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What did you watch this week in classic TV on DVD(or Blu)?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Bryan^H, Aug 28, 2015.

  1. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    You're not alone in this, Alan...I find Bea Benaderet kind of cute in Petticoat Junction, too - though Jeannine Riley is my preferred eye candy in that show.
     
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  2. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Episode Commentary
    Father Knows Best
    "Betty's Double" (S6E13)

    This series seemed to always border on heartfelt sincerity without falling completely into maudlin sappiness. One of the rare sitcoms where the kids were not necessarily smarter than their dolt-like parents who dispensed with sage--but not often accepted--advice. The show represented what everyone thought how a 50's family functioned.
    That being said, I'll still make fun of it because--well, that's what I do.

    As with all shows of this era, we see Margaret (Jane Wyatt) cleaning the house wearing a dress, heels and in this case--some kind of housecoat generally found on grocery store clerks. It gives her a bit more gravitas as to worrying about dirt actually getting attached to her.
    The head of the Springfield Women's Club stops by to inform Margaret that daughter Betty has won a celebrity look-alike contest and a trip to ...gasp...Hollywood. Dad Jim (Robert Young) is just livid, claiming there's no skill in winning a contest where all you have to do is look like someone. Of course, no one gives a rat's patootie what he thinks. It's a trip to Hollywood, dammit!
    [​IMG] upload_2019-6-24_9-26-42. upload_2019-6-24_9-28-37.
    Betty getting into the celebrity spirit, dad Jim warning of California morals, Betty and Margaret land in HOLLYWOOD!

    Excited beyond comprehension, Betty and mom fly to Tinsel Town. We've never been clear as to where hometown Springfield is actually located in the country--was it a 50 mile or 1500 mile trip? In any case, they fly aboard an ancient prop DC-7, so both were lucky for a controlled landing. Betty is met by a publicity agent and hordes of photographers and reporters, akin to if Beyonce just appeared wearing nothing but lipstick. Betty finally meets her celebrity doppelganger Donna Stuart (Elinor Donahue in a dual role) on a studio set, where film cameras about the size of beer trucks troll about aimlessly. Lunch with Donna and her handsome co-star Bill has Betty and Margaret completely oblivious to the melon and prune salad sitting in front of them. Bill asks Betty out for a date, which necessitates the purchase of a new dress--she picks one that most moms would consider to be vintage Jezebel couture. Exposed cleavage, fer chrissakes!

    Dancing with Bill has Betty wondering if the man hopefully has a large back seat in his car for later, but the whole date is ruined by constant pestering from drunks, fans and perverts mistaking her for the real thing. Betty becomes disillusioned just as dad Jim had warned. I half expected for her to click her heels and chant "There's no place like home...there's no place like home..." God knows she wanted to be magically transported back instead of boarding that flying death trap DC-7 again.

    Randoms:
    Handsome actor Bill is portrayed by William Joyce, a B-player in Hollywood who's main claim to fame is starring in the skeezily-titled "I Eat Your Skin" (1964).

    The Anderson's exterior house is located on the Columbia Studio Ranch. It also doubled as Major Tony Nelson's house in "I Dream of Jeannie".

    upload_2019-6-24_10-11-29.
     
  3. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I watched Father Knows Best regularly as a kid and loved it until that last 2-3 minute segment where Dad Jim dispensed his fatherly "lecture" on morals to explain what the errant kid that week *should* have done or how they *should* have reacted. It often went from comedy to drama and I did not like that sappy drama stuff. It got to where I'd hear the theme song and get a bit melancholy all due to the last couple of minutes. Because of that I put off purchasing any of the series on DVD, only caving a year or two back by purchasing S1. It's still unopened.
     
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  4. Montytc

    Montytc Stunt Coordinator

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    Father Knows Best is a good show for that era although I have always liked The Donna Reed Show a little better. This sounds like a good episode, but I don't think I own that season. Your random notes are great as always and so is your review.
     
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  5. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    I agree that Father Knows Best is a good show for its era. Very good - even though I'm somewhat on the fence about it personally. I much prefer The Donna Reed Show and always have.
     
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  6. Message #2206 of 2308 Jun 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    Rustifer

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    Both shows were incredibly close in content and style. However, in the Donna Reed Show, every family member was impossibly handsome or beautiful. Either Donna or Shelley Fabares walking into a bar would cause neck damage to every guy in the place swiveling to check out the hot stuff walking through the door. I'm guessing dad/doctor Carl Betz had far more female patients than male, all demanding his close inspection of their...uh...female issues.

