SALLY PHIPPS: RISQUE PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG, PRETTY AND REBELLIOUS FILM STAR (1927)

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This vintage real photo postcard features American actress, Sally Phipps (1911-1978). She was born in Oakland, California. Her father was a magician and her mother was a colorist in a photography studio. Her father left the family when she was age four, and Sally went to live with a foster family. Her foster parents both worked in the film industry. Sally appeared in her first film, at age three. It was called “Broncho Billy and the Baby” (1914). There were two more films in the series the following year. Prior to her debut in the movies, she had won several “Beautiful Baby ” contests. She was rediscovered by director Frank Borzage while still in high school. At age 15, in 1926, she began using the name “Sally Phipps”. She became a Fox film star and appeared in over twenty films before the arrival of 1929. In 1927, she was selected as one of thirteen “Wampas Baby Stars”. The organization was very successful at identifying future stars. Among their “finds” was Clara Bow and Joan Crawford. As a result of becoming a Wampas star, her photograph appeared in many film magazines. She often was dressed in silk and fur. Her first starring role was in the film “Love Makes ‘Em Wild” (1927). Her last appearance in a Fox film was 1929, despite her five year contract with the studio that she signed in 1927. In 1931, Phipps appeared in a Broadway production by Kaufman & Hart called “Once in a Lifetime”). Looking at Phipps career, it is evident that she played many “vamp” roles. A New York Times (2008) article described her as “a comic sexpot whose innocently naughty antics were the very embodiment of flaming youth.”.     The article also described her off screen flapper lifestyle stating that she smoked, tangoed, dated older men, and rode around Hollywood in a flashy car.  Like many young stars, Phipps had difficulty handling her success. Some of her difficulty was seen in her defiant personality. She frequently displayed a lack of dedication to her acting. She also overspent and built up large debts. She sued her parents when they tried to control her spending. This legal action is thought to have resulted in enough negative publicity to hurt her career. At age 18, with two years left in her Fox contract, she took off for New York and the stage. Fox was ok with her skipping out on the contract. They were basically done with her. Phipps was married twice. Her husband was Benedict Gimbel Jr, heir to the department store, Gimbels. They married in 1931 and divorced in 1935. After her divorce, she found herself living in a one room apartment in New York City, and making twenty-five dollars a week as a secretary. She developed an interest in theosophy and Eastern religions and lived in India for a short time. Later, Miss Phipps married Alfred M. Harned, a New York musician. She had met him at a seance. The couple had two children. She and her family moved to Hawaii and Phipps had a mental breakdown. She and her husband separated and the kids stayed with their father. For awhile she kept in contact with her children. In a short time, she abandoned them. She did not see her son for seventeen years.  Phipps appeared in two Broadway shows during her careeer. Her filmography includes 24 appearances in movies between 1915 and 1931. Like many early film stars, her rapid rise to stardom was followed by a quick dive into obscurity. According to the date written on the reverse of this postcard, this portrait of Miss Phipps was taken in 1927. She was only 15 or 16 years of age at the time. It seems a bit creepy to me that teenage girls could be so sexualized by movie studios. The postcard was published by Iris Verlag and is part of a series (no. 913). The postcard photo includes the logo of “Fox Film”, indicating she was under contract with the studio at the time the postcard was published. This postcard is in very good condition (see scans).

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ANNY ONDRA: BEAUTIFUL AND TALENTED ACTRESS AND WIFE OF BOXING CHAMPION MAX SCHMELING

