Falcon Crest (TV Series 1981–1990) Poster


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Oscar winner Jane Wyman ruled the court!
Reginald D. Garrard22 July 2006
Wyman, The former wife 39th President Ronald Reagan triumphantly returned to television in the nighttime soap opera "Falcon Crest". For most of the show's nine-year run, no one could best Jane Wyman's "Angela Channing," the writers providing her with the best lines, the best wardrobe, and, in most episodes, the final scene. It wasn't until the show's last season that poor health prevented her from appearing in no more than the first and last installments.

However, she was surrounded by a cast of superb performers. Though Robert Foxworth received second billing, it was evident that other characters were more popular. Susan Sullivan, already a favorite from the daily soap "Another World," gained a wider audience as Chase's wife Maggie, following his dream to achieve success as a wine maker. William R. Moses and, initially, Jamie Rose were their children, brought into a community to which they were ill-suited. Lorenzo Lamas and Ana Alicia as Angela's grandson and granddaughter-in-law provided enough tension, in and out of the bedroom, to supply several soap operas. Margaret Ladd as "looney" daughter "Emma" was a treat to watch each week, as was Abby Dalton as her manipulative sister and the mother to Lamas's character. Chao Li Chi played the chauffeur and confidant to Mrs. Channing.

Possibly the most popular characterization was David Selby as "Richard Channing," Angela's chief nemesis that would later be revealed as her son. Their ongoing battles were priceless.

Other cast members came and went, a veritable "who's who" of "Old Hollywood". Lana Turner, Mel Ferrer, Cesar Romero, Eve Arden, Celeste Holm, Kim Novak, and Rod Taylor were just some of the famous that entered the gates of Falcon Crest.

There were some major casting "snafus," from rock star and Prince-protégé Appolonia, playing to type as a character sporting her same name, to Gregory Harrison as a rival for Richard Channing's empire. Both seemed ill-at-ease with their roles.

Though the show drifted into absurdity in season four with a "Raiders-of-the-Lost-Ark-like" search for a treasure buried beneath the estate/vineyard (complete with the film's star Paul Freeman as the sinister leader behind the search), it still maintained its cutthroat machinations for most of its run.

Another plus were the thrilling season-ending cliffhangers. "Dallas" may have started them all, but "Falcon Crest" had the best.

The show never had the ratings success of "Dallas" or "Dynasty" but it was still an enjoyable way to spend an hour on a Friday night.
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A solid, classic soap opera
jojofla5 January 2001
Set in the fictional Tuscany Valley of California, Falcon Crest focused on a large family of wealthy vinyardists, who were either bickering with each other, plotting against each other, and occasionally swapping mates. Legendary film star Jane Wyman played the ambitious matriarch Angela Channing, constantly at loggerheads with her nephew Chase Gioberti (Robert Foxworth), an airline pilot (and ex-Vietnam vet) who returned to Falcon Crest to claim his inheritance following his father's mysterious death. Others in the FC's large cast included Chase's long-suffering wife Maggie (Susan Sullivan), their children Cole (Billy Moses) and Vickie (Jamie Rose, Dana Sparks); Angela's children Emma (Margaret Ladd) and Julia (Abby Dalton), Abby's irresponsible son Lance (Lorenzo Lamas), who married the conniving Melissa (Ana-Alicia), when she was pregnant with Cole's child. A solid soap during its first season, FC got a major boast with the arrival of nefarious Richard Channing (David Selby), who turned out to be related to the Giobertis and would stop at nothing to get his share of Falcon Crest. The first 5-6 seasons of Falcon Crest remain among the best television has ever offered, with terrific acting, strong storylines, suspenseful and unforgettable cliffhangers, and a wonderfully dry wit. Currently, SoapNet runs episodes 3 times daily, Mon-Fri; try to see it if you can, Falcon Crest is an absolute must.
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The Dynasty of Wine Country!
Syl2 November 2006
I loved this drama. I thought this was better than Dynasty. I loved Jane Wyman playing the role of matriarch. The casting was first rate and the writing was stellar if not better than Dynasty and Dallas combined. The cast included Kim Novak, Ana Alicia, Lana Turner, Lorenzo Lamas, and so many others not to mention who graced this show at some point. The show always carried itself more like a drama than a soap opera. I always felt that Falcon Crest was treated unfairly in favor of the more outrageous Dynasty or Dallas. There were no cat fights or explicit or outrageous behavior. They always appeared with class, style, dignity, and grace. That is why I think it was superior to it's other shows. Falcon Crest came on and stayed with us for nine years. We're waiting for DVD.
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smoothoperator_20053 April 2003
I love this show and this is a lot coming from a 16 year old. The show is deliciously humorous and dramatic at the same time. The show is headed by Jane Wyman as the conniving and manipulative Angela Channing. I feel as though this is one of the best shows of the 80s along with Dallas, Dynasty, and Knots Landing. The show also had other great actors and characters such as Robert Foxworth as Chase, Susan Sullivan as Maggie, David Selby as Richard, Lorenzo Lamas as Lance, Ana Alicia as Melissa, and Cesar Romero as Peter. The number of guest stars was amazing. The wardrobe was fabulous. This show was a perfect example of prime time soaps in the 80s.

