A View From the Bridge at a Theatre In London with a famous guest

Marilyn Monroe in England  for the filming of The Prince and The Showgirl 1956 is seen here at the Comedy Theatre in London and is waiting to see a performance of  a View From The Bridge – a play written by her husband Arthur Miller.

Marilyn at the Theatre in London 1956

I am sure she enjoyed it. Arthur Miller is seated on the Left of the picture

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Hells Island 1955

This is a film I do not know at all but came across this poster for it today. Hells Island 2     It is filmed in VistaVision – and stars John Payne and Mary Murphy. Mary Murphy and John Payne having fun on the set of Hells Island Above: John Payne and Mary Murphy having fun on the set of Hells Island 1955. I didn’t know anything about Mary Murphy but looking her up it seems that she was in quite a lot of films but none of them well remembered but she was a very attractive actress so would certainly have caught the Directors and Producers Eyes at the time I would think. She was briefly married in 1956 to Dale Robertson – in fact she was married to him from June 1956 to September 1956 – so even by Hollywood standards this was brief.  However they remained friends – they had met when they both appeared in the film Sitting Bull in 1954

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Angels One Five 1952 again with more filming shots

Much of the filming for Angels One Five was done at Kenley in Kent. This even involved converting one smallish building on the Airfield into a makeshift film studio.

Below:  Jack Hawkins acting out a scene in the film – I love the caption too.

Filming at Kenley 1951

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 Above – An Ultra Modern Kitchen Trailer owned by Len Camplin is on site to look after the Actors and Film Staff and along with his catering  crew they are able to ensure everyone has food and drink in those long filming hours – done o0ver the summer of 1951

John Gregson and Colleagues 1951 filming Angels One Five

Above:  John Gregson is carried shoulder high by his colleagues

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Above: Humphrey Lestocq in a scene .

and Below: John Barry, Humphrey Lestocq, John Gregson and Douglas Hurn

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The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

I just love this publicity shot from the 1960 film The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Huckleberry Finn It also starred former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Archie Moore – in his first real film role although he went on the make a few more including Breakheart Pass with Charles Bronson in 1975.

Archie Moore

 

Above – An unusual picture. It shows Archie Moore being visited on the set of this film by Former Heavyweight Boxing Champion Ingmar Johanneson towards the end of 1959 and here they are lifting co-star Eddie Hodges off the ground. Charming picture.

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The Snorkel 1958

Just purchased and watched The Snorkel – actually bought  it with Spanish sub titles – but it was an English version. Very good too with Peter Van Eyck as the sinister murderer and Mandy Miller as his stepdaughter who suspects he has murdered her Mother who he had married and before that her Father a few years before.

Also in the cast was Betta St.John playing Candy’s governess – More about her in a later post.

Quite an ingenious plot

The Snorkel (1958)

On holiday from a British boarding school, Candy Brown (Mandy Miller) visits her mother and stepfather at their villa in a Italian coastal town. To her shock, Candy learns that her mother has committed suicide by sealing herself in a room and turning on the gas. Candy immediately suspects foul play, but the police inspector insists that’s impossible: the servants found Candy’s mother in a locked room completely sealed from the inside. The young woman remains unconvinced. She believes the murderer is her stepfather Paul (Peter Van Eyck). As a girl, Candy claimed that she saw Paul drown her father. No one believed Candy then and no one believes her now, not even her companion, Jean (Betta St. John). It appears that Paul has a perfect alibi. And besides, as the inspector pointed out, how could murder be committed inside a locked room?

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 Mandy Miller was very believable as Candy. Peter van Eyck was sometimes downright creepy.

 

The Snorkel may not be the best movie produced by Hammer Films, but it’s a good film

 

 

 

 

The film had its premier aboard the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth, during a crossing of the Atlantic in May 1958

The Snorkel (1958)
Paul Decker murders his wife in her Italian villa by drugging her milk and asphyxiating her by gas. He cleverly locks the bedroom from the inside and hides inside a trapdoor in the floor until after the body is discovered by servants. He uses a scuba snorkel connected to tubes on the outside to breathe during the ordeal. Decker’s stepdaughter Candy suspects him immediately, especially since no suicide note was found. She also is convinced that he murdered her father years before, but her accusations fall on deaf ears. The ruthless Decker even poisons the family spaniel when the pet takes too great an interest in the mask and realizes he will ultimately have to get rid of Candy too.

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 William Franklyn pictured above also featured in the film. He had a long career in both films and television where he was a familiar face – one thing he is remembered for is the Schweppes advertisements which he was in for a long time.

