Posts in Category: Broadcast History

Remembering Pat Summerall…May 10, 1930 – April 16, 2013

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Remembering Pat Summerall…May 10, 1930 – April 16, 2013


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Caught With Your Pants Down? How’s this for a gag?

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Caught With Your Pants Down?

How’s this for a gag? The cast and crew at NBC’s Brooklyn Studios laugh along with Mitch Miller at ‘undress rehearsal’.


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‘Rocky And Bullwinkle’…The Surprising Backstory!

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‘Rocky And Bullwinkle’…The Surprising Backstory!

Production began in February 1958 with the hiring of voice actors June Foray, Paul Frees, Bill Scott, and William Conrad. Ward hired most of the rest of the production staff, including writers and designers, BUT…no animators were hired!?! Why? Because Ward was able to convince some friends at Dancer, Fitzgerald, & Sample (an advertising agency that had General Mills as a client) to buy an animation studio in Mexico called Gamma Productions, originally known as Val-Mar Animation.

This outsourcing of the animation for the series was considered financially attractive by primary sponsor General Mills, but caused numerous problems. In a 1982 interview by animation historian Jim Korkis, Bill Scott described some of the problems that arose during production of the series: “We found out very quickly that we could not depend on Mexican studios to produce anything of quality. They were turning out the work very quickly and there were all kinds of mistakes and flaws and boo-boos. They would never check with us on details…mustaches popped on and off Boris, Bullwinkle’s antlers would change, colors would change and costumes would disappear. By the time we finally saw it, it was on the air.”

General Mills had signed a deal to sponsor the cartoon, under the condition that the show be run in a late-afternoon time slot, where it could be targeted toward children. The show was broadcast for the first time on November 19, 1959, on the ABC television network under the title Rocky and His Friends twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, following American Bandstand at 5:30 p.m. ET, where it was the highest-rated daytime network program.

The show moved to the NBC network starting September 24, 1961, broadcast in color, and first appeared on Sundays at 7 p.m. ET, just before Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color. Bullwinkle’s ratings suffered as a result of being aired opposite perennial favorite Lassie. A potential move to CBS caused NBC to reschedule the show to late Sunday afternoons (5:30 p.m. ET) and early Saturday afternoons in its final season. NBC canceled the show in the summer of 1964. It was shopped to ABC, but they were not interested. However, reruns of episodes were aired on ABC’s Sunday morning schedule at 11 a.m. ET until 1973, at which time the series went into syndication.

An abbreviated fifteen-minute version of the series ran in syndication in the 1960s under the title The Rocky Show. This version was sometimes shown in conjunction with The King and Odie, a fifteen-minute version of Total Television’s King Leonardo and His Short Subjects. The King and Odie was similar to Rocky and Bullwinkle in that it was sponsored by General Mills and animated by Gamma Productions. NBC later aired Bullwinkle Show reruns at 12:30 p.m. ET Saturday afternoons during the 1981-1982 television season.


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The Voices Of ‘Rocky And Bullwinkle’

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The Voices Of ‘Rocky And Bullwinkle’

Here are June Foray and Bill Scott and at the end, William Conrad. I’ll let June and Bill tell you who’s voices they did! Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnA_Vk_RPP8

From “Two on the Town,” here is a great story on Rocky and Bullwinkle….with June Forway and the late Bill Ward! Taped in 1982.
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The ‘Dance’

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The ‘Dance’

In the days before video tape, wireless mics and zoom lenses, camera rehearsals for live shows at the network level were a combination of art and technology. Each scene had to be blocked and practiced to get the shots, but not get the boom mic, other cameras or the wrong backdrops. Hitting the marks for the crew and equipment was as important as the actors hitting their marks! All that becomes very apparent as you look at this photo from Playhouse 90 from Television City in 1954. SNL is the only place still left that embodies the craft of live television as it was done by the pros before them.