This risque vintage real photo postcard features actress Anny Ondra. The postcard was published by Iris Verlag. The photograph is by Verleih Norbert & Co.. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5446). The photo seen on this postcard captures Ondra in a scene from the movie “Blackmail” (1929). This particular postcard is rare. I have searched extensively and have not been able to locate this particular image elsewhere. Anny Ondra (1903-1987) was a Czech film actress. She was born in Tarnow, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Poland). She was active in the movie industry between 1914 and 1957. She acted in Czech, Austrian, and German films in the 1920’s. She appeared in some British dramas, most notably, Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Manxman” (1929) and “Blackmail” (1929). The IMDb credits Ondra with over 90 acting credits between 1914 and 1957. She appeared in more than 40 films in the sound era. However, her career in British films was hurt by her thick accent. Check out the youtube video below. In this “test film”, Hitchcock “interviews” Ondra and makes her visibly uncomfortable and embarrassed by asking her very personal questions. She was married to German boxing champion Max Schmeling between 1933 and 1987. Schmeling was the world champion between 1930 and 1932. He is  well known for his fights with African American fighter, Joe Lewis. Ondra’s father was a Czech, Austro-Hungarian military officer and she grew up in Tarnow, Pula, and Prague. At the early age of seventeen, she acted in the theater as well as in a film. When her family learned that she had acted in a film, they were extremely angry. In fact, she reported that she was given a beating by her father. Post World War I was a time, for many people, that being an actress was akin to being a prostitute. Ondra began to live with her boyfriend (her debut film’s director) but after some time, the relationship ended because she wanted a family and he wanted nothing to do with marriage. In 1933, after a three year romance, Anny married Max Schmeling. She had been in a film with the boxer (“Knock-Out”, 1935). It was a “happy” marriage and the couple remained together until her death in 1987. Ondra and Schmeling were hot names in Nazi Germany. German fascists tried to exploit them in order to popularize their movement. Schmeling was seen as a German superman while Ondra represented the blonde Aryan type. The two celebrities refused to collaborate. Schmeling turned down honors and even helped hide two Jewish children, saving their lives. However, because of Nazi propoganda, many believed that the couple had collaborated. As a result, Schmeling and Ondra suffered financially for their fictional cooperation with the Nazis. Ondra was portrayed in two modern day movies, “Ring of Passion” (1978) and Joe and Max (2002). This vintage postcard is in excellent condition (see scans).

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BETTY BRONSON: BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS BEST KNOWN FOR PLAYING PETER PAN IN THE 1924 SILENT FILM

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POSTCARD 2   (SOLD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features American actress Betty Bronson (1906-1971).She began her career in silent films and later appeared in sound films and television. This postcard was published by Ross Verlag and is part of a series (1095/1). At the time when this postcard was released, Miss Bronson was working for Paramount Film. She appears to be quite young when she sat for this portrait. She moved to California as a teenager determined to start an film acting career. She landed a bit part at age 16 and a year later she was interviewed by the author of  Peter Pan (J M Barrie) and chosen to play the lead role in the film version which was released in 1924. Gaining this part was quite an accomplishment considering more seasoned actresses including Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford sought the role. She became became lifelong friends with two members of the Peter Pan cast (Mary Brian and Esther Ralson). Miss Bronson had major roles in the silent films Ben Hur (1925) and a Kiss for Cinderella (1925). Betty Bronson made a successful transition into talkies. She co-starred with Al Jolson in the sound film, The Singing Fool (1928). In 1933 she took about a four year break from actingto marry a wealthy North Carolinian named Ludwig Lauerhass. While she was filming Peter Pan, Douglas Fairbanks Jr. developed a crush on her. The IMDb reports that Bronson had 41 film and television appearances during her career (1922-1971). Included in her television career were roles in Run For Your Life and My Three Sons. Overall, it is reported that Betty Bronson never lived up to her original promise. She was expected to be a major competitor to Mary Pickford but it is thought that her roles after Peter Pan were not effective vehicles to showcase her talent and to help her rise to superstardom. The YouTube clip below shows Miss Bronson in her role as Peter Pan.                                                                                                             The second postcard offers another portrait of Betty Bronson. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag and has the logo of Paramount Pictures. This postcard shows her in a movie role but the movie title is unidentified.                                                                                                            The third postcard is a portrait of Miss Bronson that was published by Iris Verlag as part of a series (#504). Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The film star looks quite beautiful and is wearing a fancy dress, long white gloves, and a tiara. Imbedded in the photo of the actress is a logo for “Fanamet Films”.  Fanamet was an Austrian film distribution company.