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There is a very exciting swimming sequence in the film – which looked like ending in disaster for Candy but for the intervention of Betta St John who swims out to the two of them and effectively saves Mandy Miller.

I has read that Peter Van Eyck commented after the film was done that the Producers when casting his role had not asked him if he could swim. Luckily he could because, as he said, there was quite a bit to do in this sequence – mind you they could have used a double I reckon. Mandy Miller also swam just as much as he did – maybe more – as in this shot below :

The Snorkel 1958

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is

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Angels One Five 1952

This film I remember was shown in the local village hall where I live sometime in the mid fifties. We had at that time a full film programme every Tuesday evening and we loved it – and the films we saw there as youngsters were memorable to say the least. This was one of those – a film about the Battle of Britain with terrific sequences filmed at Kenley Airfield in Kent – over which the famous battle was fought. One scene from the film – which was on BBC TV in England today Saturday 7 th. January 2017 – showed the RAF fighters scrambled and then we saw maybe seven Spitfires / Hurricanes taxiing out to the runway – a scene that could not be done today – and then even better, as Dulcie Gray  walked beside the airfield the fighters took off two at a time in a spectacular sequence that would be more impressive today than when the film was released I reckon because people would still remember it well from only 7 or 8 years earlier and also they would not be looking at it with the same nostalgic eyes that we would today.

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Above: Spitfires and Hurricanes  over Kent.

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There was a cast of stalwart British Actors taking part – many of them would have served in the forces only a few years earlier so knew exactly what it was all about.

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Filmed mainly at RAF Kenley and at the real operations block at RAF Uxbridge.

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Above: A German Fighter is shot down over Kent.

Based around events at a RAF fighter station in the summer of 1940,  T.B. ‘Septic’ Baird (John Gregson) arrives in a heap by landing his Hurricane on its nose in a garden at the end on the runway.  Captain ‘Tiger’ Small is played by  Jack Hawkins.

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Cast

Jack Hawkins: Group Captain \’Tiger\’ Small
Michael Denison: Squadron Leader Peter Moon
Dulcie Gray: Nadine Clinton
John Gregson: Pilot Officer \’Septic\’ Baird
Cyril Raymond: Squadron Leader Barry Clinton
Veronica Hurst: Betty Carfax
Harold Goodwin: AC 2 Wailes
Norman Pierce: \’Bonzo\’
Geoffrey Keen: Company Sergeant Major

Production Team

George More O\’Ferrall: Director
Frederick Pusey: Art Direction
Christopher Challis: Cinematography
Daniel Birt: Film Editing
Polly Young: Makeup Department
Kenneth Mackay: Makeup Department
Derek N Twist: Producer
John W Gossage: Producer
Derek N Twist: Script
HL Bird: Sound Department
Harold V King: Sound Department
Alfred Wilson: Sound Department

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Going Fishing – with Jack Hawkins

This picture was in a Film Book of  1957

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Jack Hawkins with his wife and son Nicholas. They have another son Andrew and a daughter.

They live close to the Thames so maybe this is where they are in this shot. Lovely picture though.

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Mandy Miller

She will be remembered for the film Mandy from 1952 in which she starred as the deaf girl – her parents being played by Jack Hawkins and Phyllis Calvert.  I remember in the early days of Television this film was reviewed and discussed a lot on its release – and the focus was on the acting on the very young Mandy Miller.

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and a few years later she is famous for  her song Nellie The Elephant.nellie-the-elephant

 

And below in The Snorkel – a film I have just purchased – is Mandy in a grown up role in this Hammer Film

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Paul Decker murders his wife in her Italian villa by drugging her milk and asphyxiating her by gas. He cleverly locks the bedroom from the inside and hides inside a trapdoor in the floor until after the body is discovered by servants. He uses a scuba snorkel connected to tubes on the outside to breathe during the ordeal. Decker’s stepdaughter Candy suspects him immediately, especially since no suicide note was found. She also is convinced that he murdered her father years before, but her accusations fall on deaf ears. The ruthless Decker even poisons the family spaniel when the pet takes too great an interest in the mask and realises he will ultimately have to get rid of Candy too.

mandy-miller

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White Christmas 1954 in VistaVision

Filmed in VistaVision and Technicolor this is lovely to watch at Christmas.

The music of Irving Berlin is at the centre of this pleasant holiday film, and is a perennial favorite of audiences that discover this charming film, or just go back to visit from time to time.