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Last Of The Monochrome Cameras: The RCA TK60

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Last Of The Monochrome Cameras: The RCA TK60

The great TK60 actually began as the TK12 and was introduced at the 1960 NAB. the TK12 was RCA’s first new camera design in 8 years and had what would become the “RCA New Look”, blue color for all their TV equipment. Electronically it used the new 4.5″ IO tube. It was restyled at the 1961 NAB with a tally light on top, updated again in 1963 to become the TK60 which had the additional exhaust fan and ‘chimney’ on top just behind the tally.


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TURN IT UP! It’s MAKE MY DAY MUSIC!

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TURN IT UP! It’s MAKE MY DAY MUSIC!

Having spent most of my life either playing drums or playing music on the radio, I’ve been tempted many times to add some great songs occasionally, so HERE WE GO!

Here’s ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’, ‘Barbra Ann’ and ‘Fun Fun Fun’ from Brian Wilson, Elton John, Billy Joel, Paul Simon, Carly Simon, Heart, David Crosby, Jimmy Webb and more LIVE! ENJOY!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjOYWiN8s2s

The sounds of the Beach Boys joyously rock Radio City Music Hall in 2001 when musical giants salute one of the great talents of Rock n’ Roll. Elton John join…
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The Masters Tournament: TV Coverage History 1956 Till Today

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The Masters Tournament: TV Coverage History 1956 Till Today

First, if you are working at the Masters, please send us photos and tell us how many cameras are being used this year. At the link below, you’ll find some very interesting history and little known facts about how the broadcasts are done from Augusta. Enjoy!

http://classicsportsmedia.blogspot.com/2013/04/history-of-masters-golf-tournament-on.html


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Remember ABC’s White Cameras?

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Remember ABC’s White Cameras?

ABC veteran cameraman Don ‘Peaches’ Langford is pictured here on one of his first assignments in the mid 60s. He’s shooting the top of a ski run from about a mile away, and notice the lens. It’s not a Zoomar…it’s a telescope lens with no zoom and the focus was done manually. The camera is an RCA TK10.


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‘I Love Lucy’: Did You Know This?

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‘I Love Lucy’: Did You Know This?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrvHYUXo–o

The opening familiar to most viewers, featuring the credits superimposed over a “heart on satin” image, was created specifically for the 1959–67 CBS daytime network rebroadcasts, and subsequent syndication. As originally broadcast from 1951 – 1957, the episodes opened with animated matchstick figures of Arnaz and Ball (click on the link above to see it) with a reference to whoever the particular episode’s sponsor was. These sequences were created by the animation team of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who declined screen credit because they were technically under exclusive contract to MGM at the time.


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‘Bonanza’: A Funny Story From The Set…

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‘Bonanza’: A Funny Story From The Set…

During the filming of one episode, Lorne Greene was required to jump off a small ledge into a lake five feet below. Michael Landon later recalled that when Greene did the stunt, he jumped into the water feet first and went completely under, but his hair piece came off and floated on the surface of the lake. Landon and the rest of the crew watched to see what would happen. After a short while, Greene’s hand shot up out of the water, grabbed the hairpiece, and pulled it down. Greene emerged from the lake, wearing his hairpiece slightly askew. He walked nonchalantly past the snickering crew, and went into his trailer without saying a word.


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“The Monkeys” Screen Tests

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The Monkeys! Did You Know This?

The Beatles movie ‘Hard Day’s Night’ was the catalyst that brought the idea for this show to life. They already had the idea for the show and originally thought about using ‘The Lovin Spoonful’ band to play the lead rolls, but they signed a record deal before the show could sign them. Davy Jones had played the roll of the artful dodger in ‘Oliver’ on Broadway and was someone the producers wanted, but they needed 3 more band members, so they ran this add in September of 1965…

“Madness!! Auditions. Folk & Roll Musicians-Singers for acting roles in new TV series. Running Parts for 4 insane boys, age 17-21. Want spirited Ben Frank’s types. Have courage to work. Must come down for interview.”