    [​IMG] upload_2019-6-24_11-53-34. upload_2019-6-24_11-54-48. upload_2019-6-24_11-55-41.
    Donna, Shelley, Carl, Paul

    Paul Petersen had good hair, which you just gotta have to be a star. Shelley and Paul graduated to minor singing careers with Shelley moving on to film and TV roles. Paul, not so much.
     
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  7. Message #2207 of 2308 Jun 24, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    Great review of what sounds like an interesting episode of Father Knows Best, Russ!

    I haven't seen enough of either show to fully judge, but from what I have seen, I think I also prefer The Donna Reed Show - basically because of Donna Reed herself. What a babe!

    [​IMG]

    And Shelley Fabares ain't too shabby, either.

    I'm planning on picking up a few seasons of each series later this summer.
     
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  8. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    Shelley Fabares just got "hotter" as she got older. The *only* reason I watched Coach was to see her.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Doug Wallen

    Doug Wallen Lead Actor
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    Still more westerns ...

    The High Chapparal - Season 3
    The Legacy (3.11) John Dehner, Pamela Dunlap, Byron Morrow. Blue is picked as the target of a con man and his daughter. The con man changes tactics when Big John brags of his business deal. Blue is unwilling to believe he has been hoodwinked. Great casting of John Dehner as the duplicitous schemer.

    Alliance (3.12) Robert Viharo, X Brands, Donald Buka. The US Army post has hired Johnny Ringo (bounty hunter) to track down and capture a brave wo stole a horse while murdering a soldier. Big John fears a war and Mano tries to help his friend (Johnny saved his life years ago) see the error of his ways. The Indians attack and nearly kill the Chapparal men before some cavalry soldiers appear.

    The Little Thieves (3.13) Heather Menzies, Jo Ann Harris, Alan Vint, William Sylvester. Buck and Mano visit the local watering hole and have their horses stolen by some teen girls. The girls are caught and are brought to the ranch where their history is mostly exposed. Their father is a wanted criminal and finally explains things to his daughter. A more or less "lighter" episode.

    The Long Shadow (3.14) Gregory Sierra, Dan Kemp, Richard Farnsworth, Richard Anders, Paul Sorenson, Dan Scott. Strange things are happening at the ranch; Pedro shot, line shack happenings, Blue targeted, Sam wounded. John sends Victoria away and Buck doesn't like John's orders and tensions continue to mount. A true whodunit that involves past actions (before the series began). Nice change of pace.

    And back to Dodge City with ...

    Gunsmoke - Season 7
    The Gallows (7.22) Jeremy Slate, Robert Stevenson, Joseph Ruskin. An outstanding episode that truly showcases the fact that James Arness has become Matt Dillon. Pruitt Dover does a job for hire, does not receive his pay and threatens death if he is not paid. A fight ensues and when Pruitt awakens, Ax is dead. Pruitt runs away assuming he killed Ax (the viewer is just as in the dark as the murder happens offscreen). Pruitt is caught and Matt goes to bring him back. On the way back the two bond, especially after Pruitt saves Matt with some needed surgery. Matt promises to help Pruitt and be a witness for him. The judge accepts the circumstantial case and sentence Pruitt. On the way to Hayes City, Matt gives Puitt several opportunities to escape. Pruit dutifully keeps his sentence and walks proudly up the gallows. No last minute reprieve, just Matt sorrowfully walking away. Excellent episode, probably the best in my viewing so far.

    Reprisal (7.23) Jason Evers, Dainne Foster, Tom Reese, Grace Lee Whitney. A cheating womanizer is killed in a proper fight by Matt. His wife doesn't accept that and only wants revenge (an eye for an eye). She asks every gunfighter she can reach to kill Matt and they all refuse. She meets a new man in town and begins falling for him, she uses her charm with the hope of getting him to perform her task. Once he knows her desire, he is off to challenge Matt. Cornelia realizes her mistake and attempts to warn Ben, but she is too late. A poetic ending as she was the cause of killing something she was beginning to love.