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Directed by Michael Curtiz, a versatile Director who seemed at ease with drama as well as comedy, or musicals. He shows a light touch that helps make this a cherished film for movie fans of all ages.

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The main reason for watching, besides Mr. Berlin’s wonderful tunes, is hearing those standard songs delivered by the likes of Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, who were at the top of their game at this time. They had such wonderful and melodious voices, they enhance the songs they interpret.

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The story is just a pretext to bring together the talented principals plus Danny Kaye, Vera Ellen, Dean Jagger, and the marvellous Mary Wickes, in a film that will delight anyone, anytime, but especially at Christmas.

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Its a Wonderful Life – Just Love this Film

In 2006, the American Film institute voted It’s A Wonderful Life the most inspirational film ever – despite its sometimes-dark subject matter. This Christmas marks 70 years since It’s A Wonderful Life was released, but what are the child stars doing now?

Incredibly, the three actors who played the Bailey children have remained firm friends since the film was released in 1946. Karolyn Grimes, Carol Coombs and Jimmy Hawkins recently reunited for an interview to mark the movie’s milestone. Carol, who played Janie, beamed: “We’ve had a wonderful life – we’re three really good friends. “Young kids who grew up to really admire each other and love each other. It’s true friendship.”Karolyn added: “We’re like brother and sister in many ways.”The actress, who played Zuzu, also revealed that the Christmas classic was never actually meant to be a Christmas film at all.

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The child stars reunited to mark the film’s anniversary

“It was supposed to be released in March 1947,” Karolyn revealed.Jimmy (Tommy) explained to ABC’s Al RokerAs millions of people around the world settle down to watch the heartwarming tale this Christmas, here are seven facts you didn’t know about the film.

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It’s A Wonderful Life turns 70 this Christmas

1. The real Bedford Falls is located in upstate New York.Director Frank Capra is said to have based the town in which the film is set on Seneca Falls in New York’s Finger Lakes.2. Zuzu was actually a gingersnapRemember how George Bailey calls his daughter Zuzu his “little gingersnap”? That’s because there was a cookie called Zu Zu Ginger Snaps that existed up until the early 1980s. 
3. The film began as a Christmas card and almost didn’t get madePhilip Van Doren Stern wrote the story on which the film is based on, The Greatest Gift, in 1939 but could not get it published until 1945 when he printed it as a 21-page Christmas card. A producer saw the card and snapped up the rights for $10,000, but had a string of scriptwriters quit because they found Capra condescending.4. George and Mary owe their romance to The Little Rascal’s AlfalfaGeorge and Mary found love after they started dancing at a school dance, only for the gym floor to open up revealing a swimming pool underneath. Freddie, the prankster who opened the floor, was played by Carl Switzer – who also starred as Alfalfa in The Little Rascals.

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The film was not originally supposed to be release at Christmas

5. Janie was cast because she could play to pianoCarol Coombs apparently won the role of George Bailey’s daughter because she could play Hark! The Herald Angels Sing without making a mistake.6. The film’s darkness stems from the Second World War.Jimmy Stewart and Frank Capra both took time away from Hollywood during the Second World War to fight and make war films respectively.It’s A Wonderful Life was a return to tinseltown for both men, who were both still dealing with the traumas of conflict.7. It’s the most inspiration film of all time 

Facts About ‘It’s a Wonderful Life

Mary Owen wasn’t welcomed into the world until more than a decade after Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life made its premiere in 1946, 70 years ago this month. But she grew up cherishing the film and getting the inside scoop on its making from its star, Donna Reed—who just so happens to be her mom. Though Reed passed away in 1986, Owen has stood as one of the film’s most dedicated historians, regularly introducing screenings of the ultimate holiday classic, including during its annual run at New York City’s IFC Center. She shared some of her mom’s memories with us to help reveal 25 things you might not have known about It’s a Wonderful Life for the 70th anniversary of its premiere.

1. IT ALL BEGAN WITH A CHRISTMAS CARD.

After years of unsuccessfully trying to shop his short story, The Greatest Gift, to publishers, Philip Van Doren Stern decided to give the gift of words to his closest friends for the holidays when he printed up 200 copies of the story and sent them out as a 21-page Christmas card. David Hempstead, a producer at RKO Pictures, ended up getting a hold of it, and purchased the movie rights for $10,000.