437 applied and below are the screen tests of the final eight contenders…all four monkeys and four more finalists. Note, there is no audio on the very first short clip. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63nhSFFFfJ4

Rare black and white footage of Mike Nesmith, Micky Dolenz, Peter Tork, and Davy Jones auditioning for the 60s hit NBC television program The Monkees.
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Classic: ‘I Love Lucy’

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Classic: ‘I Love Lucy’

Shooting on the living room set, we have Houston Fearless Panoram dollies on the left and right and a McAllister crab dolly in the middle. Notice the bank of floodlights on the front of each dolly. Looks like this was the day they handed out new crew jackets.


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What Do ‘Jaws’ & ‘20,000 Leagues’ Have In Common?

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What Do ‘Jaws’ & ‘20,000 Leagues’ Have In Common?

Before I tell you, I thought you would be interested in knowing this interesting bit of history. When it came time for “Bruce” the shark to be built for ‘Jaws’, unbelievably, the Universal prop department told Steven Spielberg that they were too busy on other films and that he would have to build it himself. After the initial shock and panic wore off, the film’s special effects people remembered that Mr. Bob Mattey had just retired from Disney. Having built the giant squid from ‘20,000 Leagues Under The Sea’ in 1954, Mattey was the perfect choice and Spielberg was able to coax him out of retirement long enough to build the sharks for ‘Jaws’.


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FASCINATING! The Making Of Jurassic Park…

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FASCINATING! The Making Of Jurassic Park…Must See!

The bottom link is to the must see 40 minute documentary of how ALL the movie was done, with miniatures, CGI (which was brand new), and FULL SIZE models with Spielberg and all the artists, but…to give you a quick look at the amazing quality of movement on the full size T Rex, I’ve included a look at him in rehearsal at the top link. The documentary is narrated by James Earl Jones, so you know it’s GOOD! Take your time and enjoy this!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B4J9TBlFxAg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxiKz8BJICU

SUBSCRIBE to SWSCA on YouTube: http://bit.ly/Zp70T4 “Jurassic Park” Full-Size Animatronic T-Rex Rehearsal Learn how we do it: https://www.stanwinstonschool.c…
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WRGB: Historic In Many Ways

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WRGB: Historic In Many Ways

Before the history, take a look at these GE Iconoscope cameras. As this was a GE owned property, these could actually be some of the first GE Iconoscopes they made. Over the years, GE tested a lot of equipment here.

WRGB claims to be the world’s first television station. It traces its roots to an experimental station founded on January 13, 1928 from the General Electric facility under the call letters W2XB. In 1939, it began sharing programs with W2XBS (forerunner of WNBC-TV) in New York City, becoming NBC’s first television affiliate. That relationship would last for 42 years.

In 1941, the station moved into a state-of-the-art studio on Washington Avenue in Schenectady. It was the first building in the nation specifically designed for television. On February 26, 1942, W2XAF received a commercial license as WRGB, the fourth in the nation and only the second one outside of New York City. By then, it was operating on the VHF band with modern 525-line resolution and FM sound on Channel 4.


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Color Comes To Atlanta…1965

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Color Comes To Atlanta…1965

This is five of the six Norelco PC60s that arrived at WAGA (then CBS) in late 1966 which replaced their Marconi Mark IVs. WSB (then NBC) was first with local color in 65 and had the RCA TK42s, but by 69, they too went to the Norelcos. Before color, WSB had TK60s. WXIA (then WAII and ABC) bought TK42s in 66 replacing their RCA TK11s. When I was in college at The University Of Georgia, we used the TK60s and TK42s WSB had donated in 1970.


