The Temptations (TV Series 1998– ) Poster

(1998– )

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Genius is in this film
murf35319 December 2004
Watching this film on network TV had me mesmerized in the 90's. A few months ago when we finally got a DVD player, well, we had to have films to watch. I only bought one that day. The Temptations. The film made me research the group and photos of them, but I expected to see the actors faces instead of the real faces of the Temps. All of the people who worked on this film did a masterful job in bringing to the world a story of some young men that filled the world with music and joy. The story of how they did this was never known, but now that the film is available, everybody and anybody who loves music must see this film. Overlooked is was, but brilliant it will always be. Whether you liked the group or not, whether you liked their music or not, you should take 3 hours of your life and watch how the passion for excellence permeated the souls of a group brilliant musicians. The film is enthralling, the acting superb, and the story is as beautiful as it is tragic. I wish I had known them, but except for Otis, they are lost to the ages. The Temptations is a film for all young people to see if they want to pursue a career as a musician. It is one of the most magnificent stories of music and life and dreams that has ever, or will ever be made. We are so fortunate the Temptations gave us their soul and love and life. They are almost all gone, but the joy and music they gave us will outlive us all. Buy it, rent it, or borrow it, but watch this film. There is genius in this film.
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"Wonderfully acted depiction of the greatest soul group in history.
MovieMarauder29 June 2001
I was delighted by this movie. Not only is it largely educational and offers very introspective looks into the lives of all members of the group, but the acting is fantastic. The film truly captures the soul music scene of early 1960's Detroit, and further on as the Temptations rise to fame, and fall to ruin. It offers breathtaking and somewhat disturbing scenes which make the film seem almost too real. The soundtrack is amazing, and you will truly sympathize with this group of real-life legends who sang their hearts out in Motown's heyday.
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One of the best music biopics ever made
Monika-516 June 2000
Warning: Spoilers
The Temptations movie has something so many other music group films lack - HEART. All the performances are so inspiring, and so heartbreaking. The downward spirals of Paul Williams and David Ruffin, as portrayed in the movie, have you crying right along with them. The scenes where David Ruffin is voted out of the group, and the scene where Paul Williams kills himself to the backdrop of "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" and the scene where Smokey Robinson sings at Melvin Franklin's funeral will break your heart.

But the film's not just dramatic and heartbreaking. The lively dance and singing scenes will have you smiling, tapping your feet and singing along, no doubt. Especially when their video of "My Girl" plays, and the screen fades slowly from black and white into color.

One of the best TV movies ever, as well as a great peek at one of the greatest singing groups in music history.
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this is an excellent instant classic.
marz196630 August 1999
I have not been so emotionally involved in a television film in a long time,but along comes this charming,insightful,and wonderful film. The cast does a superb job. I never knew much about the temps, one of the greatest groups of all time, had so much strife and personal pain.This movie is an instant classic. I have a much better appreciation for their impact on rock and roll history after seeing this movie.
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Fantastic doesn't even begin to describe this movie!!!
jamie-3079 May 2005
"The Temptations" mini-series was an excellent film!! Terron Brooks(Eddie Kendricks), DB Woodside(Melvin Franklin), Charles Malik Whitfield(Otis Williams), Christian Payton(Paul Williams), and Leon(David Ruffin) do a fantastic job of portraying the fabulous five! This movie is based on Otis Williams' book and the storyline is incredible. Once I saw it for the first time, I was definitely hooked on it. Now I watch it at least once a week. I can't get the songs out of my head, and I am now an even bigger fan of The Temptations. The cool thing about it is that Brooks, Payton, and Woodside are actually singing the parts! I would recommend this movie to any music lover!!
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ALRITE4EVER26 December 2002
This movie was great.I love entertainment history,and this was full of history,and the music was fantastic.My Girl,Ain't Too Proud To Beg,Cloud 9,Just My Imagination,Pshyadelic Shack,Can't Get Next To You!!!And "THE VOICES"-David Ruffin,Eddie Kendricks,& Dennis Edwards were amazing.David Ruffin did a lot to dispell the notion that you can't wear glasses and be hip & cool-because he was as hip & as cool they came.I loved the reunion tour scenes when David,Eddie,& Dennis shared the stage-the harmony was great.
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fantastic representation of the history of the temptations
drewk2113 January 2007
This movie was great. It told th story of the temptations in a very realistic and comprehensive way. The lives of one of the original Motown legend was wonderfully depicted in this movie. The five members (Paul Williams, Otis Williams , Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin, and bassist Melvin Blue Franklin lived remarkable lives. Fighting through the segregated southern stats and minimal opportunities, they fought to achieve greatness. In addition to the fantastic acting in this film, viewers can also appreciate th wonderful music made by the temptations, Smokie Robinson, and Barry Gordy. This movie will give you a memorable experience and will leave you wanting more.
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The way music movies should be
DunnDeeDaGreat15 June 2002
The Temptations is clearly one of the finest music miniseries ever made.The casting is great all of the men(some of whom were unknowns) are great in the film, but the scene stealers is Leon as the group's lead singer David Ruffin. The songs and script are very good and the film is very heartbreaking in some moments. But all in all a great music movie.
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pretty good
winner554 November 2008
The camera work has the usual claustrophobic box look of most television films. The editing is incredibly choppy, and the continuity is really awful sometimes. There are also clichés in abundance - David Ruffin getting tossed out of a car is pure detective-show melodrama, but doesn't really resolve the whole Ruffin problem in the film. And there's plenty of lag-time, especially in the second half.