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A classic nighttime soap
gleeps7 August 1999
I got hooked on this show after the first few years had passed. These nighttime soap operas were known for their season-ending cliffhangers and this one was no exception. The best seasons of the series were 1986-1989, when they experimented with a faster-paced style of storytelling that was quite smart and exciting. This had by far the best sense of humor of all the soaps and featured excellent acting from Jane Wyman, Ana-Alicia, David Selby and Susan Sullivan (now on "Dharma and Greg") Interesting note: during many of its later years, this show's music was composed by Mark Snow, who went on to do the famous "X-Files" theme and score. I wish they still showed reruns of this show somewhere!
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Night-time Soap or Family Drama? A Triumph in Either Case
Jason Daniel Baker11 March 2012
Initially dismissed as "Dallas with grapes" Falcon Crest was created by Earl Hamner Jr. who also created such TV series as The Waltons and Apple's Way. His more wholesome take on a night-time soap was similar to that which you might think - one that romanticizes family values (While providing an examination of complicated family interpersonal relations) and work ethic. The Northern Italian roots of his maternal grandfather was an influence upon his crafting of the backstory of Falcon Crest.

But the main inspiration for Falcon Crest was Hamner's own experience owning an unsuccessful vineyard in the Napa Valley in California in the 1970s, an unprofitable investment which nevertheless inspired him via his experiences. His own time as a struggling writer is doubtless an inspiration for Maggie Gioberti - hapless freelancer.

Beginning as a more family friendly night-time soap airing right after Dallas on CBS Angela Channing was set to be portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck reflecting her matriarchal role on The Big Valley TV series in the 1960s. Barbara Stanwyck passed on the role which was then taken on by Jane Wyman.

The original unaired pilot for the series starred Clu Gulager as Chase and Samantha Eggar as Maggie. The roles were recast and Robert Foxworth who had been approached with playing the role of J.R. on Dallas was brought in to play Chase, a very different character on what would be a different kind of prime time serial.

