr. Harary for taking that approach.

Nobody on this forum is qualified to be a judge or juror, nor has all the evidence been presented. Before jumping to any further conclusions, I suggest we let the court saga play out and see what Lady Justice ultimately decides.

Brad,

I respect and understand your criticism of my decision to remain anonymous. However, I suppose if your definition of classiness is to go around posting one-sided allegations of unlawful conduct and then tell others to keep passing them along like wildfire, then you are correct--I definitely lack your version of class. Sorry about that. As for the relevancy of Mr. Hararys personal finances in this discussion, in his original email he blames Mr. Wyrick of using bankruptcy protection to avoid responsibility. That seems a little hypocritical given that Mr. Harary has recently cloaked himself in the same protection (which, until I was bored last night and began researching court records, neither I nor presumably anyone else in the magic community had any knowledge of). Remember...when you point a finger at someone, there are usually three fingers pointing back at you. Plus, Mr. Hararys failure to pay his attorneys fees in the suit against Wyrick is, based on my experience, relevant because it may indicate that the legal and factual basis of the suit may not be as strong as it was cracked up to be at the beginning. Again, Im not passing judgment on anyone in this situationjust stating the facts and letting them fall where they may.
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Postby Brad Henderson » 10/09/10 12:20 PM

For a lawyer, you don't read very well.

You write: "However, I suppose if your definition of classiness is to go around posting one-sided allegations of unlawful conduct and then tell others to keep passing them along like wildfire,"

Where did I make an allegation about Wyrick? Where did I tell others to pass anything along like wildfire?

What I wrote was "Was sent to me. As he requested this be disseminated, I have copied his email here. "

Franz signed his name to his email. Clearly it is one sided - and we know exactly whose side it is - he had the courage and integrity to sign his name.

You - well - not so much.

For someone who claims to want to deal only with facts, you do seem to do a lot of speculating.
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Postby 000 » 10/09/10 12:26 PM

Magiclaw, would be interested in the stated value of Harary's professional stage equipment in his bankcrupsy proceedings.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 10/09/10 01:07 PM

You can view the PDF of his Bankruptcy filing online here: http://bit.ly/bG3Mmy
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Postby 000 » 10/09/10 02:32 PM

Would seem to be $70 000.
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Postby Ruben Padilla » 10/09/10 03:37 PM

I clicked on the link to see the video and saw Wyrick producing a Hummer. Was the water tank illusion scrapped? Or was the video changed?
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