All that said, the story is surprisingly very strong, the characters fascinating, the performances energetic, and the music is very well presented. The sense of the historical change of context surrounding the characters is also accurate and convincing, although played quietly (actually works better that way).

The first half especially is a treat. A strong effort to do the group, its music, and its history justice.
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janebse21 July 2002
Unforgettable music, music that fits any time period. A dramatic plot that keeps moving. And the actors are fantastic. They fit their roles so well I could not believe they were acting. It didn't hurt that each actor resembled his real-life counterpart. It was terrific in every sense.
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Long live the Temptations
DarthBill1 September 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Colorful looking TV miniseries about the life and times of the Motown super group known as the Temptations, arguably the greatest group to have come out of the Motown era, specifically focusing on the "Classic 5" line up: Otis Williams, Melvin Franklin, David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams (no relation to Otis) who, at the peak of their popularity, could win over any audience. But fame & fortune came at a price, as each of these five young men would learn the hard way. And when push came to shove, when the pressure of living in the spotlight got to be too much, tempers flared, egos clashed, giving rise to rivalries that threatened to destroy the group. Throughout it all, from tragedy to triumph - and there was plenty of both - these gifted singers still forged one of the greatest musical legacies the world has ever known.

Adapted from the autobiography by Otis Williams, the group's De facto leader and the only surviving founding member, the film comes from his perspective and focuses a great deal on him and his best friend, the group's bass singer Melvin Franklin. So naturally, we are probably meant to sympathize with him most and Melvin (let's face, nobody sees themselves as a bad person and even when admitting their faults, they'll only make themselves out to be so bad). The once lovably laid back and very funny David Ruffin is predictably portrayed in an unflattering light once his ego inflates to paramount proportions after fame goes to his head, which understandably upsets his family and relatives to the point that they sued Otis Williams and the film's production company, because lets face it, no one likes to see their son/brother/father/grandfather/uncle portrayed in such a way, regardless of what his personal habits may have been. Hell, David Ruffin is more or less the poster child for how fame/success can ruin a man, and his own life became so wrought with problems (ranging from ego management to the painful cocaine addiction that eventually destroyed him) that you could probably make an entire film focused solely on him. It really is a shame that the real Ruffin wasted what little time he was going to have with his ego and personal problems getting in the way of his career, because he was a great singer and a great showman. Also sad to see is the tragic fate that befell Paul Williams, who's alcoholism (brought on in part by sickle cell anemia, which the film fails to mention) also got in the way of both his career and his life, which came to an end at 34 (Eddie Kendricks, David Ruffin and Melvin Franklin all made to at least 50).

The film does not really give much focus to Dennis Edwards, the large, powerfully built Contours singer who replaced David Ruffin as the group's lead singer in the late 1960s, leading them through the psychedelic, funk and disco periods, and little is said of the problems that later arose between him and Otis Williams, though they do give screen time to his anger over being asked to sing the first verse of "Papa Was A Rolling Stone", since his own father died really died on the 3rd of September.