The series inevitably declined in its later years long after it had said what it had to say. Hastening the decline was the departure of series stars and recycling of plot-lines.
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A Classic Eighties Soap......Aged to Perfection
dogtag324 November 2002
Falcon Crest was such a great show! It stood apart from serious-Dallas and campy-Dynasty and rivoted viewers for 9 seasons. Headed by Jane Wyman, the cast and crew rose to the challenge of taking their place beside the classic dramas of Dallas, Dynasty and Knots Landing. With gorgeous on location photography and crisp screenplays....the show was able to capture its own following. Currently airing on SoapNet, this vintage drama has finally been uncorked!
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ejdawg767 December 2002
I love this show, i started watching it last year on soapnet and i absolutley love it, i taped every episode and i still watch it everyday. Angela, Richard and Chase when in scenes together have great chemistry. The cast is incredible, Abby Dalton as the psycho daughter of Angela and Margaret Ladd as her looney but very intelligent other daughter Emma are brilliant in their roles. Also stars Susan Sullivan, Ana Alicia, Laura Johnson. I can go on and on, i wish i watched this when i was younger but i was 3 when it started. I highly recommend watching this show.
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Solid,classic soap opera from the 80's
raysond9 January 2003
Who could have thought that Earl Hamner,the creator of The Waltons would follow in the footsteps of series creators Lee Rich and Aaron Spelling? Well,Lee Rich was the brains behind "Dallas" and "Knots Landing",while Aaron Spelling was at the helm behind "Dynasty","Hotel",and "The Colbys", Hamner was the creator behind "Falcon Crest" one of the solid classic soap operas that ever came to prime-time. While it rivoted viewers from 9 seasons on CBS-TV,it was one of the top ten shows of the 80's and early 90's. This show was totally different and it didn't take it stories too seriously since it was set in the Tuscany Valley of California which consisted of wealthly vinyardists who would bickered at each other,and plot and scheme their way to the top of the empire. Leading by some heavy hitters including legendary actress Jane Wyman,Susan Sullivan,Robert Foxworth and Lorenzo Lamas and not to mention special appearances by Ursula Andress and actor Eddie Albert,this show was to make the expected the unexpected and so forth. Great series! Catch it on SoapNet!
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What's the 3rd Best?
Jay-1882 June 1999
Throughout the 80's, I pretty much grew up on the 2 best family-drama-soap shows off all time (on my list). The "Dynasty Clan" & "Dallas". Whether a Sunday afternoon "pull-hair" fight between Alexis & Crystal or a Tuesday night shooting in J.R.'s office, these shows were/are my favorite. You come to ask yourself though, who comes in 3rd place? In my mind, its the one and only "Falcon Crest" . A high-quality drama about two families & their daily intrigues & plots. Well I simply enjoy that to the max. The Bad one "Angela" against the good one "Maggie". If you have never seen any of those episodes, and i doubt you have not, there is the media library in NYC which has all episodes of all TV shows ever made. Archived. Give it a try if you visit the city.
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Another way to say DALLAS
k_dizzle_scarface_nizzle17 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
FALCON CREST, like DALLAS and DYNASTY, was a popular prime-time soap with attitude. Premiering in 1981, the show follows the conflict between the Channing and Gioberti families over the Falcon Crest vineyard located in the Napa Valley region of San Francisco. Angela Channing (Jane Wyman) ruled Falcon Crest with an iron fist. Her nephew Chase Gioberti (Robert Foxworth) demanded a bigger piece of the profits for Falcon Crest wine that his father Jason, Angela's brother, left him. This set the stage for 9 years of fiery battles and even hotter sexcapades. Characters included Lance Cumson (Lorenzo Lamas), Angela's playboy grandson, his one-time scheming wife Melissa Agretti (Ana Alicia), Cole Gioberti (William R. Moses), Chase's son who fathered Melissa's baby, Richard Channing (David Selby), Angela's co-arch-enemy who was later revealed to be the son she thought dead 45 years earlier, and of course, Chase's beloved wife Maggie (Susan Sullivan), who would marry Richard and become Angela's daughter-in-law when Chase drowned trying to save a life. I stopped watching after Maggie was killed off. I think a lot of people did for they really loved her and rooted for her.
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HeartMonger31 July 2003
Warning: Spoilers
Here's a nighttime soap with an attitude. I remember the tagline " One good stab in the back deserves another" while promoting this wicked fun soap opera about a lady who starts up her own winery in italy! Colorful characters are many, and dull moments are few. My personal favorite character was the gorgeous Ana Alicia as Melissa Agretti. The first seven seasons were a blast. But when Season 8 took off, Ana Alicia was killed off, and that awful Kristin Alfonso was put on to replace her. Ugh! But none the less, the series kept up for two more seasons, and it ended with-in my opinion- the best series ending horangue that was ever written. The acting was very campy and hard to watch alot of the time, but the script was so good and the good actors did their best to cover it up. Alas, it worked! When one gets a chance to view ANY episode of this glitzzy soap, they must watch and laugh!
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One of my guilty pleasures from the 80s
calvinnme20 June 2015
I don't know if Jane Wyman was chosen to play the lead of hard-as-nails Angela Channing because she was then newly-elected President Reagan's first wife or not. The rumor back then was that the producers wanted her in the role as a kind of side-swipe at Reagan, whose right-wing politics they detested. Then came the rumors that first lady Nancy Reagan wouldn't let the president watch the show because Jane Wyman was in it. Back when we all had a common culture at the dawn of cable, this was all really very amusing. However, regardless of why and how she got the part, Jane Wyman owned that role and made it something special. Starting out playing the lead at age 64, she didn't miss a step until the last season or so, when bad health finally got the best of her.