    Coventry (7.24) Joe Maross, Don Keefer, Paul Birch, Mary Field, John Harmon. Consider if you will Dean Baird (joe Maross) who only thinks of his next pigeon who treats everyone with disdain. he is headed to Dodge and refuses to help a husband and wife whose wagon was spooked by a storm. The wife looses her unborn child. Dean continues to swindle landowners. He returns to Dodge and has to face the man he stranded (Jessie Ott). After a dispute, Jessie is quietly dispatched and Dean believes he has gotten away with it. After every action, Dean was told that he would receive his comeuppance from God. Dean was feeling invincible as he was not convicted for Jessie's death. The town then began giving him the silent/cold-shoulder treatment. No one would accept his drinks or do business with him. He left town and ended up with a broken leg in a storm. He was treated well by men who did not want to be seen just as bad as him. Fate still worked against him and he did receive his retribution. this story would have worked very well as an episode of The Twilight Zone. TZ cues were used throughout the episode.

    The Widow (7.25) Joan Hackett, Alan Reed, J. Edward McKinley. A privileged Army widow makes a trek out west to find the body of her husband reported killed in an Indian attack. After being refused at every turn, she strikes out with a shady character who is only after her money. After being rescued by Matt and the Corporal, she convinces the Indian chief to take her to see her husband's body. She sees that her husband has been accorded the highest of Indian honors (he was buried as an Indian chief). She attempts to remove an item from the body and is not allowed. Seems she is a lady of privilege, but exremely poor. She made her trek in order to retrieve evidence that he was actually dead in order to receive a claim on his wealth. She will receive her verification from Matt and the corporal, but she lost their sympathy.

    3 very good episodes and one standout. This disc is one I will sure revisit.

     
  10. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    I just finished St. Elsewhere. My second viewing of the series, first run NBC Wednesday nights at 10:00 over 30 years ago, and binging on HULU averaging about six episodes a week.

    I really, really love the show, but I'm not doing a third rewatch. Twice in my lifetime is perfect. It is a great series, and still my favorite TV series, ever.
     
  11. Rustifer

    Rustifer Screenwriter
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    Episode Commentary
    The Joey Bishop Show
    "Ellie Goes to Court" (S4E11)*

    There is no other way to describe this series (1961-1964) other than as an anemic rip-off of The Dick Van Dyke Show. Joey plays a NY talk show host and lives in a "typical" Manhattan apartment that appears to be the size of Neiman Marcus. Even in 1961, the rent must have been $84 million a month. His wife, Ellie (Abby Dalton), desperately tries to channel Mary Tyler Moore in looks and acting. Also hanging around is Larry (Corbett Monica) as Joey's head writer; Hilda (Mary Treen) their maid; and Joe Besser as the building super.

    The series' concept employs the trite premise that 'celebrity' Joey is the singularly straight, sane person surrounded by zany crazies and numbskulls. Funny, he is not.
    This episode's premise has Ellie receiving a traffic ticket for an illegal left turn. The fine is $10. She decides instead to fight it in court and implores Joey and Larry to hear out her case, which they do with tiresome interest. Both are more concerned that dinner is going to be late--which in the early '60's is considered to be the complete province and responsibility of the wife and maid. No chance of Joey heading to the kitchen to whip up a BLT for himself. Nosirree. A man has to stand his ground when it comes to dinner being on the table on time.
    upload_2019-6-25_9-24-23. upload_2019-6-25_9-26-58. upload_2019-6-25_9-27-59.
    Abby and Joey; Corbett Monica and Joe Besser provide "comic" relief

    Ellie goes to court to plead her case with an impossible set of circumstances to prove the arresting cop was wrong. The judge listens patiently because, well...it's Abby Dalton. In the end, Ellie makes an impassioned plea for liberty and justice for all. The audience laughter was not deafening.

    I'll be honest--I never watched this show when it was aired, and I only taped this episode just to see what it was like. No more commentaries on this subject. I was never much of a fan of Joey Bishop anyway.

    Randoms:
    A spin-off from The Danny Thomas Show, the series never earned high ratings and eventually bombed in its 4th year when scheduled opposite Bonanza. R.I.P.

    After Shemp Howard died in 1955, Lou Costello's neighbor Joe Besser assumed (for a brief stint) the role as the third Stooge

    Joey Bishop's main stepping stone to fame was as the itinerant and lesser member of the Rat Pack.

    As Ellie, Abby Dalton played down her obvious appeal. She appeared in several films and TV shows between 1957 and the early 2000's. Still with us at age 86.

    upload_2019-6-25_9-42-51. upload_2019-6-25_9-43-31.