Naturally, there are liberties taken to fit the running time. Perhaps the most offensive liberty taking concerns the death of Melvin Franklin - in the film Melvin is shown dying while visiting his mother with Otis, when in reality Melvin died in a hospital after slipping into a coma. This was reportedly done because the miniseries was put together not long after Melvin had died and it was just too personal for them to really face. Another inaccuracy is that Dennis Edwards is shown touring with Eddie Kendricks and David Ruffin before the group' reunion tour in the early 1980s, when in reality he didn't start touring with them until after the group was inducted into the rock & roll hall of fame in the late 80s. On top of that, Kendricks and Ruffin didn't start touring together until after the reunion tour. How many other liberties are taken is anyone's guess, though the film remains entertaining and still gives an overall general overview of the group's history while also serving to showcase the group's music to a new generation.
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An illuminating drama about the reigning kings of 1960's R&B
teejay-417 December 1998
Based on Otis Williams' book, this movie had all of the elements of young guys making it into music stardom -- youthful exuberance, success and excess, and the inevitable decline. Charles Malik Whitfield, DB Woodside, Terron Brooks, and Leon all gave strong performances as the Tempting Temptations. Christian Payton gave an especially effective performance as the tortured, self-destructive Paul Williams, in spite of the fact that it didn't seem that he had anything to really draw on to fully explain Williams' decline and subsequent suicide (incidentally, neither did Otis Williams in his book). All in all, the cast was wonderful and the true story of The Temptations was a story not to be missed by anyone who ever snapped their fingers in time to a song from this Supergroup!!
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Great biopic
justincward13 November 2008
The TV movie story of the street-doowop to soul-superstar Temptations from 1958 to 1995 when bass singer Melvin Franklyn died. Strict historical accuracy is not what this film is about, but what is accurate is the reconstruction of the act and the music, which is what matters in a movie. The first half is full of vignettes of the (black) music biz in Detroit in the early Motown days, which is genuinely moving in a few places; and although the second half tends towards the schmaltzy, it's good to be reminded of the seminal records that the group continued to put out after David Ruffin parted company, and of the way that members of a group that big have deeper bonds than most people, including their own families. It's told from the viewpoint of Otis Williams, who is the only Temp to survive all incarnations of the group, so he naturally he tends to get an easy ride, but it does acknowledge (in the great end sequence) that the David Ruffin lineup was the best there could be. The scene where he and Eddie Kendricks sing to the punter in the supper club is a killer. Well worth the two-and a half hours running time, which is not something you can say of many TV movies this long. Better IMHO than 'Walk the Line', which was no turkey itself. If you love Motown, don't miss it.
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Ohhhhhhhhhhhh Momma!!!!!!!!!!!!
vaslimjr19808 November 2005
Temptations Forever!!! I watch this movie everyday when I come home from work. I did "Just My Imagination" at karaoke night one night and it was great. If anyone has this movie on VHS, pawn it because its missing some scenes that are in the DVD. (Like Christian a.k.a Paul Williams singing "For Once In My Life" my favorite song that I singed at my wedding.) The chick that played Paul's wife is Diana Ross's real life daughter. Check out the resemblance. Another thing, I heard it was some confusion about the way David Ruffin died. Unlike the movie, I read somewhere that he died of an drug overdose and not beating and thrown from a limo. Other than that, its considered in my book one of the greatest music movies of all time. TEMPTATIONS FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!
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OldeSkool (OldeSkool)11 April 2003
Warning: Spoilers
I didn't watch this movie when it originally aired on TV remembering how laughably bad The Jacksons' biopic was. I finally caught it on VH1 this past holiday season, once more this past Febuary and plan on watching it again when it airs again this coming Sunday. While the movie is told from Otis Williams' perpective it has moments that deals with his struggle to keep the group together, the group's frustation with Motown and producer Norman Whitfield, David Ruffin's inflated ego and cocaine addiction, Paul Williams' frustration, alcoholism and depression over taking a back seat to Ruffin and his eventual suicide, Melvin Franklin's battle with arthritis and Eddie Kendricks' frustation with the direction of the group after Ruffin and Paul Williams' depature. The actors who portrayed the five original members were great especially Leon who looked and sounded like David Ruffin. And they can actual sing too. And although some music performance were lip-synched they more than held their own when they did their own singing. A must-see for any Temptations fan and a great introduction to anyone who is not familar with a group who paved the way for groups that followed like The Dramatic, The Stylistics, Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes, etc. I heard that Motown's next TV movie project will be a boipic on Marvin Gaye. I can hardly wait.
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I loved their rise and hated their fall...(watch before you read!)
Ajs_love4ever2 November 2002