The setting is the fictitious Tuscany Valley of California and its lush vineyards. Chase Gioberti, played by Robert Foxworth, was Angela's nephew who was always going round and round with her. This was the principle conflict - Chase's principled stand versus Angela's dog-eat-dog approach to all problems. This first season has a kind of Romeo and Juliet theme to it as Chase's son and wealthy heiress Melissa Agretti fall in love and Melissa finds out she is pregnant. Fate being what it is on soap operas, Melissa ends up in an arranged marriage to Angela's lazy grandson-heir, Lance, with everyone outside the principle trio - Melissa, Angela, and Lance - believing Lance to be the father. Angela arranged this marriage to give her eventual ownership of the Agretti vineyards. This show was one of the popular night-time soap operas of the 80's along with Dallas, Dynasty, and Knot's Landing. Most of the characters weren't as rich as in Dallas - after all, we're talking grapes here not gasoline - but the stories didn't have the goofiness that Dynasty always had and Dallas eventually descended into.

Highly recommended for people who remember the old nighttime soap operas and loved them like I did, and also for people who like soap operas in general.
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Life is a Cabernet, old chum...
mark.waltz1 April 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Both "Dallas" and "Dynasty" focused on wealthy Texans and Colorodians who ran oil companies, and with "Falcon Crest", the wine that the Ewings and Carringtons were drinking was being created through just as much mayhem and backstabbing that those two families were dealing with. J.R. and Alexis were joined in ruthlessness by an aging matriarch, played by Oscar Winning Jane Wyman, running her vineyards with an iron fist just as ex-husband Ronald Reagan's second wife Nancy was running the White House. For nearly a decade, nighttime serials were among the most popular forms of entertainment, even though by the end of the Reagan "me" era, they were quickly petering out.

The story focused on Wyman's Angela Channing, a powerful matriarch who attempted to keep nephew Chase (Robert Foxworth) from getting his hands on his share of Falcon Crest, left to him by his recently deceased father. She was in cahoots with her sexy grandson Lance Cumson (Lorenzo Lamas) who became instant rivals with his cousin Cole (William R. Moses). Angela's two troubled daughters Julia (Abby Dalton) and Emma (Margaret Ladd) rounded out her immediate family with Chase's beautiful wife Maggie (Susan Sullivan) and their daughter Vicky (Jamie Ross) rounding out the other half of the family. Later on, Chase's half brother Richard (David Selby) was introduced as another troublemaker along with Melissa Agretti (the campy Ana Alicia), the vixen daughter of a rival vineyard owner murdered in the second season by none other than his own lover and Melissa's mother-in-law, the seemingly sweet Julia.