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TV Lens Week…Post 5: Digi Super 100 Auto Focus

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TV Lens Week…Post 5: Digi Super 100 Auto Focus

Gordon Tubbs explains how auto focus works and ‘the permissible circle of confusion’ optical theory, which is quite fascinating. Enjoy!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JelbzQpKr4E

Canon’s Broadcast and Communications Division premiers their new HD field lens with Auto focus the DIGISUPER 100 HDTV at NAB 2008 Las Vegas.
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This TK41 Is A Killer! And, An MGM Prop

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This TK41 Is A Killer!

About 10 days ago, I posted a TK41 from MGM’s prop department asking you if it was “Live Or Memorex”. Thanks to our friend Mike Clark, we can see that camera in action shooting more than just pictures! For an episode of ‘The Girl From U.N.C.L.E,’ guest star Peggy Lee plays a villain who has a TK41 modified into a machine gun (turret?) to be used against U.N.C.L.E. agents April Dancer and Mark Slate.


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View Master: From Manufacturing To Make Believe

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View Master: From Manufacturing To Make Believe

If you had a View Master, you want so see this! From our friend Mike Clark, this half hour tour is an amazing demonstration of a live broadcast from the late 50’s. This kinescope of a tour of the Viewmaster facility in Portland, Oregon shows us how the whole process worked and around 18 minutes in, goes into their photo studios where all the animated features came from. Fascinating!

http://vimeo.com/20696900Here is a rare 16MM kinescope of an episode of “Success Story” an early 1950’s live television program in which the show tours and shows the operations of companies…
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TV Lens Week…Post 4: SD and HD Lens Comparison

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TV Lens Week…Post 4: SD and HD Lens Comparison

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MrC9Hgzdhw

Larry Thorpe of Canon discusses putting standard definition lenses on high definition cameras. http://www.hdcameraguide.com
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First Meeting: Our Gang and Little Rascals Casts…1936

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First Meeting: Our Gang and Little Rascals Casts…1936

Next week, I will be posting a 10 part special on the ‘Our Gang’ and ‘Little Rascals’, but to get you in the mood, here is a two minute clip of the meeting of the 1921 and 1936 casts of the show. Enjoy!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f1aHri6Vtr0

Little Rascals Our Gang
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Double Header: 40 Inch Lens and The Edison Effect

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Double Header: 40 Inch Lens and The Edison Effect

Last week this photo was posted by Pierre Seguin and comes from a 1947 edition of Popular Mechanics. It shows a 1945 RCA Orthicon camera with a 40 inch lens, described as the longest ever used at the time. It also mentions that television works only with the help of the Edison Effect…a discovery by Edison that led to the invention of the vacuum tube by James Fleming.

The “Edison effect” was the name given to a phenomenon that Edison observed in 1875 and refined later, in 1883, while he was trying to improve his new incandescent lamp. The effect was that, in a vacuum, electrons flow from a heated element — like an incandescent lamp filament — to a cooler metal plate. Edison saw no special value in the effect, but he patented it anyway. Edison patented everything in sight. Today we call the effect by the more descriptive term, “thermionic emission.”

Now the Edison effect has an interesting feature. The electrons can flow only one way — from the hot element to the cool plate, but never the other way — just like the water flow through a check valve. Today we call devices that let electricity flow only one way, diodes.

In 1904, the Edison effect was finally put to use, but not in a light bulb. Radio was in its infancy, and the British physicist John Fleming was working for the British “Wireless Telegraphy” Company. He faced the problem of converting a weak alternating current into a direct current that could actuate a meter or a telephone receiver. Fortunately, Fleming had previously consulted for the Edison & Swan Electric Light Company of London. The connection suddenly clicked in his mind, and he later wrote,

“To my delight I … found that we had, in this peculiar kind of electric lamp, a solution!” Fleming realized that an Edison-effect lamp would convert alternating current to a direct current because it let the electricity flow only one way. Fleming, in other words, invented the first vacuum tube. Of course, most vacuum tubes have been replaced with solid-state transistors today; but they haven’t vanished entirely. They still survive, in modified forms, in things like television picture tubes and X-ray sources.