    *Apparently the entire series is available via Amazon. You'd be better off buying the Dick Van Dyke series if you like this type of show.
     
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  12. Message #2212 of 2308 Jun 25, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
    BobO'Link

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    FWIW, the first season of The Joey Bishop Show is very different from S2 on. In S1, Joey was a well-intending but hapless and trouble-prone person, who works for a Hollywood public relations firm. The storylines during the first season typically revolve around Joey's misadventures concerning his job. Problems also arise when family members, who often think he has more influence in Hollywood than he actually has, attempt to take advantage of his nonexistent influence. Joey lives with and supports his widowed mother, Mrs. Barnes (Madge Blake), younger sister Stella (Marlo Thomas) and younger brother Larry (Warren Berlinger), who is a medical student. Joey also supports his older sister Betty (Virginia Vincent) and her proudly unemployed husband Frank (Joe Flynn). It didn't get the ratings the network wanted so it was tweaked a bit and the characters of the older sister, her husband, and Joey's girlfriend (who was employed as a secretary in the firm in which he worked) were dropped. Ratings improved but after the first season Bishop decided to change the format of the series. It also began filming in front of a live audience and featured an entirely different supporting cast with Joey being the host of a New York City talk/variety television show.

    I've been watching S1 on Amazon Prime streaming (they have all 4 seasons available). I like it a bit better than S2 (I have that one on DVD - the one released before the full series got a DVD release) but miss Abby Dalton (I always found her attractive - she's a few months younger than my mom! :eek:). Overall I find it to be a a rather generic "show business" type show - both incarnations although much more so in S2 onward with the "Hollywood" guest stars appearing as themselves. Like Russ said... Joey is pretty much a movie/TV star because of his association with Sinatra and the "Rat Pack." Had it not been for that he'd have been just another Las Vegas comedian.

    I absolutely do not care for Joe Besser or his "whiny brat" schtick. Never have. His "Little Stinky" character almost ruins The Abbot and Costello Show for me.
     
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  13. Message #2213 of 2308 Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    The Joey Bishop Show (at least from Season 2 on) is yet another example of that sitcom trope, of the male lead punching way above their weight when it comes to the casting of their TV show wives. Can't say I've been all that impressed with Bishop myself, in the few things I've seen him in. He's OK.

    Now Abby Dalton, on the other hand...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Jeff Flugel

    Jeff Flugel Screenwriter

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    You're sure flying through those High Chaparrals, Doug! At the rate you're going, you'll have season 3 well wrapped up before S4 streets in September. And you've a long way to go before you run out of Gunsmokes. ;)
     
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  15. Message #2215 of 2308 Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    Rustifer

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    A Quick Detour Into the Near Present...

    I've been trying to wedge in my "classic TV" commentaries while binging on The West Wing. I only watched a few episodes when it originally aired beginning in 2000--it must have been on opposite a show I liked better.
    Understanding fully well this doesn't really qualify as a classic show as yet, I won't spend a bunch of time on it.
    Richard Schiff--as Communications Director Toby Zeigler drives me crazy. An uber-sensitive neurotic guy who always seems about 1 yard away from committing suicide, he's forever mumbling, scratching his face and generally in some state of perplexity of his own making. It's a character he's once again duplicated on The Good Doctor.
    Allison Janney as Press Secretary C.J. astounds me as to how well she's held up from this show to her current series "Mom". Appropriately and laughingly coded as "Flamingo" by the Secret Service.
    Bradley Whitford and Rob Lowe are just unbelievably too cool as senior White House aides. If only I could fire off such acerbic witticisms as they seem able at the snap of their fingers.
    Janel Moloney may be my favorite as a dumb/smart, cute blonde where 40% of her body weight comes from teeth.
    Martin Sheen is really short.

    I'm amazed how well the show holds up in regards to the geo-political environment--and is probably pretty accurate for what the West Wing looked like in that time period. One thing I know for sure--today's White House likely doesn't look a thing like this show's portrayal.

    upload_2019-6-26_8-17-2.

    Many pardons for stepping a bit too far into the future for this particular thread. I shall return to my normal TV channels shortly.
     