2. CARY GRANT WAS SET TO STAR IN THE ADAPTATION.

When RKO purchased the rights, they did so with the plan of having Cary Grant in the lead. But, as happens so often in Hollywood, the project went through some ups and downs in the development process. In 1945, after a number of rewrites, RKO sold the movie rights to Frank Capra, who quickly recruited Jimmy Stewart to play George Bailey.

3. DOROTHY PARKER WORKED ON THE SCRIPT.

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By the time It’s a Wonderful Life made it into theaters, the story was much different from Stern’s original tale. That’s because more than a half-dozen people contributed to the screenplay, including some of the most acclaimed writers of the time—Dorothy Parker, Dalton Trumbo, Marc Connelly, and Clifford Odets among them.

4. SCREENWRITERS FRANCES GOODRICH AND ALBERT HACKETT WALKED OUT.

Though they’re credited as the film’s screenwriters with Capra, the husband and wife writing duo were not pleased with the treatment they received from Capra. “Frank Capra could be condescending,” Hackett said in an interview, “and you just didn’t address Frances as ‘my dear woman.’ When we were pretty far along in the script but not done, our agent called and said, ‘Capra wants to know how soon you’ll be finished.’ Frances said, ‘We’re finished right now.’ We put our pens down and never went back to it.”

5. CAPRA DIDN’T DO THE BEST JOB OF SELLING THE FILM TO STEWART.

After laying out the plot line of the film for Stewart in a meeting, Capra realized that, “This really doesn’t sound so good, does it?” Stewart recalled in an interview. Stewart’s reply? “Frank: If you want me to be in a picture about a guy that wants to kill himself and an angel comes down named Clarence who can’t swim and I save him, when do we start?”

6. IT WAS DONNA REED’S FIRST STARRING ROLE.

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Though Donna Reed was hardly a newcomer when It’s a Wonderful Life rolled around, having appeared in nearly 20 projects previously, the film did mark her first starring role. It’s difficult to imagine anyone else in the role today, but Reed had some serious competition from Jean Arthur. “[Frank Capra] had seen mom in They Were Expendable and liked her,” Mary Owen says. “When Capra met my mother at MGM, he knew she’d be just right for Mary Bailey.”

7. BEULAH BONDI WAS A PRO AT PLAYING STEWART’S MOM.

Beulah Bondi, who plays Mrs. Bailey, didn’t need a lot of rehearsal to play Jimmy Stewart’s mom. She had done it three times previously—in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Of Human Hearts, and Vivacious Lady—and once later on The Jimmy Stewart Show: The Identity Crisis.

8. CAPRA, REED, AND STEWART HAVE ALL CALLED IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE THEIR FAVORITE MOVIE.

Though it has become a quintessential American classic, It’s a Wonderful Life was not an immediate hit with audiences. In fact, it put Capra $525,000 in the hole, which left him scrambling to finance his production company’s next picture, State of the Union.

9. A COPYRIGHT LAPSE AIDED THE FILM’S POPULARITY.

Though it didn’t make much of a dent at the box office, It’s a Wonderful Life found a whole new life on television—particularly when its copyright lapsed in 1974, making it available royalty-free to anyone who wanted to show it for the next 20 years. (Which would explain why it was on television all the time during the holiday season.) The free-for-all ended in 1994.

10. THE ROCK THAT BROKE THE WINDOW OF THE GRANVILLE HOUSE WAS ALL REAL.

Though Capra had a stuntman at the ready in order to shoot out the window of the Granville House in a scene that required Donna Reed to throw a rock through it, it was all a waste of money. “Mom threw the rock herself that broke the window in the Granville House,” Owen says. “On the first try.”

11. IT TOOK TWO MONTHS TO BUILD BEDFORD FALLS.

Shot on a budget of $3.7 million (which was a lot by mid-1940s standards), Bedford Falls—which covered a full four acres of RKO’s Encino Ranch—was one of the most elaborate movie sets ever built up to that time, with 75 stores and buildings, 20 fully-grown oak trees, factories, residential areas, and a 300-yard-long Main Street.

12. SENECA FALLS, NEW YORK IS “THE REAL BEDFORD FALLS.”

Though Bedford Falls is a fictitious place, the town of Seneca Falls, New York swears that it’s the real-life inspiration for George Bailey’s charming hometown. And each year they program a full lineup of holiday-themed events to put locals (and yuletide visitors) into the holiday spirit.

13. THE GYM FLOOR-TURNED-SWIMMING POOL WAS REAL.

Though the bulk of the film was filmed on pre-built sets, the dance at the gym was filmed on location at Beverly Hills High School. And the retractable floor was no set piece. Better known as the Swim Gym, the school is currently in the process of restoring the landmark filming location.