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MAGDA SONJA: AUSTRIAN SILENT FILM ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features Austrian actress Magda Sonja (1886-1974). She was married to film director Friedrich Feher. Her acting career began when she was twenty years of age when she appeared in a production in Vienna. She then appeared in a number of Cabaret performances. She began her silent film career in 1917 in the film “About A Woman”. By 1918 she was a star of Austrian silent films along with Liane Haid. In fact, Sonja was the actress with the most appearances for the very productive Sasch-Film company. Among her films were “The Other Me” (1918), “Don Juan’s Last Adventure” (1918), “The Venus” (1922), and “Drakula halala” (1923). She is considered to have reached the height of her career in (“Mata Hari, The Red Dancer”). The IMDb credits Sonja with appearing in 43 films between 1917 and 1937. Magda Sonja was another actress who’s career cooled off after the advent of sound movies. In 1933, she and her husband emigrated to England to avoid the persecution of Jews. In 1937 they moved to the United States. Sonja was the mother of actor Hans Feher. It is unfortunate that Sonja and her husband had no success in resuming their careers in Hollywood.  This postcard was published by Iris Verlag as part of a series (no, 5021). Logos for “National” and “Mondial-Film appears on the front of the postcard. Mondial-Film was a production company and a film distributor.

BEBE DANIELS: BEAUTIFUL AND MULTI TALENTED ACTRESS (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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POSTCARD 4   (SOLD)

These vintage real photo postcards feature actress Bebe Daniels (1901-1971). The top postcard was published by Cinemagazine (Paris Edition) and is part of a series (no. 121?). Miss Daniels is absolutely beautiful. She is nicely dressed and her outfit includes furs. She is wearing a large ring and a necklace with a cross. Bebe Daniels was an American actress, singer, dancer, writer and producer. She was born in Dallas, Texas to show business parents. Her father was a theater manager and her mother was a stage actress. She started her career in Hollywood as a silent film child actress. She became a star in musicals such as “42nd Street”. She worked opposite Harold Lloyd and was under contract with Cecil B. DeMille.  She later became a popular radio and television actress in Great Britain. In the 1920’s she was under contract with Paramount Pictures and made the transition to adult roles. In 1924 she played opposite to Rudolph Valentino in “Monsieur Bearcaire”. She also recorded songs for RCA Victor. When talkies began, she was hired by RKO. While with RKO her movies included a number of musicals such as “Dixiana” (1930) and  “Love Comes Along” (1930). Over the course of her career, she appeared in 230 films. She retired from Hollywood in 1935. After World War II she was awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Truman for her service during the war. An interesting story concerning Miss Daniels is that while appearing in a Chicago hotel, several thousand dollars worth of her jewelry was stolen from her hotel room. Al Capone, the notorious gangster, was a longtime Daniels fan and put out an order that the thief had just 24 hours to return it “or else”. The jewelry was returned the following day.

The second postcard of Miss Daniels was published by Iris Verlag for Paramount Films (Fanamet). Fanamet was an Austrian film distribution company. The postcard was part of a series (no. 977). This profile portrait also displays the beauty and appeal of Miss Daniels.Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Iris Verlag was a different company than Germany’s Ross Verlag. Iris cards restricted itself to one postcard format and did not publish scene card series popularized by Ross. The early Iris cards had a sepia brown tone while the cards from the 1930’s were closer to “black and white”.

The third photo postcard features Bebe Daniels dressed as a “harem princess”. She is wearing a two piece dress with lots of see-through material. She is dressed and posed to look beautiful and sexy. I believe that the mission was accomplished. The postcard was published by Ross Verlag in Germany circa 1920’s. The postcard is part of a series (no. 3213/1) and Paramount Studio is credited. This postcard portrait of Miss Daniels is rare.