  16. Message #2216 of 2308 Jun 26, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
    Doug Wallen

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    I had just forgotten how much I enjoy The High Chapparal. They are like the old Lay's Potato Chip commercial, "Bet you can't eat just one?" It really helps that my wife (who generally doesn't enjoy westerns) is a big fan of this. She likes Blue (says its his eyes) and enjoys the antics of Buck and Mano. Since I enjoy westerns so much, it actually gives us a show we can both enjoy. As she was growing up her family didn't spend much time with westerns. It is slowly becoming an acquired taste on her part. I have season 4 pre-ordered, just gonna have to be satisfied with Gunsmoke (jumbo packs through season 12), Have Gun-Will Travel and a rewatch of various favorites from Wild Wild West.
     
  17. Message #2217 of 2308 Jun 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    Rustifer

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    Doug, consider yourself lucky that you found some common ground with your wife. My wife would prefer to have knitting needles inserted into her eyes before watching an old Western. I was watching Have Gun Will Travel when she snidely remarked, "Oh...my grandfather just loved that show..." as she passed through the room. Didn't exactly make me feel young and sprite.
    To this day, despite my writing numerous commentaries about 77 Sunset Strip, she has no idea what that show is. She's all of 7 years younger than me.
    That being said, a British 'cozy' mystery series will get her attention quicker than Bradley Cooper sitting naked at our kitchen table. British mysteries are not exactly my cup of tea, but being the compromising gent I am, I'll settle down with her and watch one. Zzzzzzzzzz.
     
  18. Message #2218 of 2308 Jun 27, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2019
    Rustifer

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    Episode Commentary
    Hazel
    "Hazel Sounds Her 'A'" (S2E28)

    I like Hazel. I liked her ramrod resolve to face any adversity with her own deep-seated set of rules. There was never any compromising her principals. Treat her like a lowly maid, and you're more than likely to get a knee to the groin and spit in your eye. Her employer, the Baxters, put up with her because they couldn't match her in wits, energy or intuitiveness. She was a veritable battleship steaming through the human experience.

    Whitney Blake, who plays Dorothy Baxter, tries to hide her bombshell sexuality under an apron and doting subservience to her husband George (Don DeFore). Her tight sweaters and blouses bespoke other attributes. As a lawyer, George compromises his own principals every day because...well, he's a lawyer--with a lizard-like Larry Tate ability to convolute himself into his client's demands. Little Harold (Bobby Buntrock) was voted by his classmates as most likely to grow up to be a transsexual serial murderer with a moth collection.

    Case in point on the dynamo of Hazel: Famed impressario Sir Horace (Torin Thatcher) is in town to conduct the local symphony orchestra. He is appalled to learn there's a female in the string section and refuses to allow it. "It's a matter of musical integrity. She belongs in the kitchen!". Such a liberal-minded cosmopolitan attitude.
    Of course, Hazel takes umbrage and while catering a party in Sir Horace's honor and passing around rumaki appetizers, confronts the refined cad directly in his van dyked puss.There's nothing quite like chicken livers wrapped in bacon to stiffen one's reserve. As a cook, Hazel could make a window sill taste good.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] upload_2019-6-27_9-37-21.
    You get this look from Hazel, you're in deep doo-doo; Bobby Buntrock voted most likely to appear on the FBI's bulletin board; Whitney Blake as just another 'typical' housewife

    Hazel artfully drives a wedge between Sir Horace and his wife Lady Hobart (Doris Singleton) which, through some sort of divine providence, has the improbable result of rectifying the entire issue. Plus, Lady Hobart is able to exhort a $16,000 pearl necklace gift from her castigated hubby--which, in today's dollars, could be swapped in exchange for a Boeing 747.

    Randoms

    Kidding aside, Bobby Buntrock would be 67 years old this year if he had lived past his 21st birthday. Unfortunately, Bobby took a fatal dive in his car off a rickety bridge somewhere in South Dakota.

    Don DeFore was actually a fairly prolific second-banana type movie star before making a leap into television. Besides being successful in that medium, he was also a businessman with a restaurant chain, textile businesses, and a number of other dandy income producers.

    Whitney Blake was the embodiment of "Mommy Dearest", having been estranged from her daughter, actress Meredith Baxter, for most of her life.
     
  19. bmasters9

    bmasters9 Producer

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    I hate to say it, but I'd sooner suffer the same fate before I even touched Survivor
    or Law and Order!
     
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  20. JohnHopper

    JohnHopper Supporting Actor

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    Count me in for a discussion about WEST.
     

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