(Read this comment AFTER you have seen the movie!!!) This made-for-TV movie was too short to encompass all of the details that would have supremely showed the world just how special and talented these 5 men were. As told through the eyes of the last surviving original member(Otis Williams), the film most likely portrays all five members as they were. Even though only Melvin Franklin(my personal favorite because of that beautiful bass voice), Eddie Kendricks, Paul Williams, David Ruffin, and Otis Williams truly know what went on behind closed doors, this movie sheds some light on how fame gets the best of people. With not many people knowing that Melvin Franklin and David Ruffin were cousins, you would think that the movie would highlight that aspect in order to add to the information about their connection. However, that sad thing about the movie is that, even though the group was founded by Otis Williams, you begin to see, as the movie progresses, that Williams(Otis) was never the lead. The Temptations was known for being the only group (of that time) to have 5 talented men who could all sing lead if they wanted to, and they all did, with the exception being Otis Williams. Now I am, not saying that he could not sing, because he could, but we never get to see him leading the group as Kendricks, Paul Williams, Ruffin, and even 'Blue' Franklin often did. It seemed as though they each had their own story within the big story. And with the exception of Melvin Franklin, the other deceased members, in a sense, caused their own unfortunate deaths, taking with them a small portion of the music world that would have loved for them to pump out many more hits.
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A well-made movie!
Neraida18 July 2001
This movie was historical fiction, but for a historical fiction movie, it is the best one that exists. I have seen it probably over 100 times and memorize most of the scenes. My favorite scenes are when the Distants met the Primes at St. Stephens, when Eddie and Paul went to meet Melvin and Otis, the David Ruffin apartment scene, and a lot of the singing scenes. Amazing movie!
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The greatest Soul group of the 60s, from their collective highs to their individual tragedies.
NickCage-22 November 1998
An enjoyable TV mini-series, taking the group from their fateful early beginnings to become The Temptations, perhaps the greatest R&B/Soul band of all time, to the slow, one-by-one disintegration of the group due to individual problems with drugs, alcohol and health problems over a course of 30+ years. The Temptations are one of the most beloved yet tragic stories in popular music history. Accounting for 38 Top-40 hits over a span of 3 decades, the excellent original soundtrack belies the widely-held opinion that lead vocalist David Ruffin was one of the greatest soul singers of all-time, studied and emulated by many of the era's most popular vocalists, including Mick Jagger and Rod Stewart. Touching briefly on their later solo careers and delving into their personal & group turmoil; though not nearly as intense and enlightening that a feature film would have been, TV does an insightful job. Marvelous performances by the entire cast and a must-see for R&B/Soul fans and those influenced by their sound.
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I love this Movie!
ripcurlsufr9630 September 2006
I have seen thousands and thousands of movies and own 400 DVD and this is my favorite its the best movie ever.It is simply amazing what these guys went through especially Otis its amazing. Some of the best writing I have seen in a long time and great directing. This movie was so powerful it could make the roughest toughest guy come down in tear such an amazing great movie that deserves 20 Emmy and 50 Oscars this never became to big but I'm trying to get this movie out its so great to come watch this movie and listen to some of the best music ever written the singing is great I don't know if they lip'sync or sung because each one was amazing. I recommend everyone to come and see this movie buy it or rent it.
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Comment on a American success story of one of Motown's Best
raysond10 September 2002
I got the chance to see this TV mini series recently on cable's VH-1,and to me it was a trip back in time! Based on Otis Williams' autobiography of the same title,it shows them from there humble beginnings as up and coming singers during the period of the late 50's to the early 60's to the downfall of there trials and tribulations with tragic results. However,to make one thing perfectly clear that the mighty Temptations were the kings of soul,and they put MOTOWN on the map as well as one of the biggest R&B/Soul groups of all time and for one they were in perfect harmony with every hit they had went straight to #1 on the charts during the years with Motown which some of their earlier hits were written and produced by Smokey Robinson who also had his group The Miracles. 38 of the top 40 hits they had including "My Girl","The Girls Alright With Me","Just My Imagination",and so many more are considered standard classics. As for the performances of the movie,Leon was nominated for an Emmy for his brilliant portrayal of singer David Ruffin(whom some considered Ruffin as the greatest Temptation ever and one of the greatest soul singers ever). This is the second TV-mini series to focus on Motown groups and there stories(the other one was based on The Jacksons three years earlier before this came about and the next one will be on the life of Motown crooner Marvin Gaye)and out of all of them this was is tops. If you get the soundtrack to the original TV mini series,it brings back good ole Motown memories that will be heard of for many moons to come. LONG LIVE THE TEMPTATIONS!!!
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Most enjoyable
ToddTee3 November 1998
If you like the Temptations you have to see this movie. The music is wonderful!!
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Awesome, uplifting singing, and the David Ruffin character is one sexy piece of work!
iviewsnews19 February 2018
Watched this New Years Eve with my husband, this music was "our era" and this movie was just soooooo good. Think I appreciate the Temps more so after watching this move. The actor who plays David Ruffin, was one sexy hoot ! Spellbinding...loved the Eddie Kendricks character/actor too, he was such a cutie ! Best thing for me was the earlier performances...the actor who plays Ruffin can move! Whoa. Great great movie!
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"But I'm a singer now. That's just the way it is." - Otis Williams
classicsoncall21 October 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I got a chance to see the present day Temptations in concert just this past August, and have been on the lookout for a copy of this movie which I've known about for a long time but just never had the chance to see. This past weekend it turned up on the VHS1 cable channel and I had to decide if the two and a half hour run time would be worth sitting through as it was turned into a four hour endurance test with commercial breaks. For the most part, I would say it was time well spent, with great music and an inside look at how the group formed and went through it's history of personnel changes.