The fourth postcard portrait of Miss Daniels is from a series (No. 37) called “Les Vedettes de Cinema (Stars of the Cinema)”. The postcard includes the logo of Paramount Studios. This real photo postcard is published by Cinemagazine and was produced in France.

 

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REVERSE OF FOURTH POSTCARD

 

ELGA BLINK: BEAUTIFUL GERMAN FILM ACTRESS

This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful German film actress Elga Blink. The IMDb reports that she appeared in sixty-nine films between 1922 and 1951. Blink was blonde and slender. She began her career in silent films. She often played supporting roles. She appeared in comedies, science fiction, drama, and even in a sex education film. She was recognized for her roles in “Comedians of Life” (1924), “Love in Intoxication? (1927), and “Marriage in Trouble” (1929).  At some point she was married to director Georg Jacoby. After the second world war she mostly did stage work until her retirement from the entertainment world. She then worked as a clerk in a Hamburg law firm. This postcard was  published by Iris Verlag as part of a series (No. 620). On the bottom right corner of this postcard is the logo for Sascha-Films. The company was the largest Austrian film production company of the silent film and early sound film era. The film company was established in 1910 in Bohemia and in 1912 it moved to Vienna. Sascha remained in business through the 1960’s although it went through many changes of ownership and company names through the decades.

 

Published in: on September 7, 2017 at 6:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF EARLY FILM ACTRESS ITA RINA

 

The pretty film actress seen in this vintage real photo postcard is Ita Rina (1907-1979). Her unusual name is actually a pseudonym. Italina Lida Kravanja was her given name and it’s understandable that she used a shorter and more catchy moniker. Miss Rina was a Slovenian film actress and beauty queen. In the late 1920’s and early 1930’s she was one of the major film stars in Germany and Czechoslovakia. After getting married in 1931 she changed her name to Tamara Dordevic. Rina was a poor student as a child and knew early on that she wanted to be an actress. In 1926 she entered a beauty contest sponsored by a Slovenian magazine and Rina won. She was then slotted to compete in the next level beauty contest but she arrived late and could not participate. No worry though, she was noted by a cinema owner who sent her photograph to German film producer Peter Ostermayer who invited her to Berlin for an audition. In 1927,  Rina went to Berlin without her mother’s permission. She took classes in acting and dancing. She made her debut in the film “What Do Children Hide from Their Parents” (1927). After a number of small film roles, she received some attention for her role in the film “Last Supper” (1928). Her breakthrough occurred in the film “Erotikon (Seduction)” (1929) in which she had a starring role. The film was a great success but upset some moral and Christian organizations for it’s eroticism. Some consider her best role to have been in the Czech sound film “Tonka Sibenice” (1930). Rina received an offer from Hollywood but her husband vetoed it and she decided to stay with her husband. However, she continued her film career until the beginning of World War II. Rina’s IMDB filmography asserts that she appeared in 19 films. This RPPC was produced by Iris Verlag. Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The publishing house  Amag (Albrecht & Meister) is listed on the reverse of the card. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5118). The photographer was Kiesel of Berlin.

 

Published in: on June 7, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF KARINA BALL: BEAUTIFUL ACTRESS AND BREWERY DIRECTOR

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Karina Bell’s beauty is quite apparent in this vintage real photo postcard portrait.  She was born in Hellerup, Denmark in 1898 and died in Denmark in 1979. Bell was a film actress who began her career as a ballet dancer. She made her stage debut in 1919. Most of her films were silent films produced in Sweden, Denmark or Germany. She did appear in two talkies. She was known for her roles in “Little Dorrit” (1924), Klovnen (1926), and “5 Raske Piger” (1933). Bell was one of the most popular stars of the Nordisk Films Kompagni in the 1920’s. She was married in 1934 to Knud Parkov (1894-1949). He was the director of a Danish brewery (Wiibroes Brewery) and a member of the Danish resistance. She retired from acting after she got married. The IMDb gives Karina Bell 20 credits. Her film appearances occurred between 1919 and 1933. Upon her husbands death, Bell took over his director duties at the brewery. This Austrian postcard was produced by Iris Verlag as part of a series (no. 589). The photograph was by Lux-Film.