Beautifully filmed on a country home that made South Fork look like something in the suburbs, "Falcon Crest" was also showy in the fact that it featured many well known veteran actors in guest roles or for one or two season stints that gave the show a ton of publicity. Lana Turner created a sensation as Chase's mother with her revitalized glamorous look, while later on Kim Novak got to shine in a one-season recurring role as a mystery woman posing as the stepdaughter of one of Angela's many husbands (Cesar Romero). Such well known veteran players brought on for guest stints included Anne Jeffreys, Sarah Douglas, Cliff Robertson, Gina Lollobrigida, Celeste Holm, Eddie Albert, Robert Stack, Eve Arden and Leslie Caron. Because it followed "Dallas" on the nighttime schedule on Friday nights, it was a ratings winner for years, even though it didn't receive the same amount of publicity as "Dallas" and the ABC rival soap "Dynasty". The only real remembered publicity is the accusation of several guest stars that Wyman had their parts cut short out of jealousy, but regular cast members have stated that Wyman didn't have the last word, although she perhaps did influence the exit of Lana Turner at the end of the second season. Whoever decided to make Turner's Jacqueline Gioberti a Nazi conspirator has not been revealed.

"Falcon Crest" worked better when it focused on the family but such stories as those involving Nazi's and saboteurs took it into an almost "chapter play" serial type show. At times, the guest star parade seemed gimmicky and desperate, but that gave the show a camp following which it held for almost the entire 1980's. Wyman's absence through most of the final season seemed to be a metaphor for the show's death, but for at least the first five seasons, there was much to recommend and many incredible performances.
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A Great Place To Live
CopperTopX413 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Beings that Im from the Napa Valley I followed this series from beginning to end. I loved it. I have made many trips up to the filming site and have toured the Estate on a number of occasions. It was a great place to take visiting friends and relatives. My favorite episodes were at the beginning years of the show when Abby Daulton was still in the show. But, they were all good. Angelia Channing was the female version of J.R. Ewing. The intro was always a thrill for me to see, the black Mercedes drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and into the Napa Valley down highway 29 being able to see all the familiar sites as I knew growing up there. A great show and a great way to introduce people tho the world of wine making.
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Jane Wyman, Cesar Romero and Kim Novak in "Aftershocks"
whpratt11 September 2003
Falcon Crest was a great TV series with great stars as:-Jane Wyman(Angela Gioberti Channing) former wife of Ronald Regan, and co-stars and former actor, Cesar Romero,"Flesh & Bulletts",'87, Robert Foxworth,"Six Feet Under" '01, Lorenzo Lamas,"Rapid Exchange,'03 All these stars appeared in a Season Premiere called "Aftershocks"'86 which had great drama involving Father Bob's church during an earthquake also a killer who stalks a newcomer Kim Novak (Kit Marlowe) "Picnic"'52 who wears a brunette wig and is always pulling out her gun in self-defense. Kim appeared in the series during 1986-87. It would be great to see these re-runs and enjoy all these great actors and their talents. In time we may see "Falcon Crest" return to the TV screens!
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What's the 3rd best 80's series?
Jay-18825 May 1999
I am surprised, that this is the first comment ever made on this highly quality-regarded 80's series. I grew up pretty much on Dallas & Dynasty Clan, & without a doubt those are the 2 best TV dramas on my list. The question remains though: Who comes up 3rd? For me without a doubt, it's Falcon Crest. The all-time family affair with all the dirt, intrigues, plays & surprises. I love Falcon Crest. Unfortunately, here in NY you can not find any re-runs on any cable channels. I hope one of them will pick it up soon. If you haven't seen any of them yet, try to visit the TV & Movie library in NYC. They have every episode archived.
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Ah, the wonderful 80s!
AttyTude020 October 2017
I know, I know. These days the 80s are reviled by lefties as the 'decade of greed,' and other self-righteous, 'sour grapes' nonsense. Let those people wallow in their bitterness. I was young in the 80s and I had a ball.

Because of that, I love to watch the 80s soap operas: Dynasty, Falcon Crest, The Colbys, etc. Dallas I was never fond of because JR was just too revolting, even for a soap opera villain, and Sue Ellen was such a neurotic loser and a pain in the nether region.