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TV Lens Week…Post 4: Modulated Transfer Function…

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TV Lens Week…Post 4: Modulated Transfer Function…MTF

Canon’s Larry Thorpe explains MTF and why it is important.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R73lgtHEIr0

Larry Thorpe of Canon discusses MTF. http://www.hdcameraguide.com
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In Honor Of Baseball’s Opening Day! The classic, “Who’s On First” routine

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In Honor Of Baseball’s Opening Day!

The classic, “Who’s On First” routine from Abbot & Costello.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=airT-m9LcoY

a funny monolog between Abbot And costello abou abbots baseball team.
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3D Rigs…A Relic Already?

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3D Rigs…A Relic Already? PLEASE HELP US FILL IN THE BLANKS!

I got an email from our friend Chuck Pharis last night that said all the 3D trucks at ESPN are gone now. It seems that an engineer in India has come up with a box that converts any HD signal into 3D! I hope this is not an April Fool’s joke on me, but, if anyone heard about this, please let us know by adding a comment below. Thanks!


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TV Lens Week…Post 3: Studio Box Lens vs ENG/EFP Lens

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TV Lens Week…Post 3: Studio Box Lens vs ENG/EFP Lens

Canon’s Larry Thorpe explains the differences and who better? Before joining Canon, Larry was an engineer who built cameras at the BBC, then RCA where he worked on the TK42 and 44 and later went to Sony to help in the development of their studio cameras, starting with the BVP 360.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BUmmWXL1xM

Larry Thorpe of Canon discusses the differences between studio “box” lenses and portable lenses in this informative series. http://www.hdcameraguide.com
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“Bruce”, The Mechanical Shark in ‘Jaws’

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“Bruce”, The Mechanical Shark in ‘Jaws’

During pre-production, director Steven Spielberg, accompanied by friends Martin Scorsese, George Lucas and John Milius, visited the effects shop where “Bruce” the shark was being constructed. Lucas stuck his head in the shark’s mouth to see how it worked and, as a joke, Milius and Spielberg sneaked to the controls and made the jaw clamp shut on Lucas’ head. Unfortunately, and rather prophetically, considering the later technical difficulties the production would suffer, the shark malfunctioned, and Lucas got stuck in the mouth of the shark. When Spielberg and Milius were finally able to free him, the three men ran out of the workshop, afraid they’d done major damage to the creature.

The mechanical shark spent most of the movie broken-down, and was unavailable for certain shots. This led Steven Spielberg to use the camera as the “shark”, and film from the shark’s point of view. Many think this added to the “chilling/haunting” quality in the final release saying that it would have made it too “cheesy” had they shown the shark as much as originally planned.


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TV Lens Week…Post 2: The Pickle Barrel Lens

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TV Lens Week…Post 2: The Pickle Barrel Lens

In the photo below, you see a sports event from the late 1940s or early ’50s being covered by a couple of RCA TK30s with zoom lenses. The long lens is a 27 element Zoomar Field Lens. The other camera is equipped with periscope type reflector lens, possibly from Rank, Taylor, Hobson. Due to it’s shape and size, it was commonly referred to as ‘the pickle barrel’ lens.


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TV Lens Week…Post 1: The Amazingly High Cost Of Lenses!

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TV Lens Week…Post 1: The Amazingly High Cost Of Lenses!

At the link under this text, you’ll see the retail price for Canon’s Digi Super lenses from B&H in New York. Prices range from a low of about $75,000 to over $153,000 for Canon’s top of the line HD box lenses. I’m pretty sure the lenses are available from Canon at a lower price, but as you know, most manufacturers don’t post their prices lists. The zoom and focus demands on page 2 are around $3,800 each! More to come!

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Ntt=canon+digi+super&N=0&InitialSearch=yes&sts=ma&Top+Nav-Search


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