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SEXUAL CHEMISTRY IN FILM: VIRGINIA VALLI AND GEORGE O’BRIEN (RPPC)

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Can sexual chemistry be photographed? This fantastic vintage real photo postcard provides evidence that the answer is yes. This image captures early film stars George O’Brien and Virginia Valli in an emotionally charged scene in an unknown movie. The pair starred together in at least two silent movies produced by Fox. The films were “Paid to Love” (1927) and “Eastside Westside” (1927). Virginia Valli (1898-1968) was an American stage and film actress. Her early acting experience was with a Milwaukee based stage troupe. Her film career started in the silent film era and ended in the early stages of the talkies (1930’s). She has 65 credits on the IMDB web site. She began her film work with Essanay Studios in her hometown of Chicago in 1916. By the mid 1920’s, she was an established star at Universal Studios. She was the star of  King Vidor’s “Wild Oranges” (1924). Most of her films were produced in the mid 1920’s and include Alfred Hitchcock’s first feature movie, “The Pleasure Garden” (1925). Her first sound picture was in 1929. She left the movie business in 1931 due to her high salary command and declining appeal to audiences. She moved to Palm Springs, California with her second husband, actor Charles Farrell. She was very much part of the social scene there. She died in Palm Springs at age seventy. George O’Brien (1899-1985) was an American actor popular during the silent film era as well as the early talkies era of the 1930’s. He is remembered most for his role in Murnau’s 1927 film “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans”. He had an active film career which is evident by the fact that the IMDB web site gives him 85 credits. O’Brien was born in San Francisco and his father at one time, was the city’s chief of police.  During World War I, O’Brien was in the US Navy and served on a submarine chaser. He worked as a stretcher bearer for wounded Marines and was decorated for his bravery. Following the war, O’Brien became the light-heavyweight champion of the Pacific Fleet. After completing is service, O’Brien was in his early twenties and he went to Hollywood to seek work as a cameraman. He did find employment in the field and helped film for Tom Mix and Buck Jones. He then entered acting by playing bit parts and by being a stuntman. His first starring role was in “The Man Who Came Back” (1927) where he played opposite Doroth Mackaill. He then appeared in “Iron Horse” by famed director John Ford in which his counterpart was Madge Bellamy. The film was a great success and the experience forged a colloborative relationship with Ford that resulted in O’Brien appearing in nine more of the directors films. He spent much of the 1920’s as a leading man in action and adventure type roles. During the 20’s he received the nickname “the torso” because of his excellent physique. With the arrival of sound, O’Brien appeared predominately in Westerns during the 1930’s and he was considered a major draw. With the arrival of World War II, O’Brien re-enlisted in the US Navy and served as a beachmaster in the Pacific theater. He was decorated several times and when he was discharged he had attained the rank of commander. He later joined the Naval Reserve where he served as a captain. O’Brien’s last leading role was in a film that included the Three Stooges. According to his obituary,  O’Brien was buried at sea courtesy of the US Navy. This real photo postcard was published by Iris Verlag and made in Germany. The postcard is part of a series (no. 5121) and credits Fox Film.
ADDENDUM: After viewing this image, a visitor contacted me to claim that the beautiful woman in this photograph is not Virginia Valli, but instead, it is June Collyer (1906-1968). I was unable to locate information or relevant comparison images to definitively confirm that it is Collyer that is in the photograph, but I did find a film publicity photo identical to the postcard image above. The description of that photo indicates that the pictured woman is Collyer. Collyer was born in New York City and as a society girl was chosen by Allan Dwan (Director, Producer, Screen Writer) to her first starring role in “East Side, West Side. She did eleven silent films and made a successful transition to talkies. In 1928 she was he was one of the thirteen girls selected as “WAMPAS BABY STARS”. In 1930 she appeared in “The Three Sisters” and “Sweet Kitty Bellairs”. From 1930 through 1936 she starred in nineteen films. She took a sabbatical from acting in the 1940’s and did television acting during the 1950’s. June was the sister of radio actor/announcer Bud Collyer (1908-1969). He became a major game show star hosting such programs as “Beat the Clock” and “To Tell the Truth”. June Collyer was married to actor Stu Erwin. In conclusion, I am unsure whether the beautiful woman in this image is Miss Valli or Miss Collyer. It is an answerable question if someone is willing to do the requisite research.