I'll have to agree with some of the other posters on this board; since the book by Otis Williams formed the basis for this movie treatment I'm sure much of what appears is preferential to Williams himself. But over all, the picture seems to offer a reasonable treatment of the diverse personalities that formed the original group and later on, some of the replacement members. For me, David Ruffin is the voice of the Temps, but I never realized how his aura of self importance led to an early departure. Throughout the ordeals the group went through with Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks and Paul Williams, I had to admire Otis Williams' philosophy that no one member was bigger than the group.

What was really cool for me was seeing how the early 1960's Motown sound came into being with the backdrop of Hitsville U.S.A. and all those great personalities in proximity with each other, never knowing who would make it and who wouldn't. Martha Reeves working the switchboard, that was a blast! Smokey Robinson coming up with hit after hit and Berry Gordy sizing up the talent. On top of that, you get a sense that the Motown sound helped break down barriers between the races which was a great thing to see.

What I did know at the time but completely forgot about until seeing the film was how for a time there were actually two groups using the name Temptations when Ruffin and Kendricks struck out on their own with new members. The picture doesn't venture into or try to explain any of the legalities involved with copyrights and such, so that would be interesting to research. The other thing, if you were around for the Temptations from the beginning, you'll notice that their big hits weren't presented in chronological order in the film. For example, 'I Wish it Would Rain' was recorded before 'Psychedelic Shack', but the picture used the songs to complement what was going on in the personal lives of the band at times instead of following their release date. That was a small departure from historical accuracy that doesn't take away from one's enjoyment of the picture.

Regardless, if you're a Temptations fan, you really need to see the picture for an inside look at what hopefully is a fairly accurate account of the group. To me, they were the embodiment of the Motown sound and my favorite Motown group, and every time one of their early songs comes on the radio, I just have to join in.
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Youth revisited
dunsuls-122 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Being a white kid from Brooklyn there's no way I can know how accurate this movie is although it's based on a book by a real member of the group and withstood court suits from other family members of the group.Once I heard a quote,"If it ant't that way,it should have been"and so it is with this film.Released in 1998 and running 150 minutes it was first a TV miniseries and now a DVD.Besides the great music of the Temps,the acting is so fine it's divine. Leon IS David Ruffin and Terron Brooks IS Eddie Kendricks .Everyone else is fine as well.The movie starts out at HS in Detroit and ends with a funeral of a member with a cameo of Smokey singing at the burial.In between is the story of 2 groups members forming what became the temps and all the ups and downs that went with it.You listen to the music and stay for the story.The story only touched briefly on the various infidelities of members while focusing more on the group dynamics and lack there of.My favorite scene was the group stopping down south on a bus tour at a segregated HS dance,complete with a rope across the gym to keep whites and blacks separate while both sides enjoyed the music.Sad to think it was once really like that.
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One of the Best TV Movies Ever!!
Jeffrey R. Dzik21 May 2011
The Temptations lives and story as a group had so many ups and downs, joys and tragedies, achievements and disappointments, it made for such a wonderful movie. I have seen it dozens of times, moved to joy, tears and getting up to sing every time. I want to come to the defense of Otis Williams. When one writes a movie, a play or a book, it is written by someone who sees the events as THEY see it. May not always be factual or how the other members or their families saw the events or the feelings they had towards them. Writers and producers will rearrange some events and perhaps toy with the time lines a bit for dramatic purposes. You can't take any biographical movie and be certain all is totally accurate. I don't think, according to various sources I have read, that the movie was that far from the way it happened. You have to make a movie in a reasonable amount of time otherwise it'll run for hours, as long as this one was. The actors were fabulous and they did such a masterful job dubbing and choreographing the music. If indeed, some events were altered a bit, I believe their achievements were well laid out and the tragic demises close as to how it happened. I am a big Motown fan and R & B fan of the mid 60's, 70's and early 80's. I developed a much larger appreciation for the Temptations with this movie and have loaded their Anthology album on my I-Pod. I thank the producers and Otis Willialms for that. The other members no longer with us are sorely missed. I am a huge fan of all who did lead in many of their hits; Eddie, David and Dennis.
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