Yes, the 80s soaps were this, this and the other. But what fun! And how refreshing to see good-looking people, slim, fit, well- dressed and made-up. I am fairly sick to death of fat, ugly, people who look like the spent the night in the hamper. And don't give me the "real life" spiel. After a day of dealing with the 'realities' of life I want escapism. I want glamour, luxury, beauty. Life's grievances are so much more bearable in luxurious surroundings.

I'm into Dynasty now (thank you, Amazon!). Next will be Falcon Crest.

Forget the bitter, gloomy negativity of these days, folks. Put the Do Not Disturb sign up, kick off your shoes, pour yourself a glass of wine, and come to the cabaret of 80s soaps!
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Dynasty in the vineyard, a kind of sour drop
Falcon Crest would be one of the most heartless soapies I've ever seen, but that's what gave it's individuality and a certain coolness. I watched quite a bit of it when it first aired, then lost interest, but then watched it again, some. There were a mixture of really good people and some who really bad, with underlying and hurtful intentions, if insinuated through some playful dialogue. And if you were a fan of it, you'd know exactly who I'm talking about. We had gorgeous woman, some of em, real bitches, and new discovery Lorenzo Lamas, who basically went on to make Body Rock, then plummeted into doing real B action movies, where if you saw him act in Falcon Crest, you wouldn't of thought this is what he'd end up doing. I mentioned the movie, Viper to a guy, and he said he wouldn't watch it. Why? Cause he thought Lorenzo Lamas, was a s..t actor. I agree to a point. There are worse actors out there. I think his best acting was in The Bold And The Beautiful, but in this show he was fun to watch. But on the whole, Falcon Crest didn't grab me. The characters were too underwritten, especially the good ones. But I think that was the whole problem with the show. I mean, the setting of story, a vineyard, for Christ's sake. Lamas, Ann Alicia, were Jane Wyman were really the only people who grabbed my interest, but with the exclusion of the latter, the other two were the ones who gave it a spark, that this show so desperately needed.
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The first three seasons were great -- and then they fired the producer
PrometheusTree6418 March 2017
Executive producers Michael Filerman and creator Earl Hamner made the wise decision to make Robert McCullough the supervising producer and de facto show-runner by the end of the first season, and the result was three years of FALCON CREST which were near-brilliant -- a gently Gothic, slightly tongue-in-cheek entry in the DALLAS/DYNASTY era wealth-based nighttime soap genre which became so huge during the early-1980s.

Unfortunately, studio politics at Lorimar Productions resulted in a lunch-drinking executive demanding that McCullough be fired, even though the series was at its ratings peak, and FALCON CREST was never, ever the same again. Ever.

Once McCullough was gone, the show managed to maintain some momentum for a few months through most of its fourth season, but a CBS executive then demanded that the "offensive" nazi treasure plot line be dropped immediately, just ten episodes before the end of the season -- despite the fact that it was the year's main storyline. As a result, the remainder of the fourth seasons sees a bunch of side plots cobbled together and shoe-horned in just so they can finish off the year. But to me, the inertia of the program had been destroyed once and for all (even though its cushy post-DALLAS time slot kept it alive for several more years).

Season 5 was drab and cluttered. Season 6 seemed like it might be a renaissance for the show, but it turned too much towards excessive shlock by the end of that year and then Season 7 just became frenetically silly. The decision to turn the production design light and airy and '80s pastel, combined with Lorimar's new cheapy post-production process making the show look as if it had been shot on video, didn't help much either. A big ratings drop during Season 7 saw CBS demanding the show be fixed, but once they tried to get serious again for Season 8, they no longer seemed to know how to do it. And by Season 9, it just seemed like a different series entirely and ratings continued to spiral into the cellar.

Why do swollen executives think a show can make itself as long as you have a key star and a recognizable brand name title? Because it can't.

Shame, because the first three season, maybe even 3 1/2 seasons, were fabulous.
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