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THE SAD STORY OF VILMA BANKY: BEAUTIFUL SILENT FILM STAR

 

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This vintage real photo postcard features beautiful and sensuous actress Miss Vilma Banky (1901-1991). She was born in Hungary but was an American silent film actress. She began her acting career in Budapest and later France, Austria, and Germany. In 1925, Banky was plucked from Europe by Hollywood film producer Samuel Goldwyn. American audiences fell in love with her and she earned the moniker of “The Hungarian Rhapsody”. In a review of her first film, “The Dark Angel” (1925), the New York Times (1925) described Banky as “a young person of rare beauty”. In the mid and late 1920’s she was Goldwyn’s biggest money maker. Some of her most famous roles were in the films “The Eagle” (1925) and the “The Son of the Sheik” (1926). She played romantic roles opposite Ronald Coleman and Rudolph Valentino. The advent of sound films is believed to have short circuited her acting career. Apparently her thick Hungarian accent was unacceptable. However, around the time of the introduction of sound films, it is thought that she had lost her enthusiasm about films and was more interested in settling down with actor Rod La Rocque (1898-1969), whom she married in 1927. Goldwyn gave the bride away and Cecil B. DeMille was the best man. By 1928, she was talking of retirement. In all, she made 24 films of which only eight remain in existence in their complete form. Her filmography begins in 1919 and ends in 1933. After leaving filmdom, she and her husband had a career in real estate and she pursued the sport of golf. The Chicago Tribue (1993) entitled Banky’s obituary “Silent Film Star Makes Dramatic Exit”. It is interesting to note that the article appeared nearly two years after her death. It seems that the press and Hollywood watchers never noticed her death. Apparently she lay sick in bed for the last ten years of her life, at home, and later in a nursing facility, without any visitors. The author of the article asserts “She died the nightmare death of every elderly person, alone, her life unremembered, her passing unlamented”. Banky was upset and angry about being abandoned, that she instructed her attorney to inform no one, including the newspapers, upon her passing. The attorney followed her instructions but when the press eventually learned of her death, the lawyer stated to reporters that Banky had no visitors because none of her friends or family still survived. She left a $600,000 trust fund to her sister’s two children in Hungary. After a difficult search the attorney found the two nieces in rural Hungary “living in peasant squalor”. The women had never met their Aunt and the last letter exchanged with Banky had been thirty years earlier. Banky’s lawyer had his hands full because a German heir hunting company had found them first and got them to sign over twenty percent of their inheritance for a finding-fee. At the time of the articles publication, the lawyer planned to pay off the company with a smaller fee and set up distant banking for the nieces who lived in an area that had no banks. Although after her death, the lawyer turned out to be a committed and wonderful friend to Vilma Banky and her family. This vintage postcard was produced by the Iris Verlag company. Iris Verlag was the most important Austrian publisher of film star postcards. It operated from Vienna during the 1920’s and 1930’s. The postcard is part of a series (no.695/3). The photographer of this portrait of Banky is Halasz of Budapest. The postcard was made for Fanamet-film which was a Austrian film distribution company.

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