14.  THE TEENAGER BEHIND THAT SWIMMING POOL PRANK.

Though he’s uncredited in the part, if Freddie Othello—the little prankster who pushes the button that opens the pool that swallows George and Mary up—looks familiar, that’s because he is played by Carl Switzer.

15. DONNA REED WON $50 FROM LIONEL BARRYMORE … FOR MILKING A COW.

Though she was a Hollywood icon, Donna Reed—born Donnabelle Mullenger—was a farm girl at heart who came to Los Angeles by way of Denison, Iowa. Lionel Barrymore (a.k.a. Mr. Potter) didn’t believe it. “So he bet $50 that she couldn’t milk a cow,” recalls Owen. “She said it was the easiest $50 she ever made.”

16. THE FILM WAS SHOT DURING A HEAT WAVE.

It may be an iconic Christmas movie, but It’s a Wonderful Life was actually shot in the summer of 1946—in the midst of a heat wave, no less. At one point, Capra had to shut filming down for a day because of the sky-high temperatures—which also explains why Stewart is clearly sweating in key moments of the film.

17. CAPRA ENGINEERED A NEW KIND OF MOVIE SNOW.

Capra—who trained as an engineer—and special effects supervisor Russell Shearman engineered a new type of artificial snow for the film. At the time, painted cornflakes were the most common form of fake snow, but they posed a bit of an audio problem for Capra. So he and Shearman opted to mix foamite (the stuff you find in fire extinguishers) with sugar and water to create a less noisy option.

18. THE MOVIE WASN’T REQUIRED VIEWING IN REED’S HOUSEHOLD.

Though It’s a Wonderful Life is a staple of many family holiday movie marathons, that wasn’t the case in Reed’s home. In fact, Owen herself didn’t see the film until three decades after its release. “I saw it in the late 1970s at the Nuart Theatre in L.A. and loved it,” she says.

19. ZUZU DIDN’T SEE THE FILM UNTIL 1980.

Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu in the film, didn’t see the film until 1980. “I never took the time to see the movie,” she told Detroit’s WWJ in 2013. “I never just sat down and watched the film.”

20. THE FBI SAW THE FILM. THEY DIDN’T LIKE IT.

In 1947, the FBI issued a memo noting the film as a potential “Communist infiltration of the motion picture industry,” citing its “rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a ‘Scrooge-type’ so that he would be the most hated man in the picture. This, according to these sources, is a common trick used by Communists.”

21. THE MOVIE’S BERT AND ERNIE HAVE NO RELATION TO SESAME STREET.

 

Yes, the cop and cab driver in It’s a Wonderful Life are named Bert and Ernie, respectively. But Jim Henson’s longtime writing partner, Jerry Juhl, insists that it’s by coincidence only that they share their names with Sesame Street’s stripe-shirted buds. “I was the head writer for the Muppets for 36 years and one of the original writers on Sesame Street,” Juhl told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000. “The rumor about It’s a Wonderful Life has persisted over the years. I was not present at the naming, but I was always positive [the rumor] was incorrect. Despite his many talents, Jim had no memory for details like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not have remembered the cop and the cab driver. I was not able to confirm this with Jim before he died, but shortly thereafter I spoke to Jon Stone, Sesame Street‘s first producer and head writer and a man largely responsible for the show’s format … He assured me that Ernie and Bert were named one day when he and Jim were studying the prototype puppets. They decided that one of them looked like an Ernie, and the other one looked like a Bert. The movie character names are purely coincidental.”

22. SOME PEOPLE ARE ANXIOUS FOR A SEQUEL.

Well, two people: Producers Allen J. Schwalb and Bob Farnsworth, who announced in 2013 that they would be continuing the story with a sequel, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story, which they planned for a 2015 release. It didn’t take long for Paramount, which owns the copyright, to step in and assure furious fans of the original film that “No project relating to It’s a Wonderful Life can proceed without a license from Paramount. To date, these individuals have not obtained any of the necessary rights, and we would take all appropriate steps to protect those rights.”

23. THE FILM’S ENDURING LEGACY WAS SURPRISING TO CAPRA.

“It’s the damnedest thing I’ve ever seen,” Capra said of the film’s classic status. “The film has a life of its own now and I can look at it like I had nothing to do with it. I’m like a parent whose kid grows up to be president. I’m proud… but it’s the kid who did the work. I didn’t even think of it as a Christmas story when I first ran across it. I just liked the idea.”

 

 

 

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