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EARLY SCRIPT FRAGMENTS
SUBJECT: FRAGMENTS FROM THE EARLY ADAPTATIONS OF THE JOURNALS OF RENO NEVADA FOR EXHIBITION ON STAGE, SCREEN, OR RADIO
The following scenario fragments are being made available to scholars as an effort by the Institute to shed light on the early evolution of the various documentary and fictionalized adaptations of the life and times of Dr. B. Banzai.
When Dr. Banzai first authorized this endeavor in 1971, great care was taken to insure his privacy, and as astute readers of the fragments will discover, his last name was changed in the premier mystery, "The Strange Case of Mister Cigars," as was also the name of the script's author. No citation was given for the source material, which is now commonly known to be "The Journals of Reno Nevada."
By 1974 all that changed. Admirers of Dr. Banzai had cleverly deduced that "Buckaroo Bandy" was, indeed, Buckaroo Banzai, and the ruse was dropped. With the appearance of "'Find the Jet Car,' Said the President," the word "mystery" became the far-more overtly theatrical "thriller," and the pseudononymous "John Texas" was parenthetically exposed as Earl Mac Rauch, who went on to create the 1984 docu-drama "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai -- Across the Eighth Dimension."
Dr. Banzai has also declassified fragments from three subsequent "thrillers." Please check the Institute's website on a regular basis if this material is of interest. No posting pattern or schedule has been determined.
THE STRANGE CASE OF MISTER CIGARS
A Buckaroo Bandy Mystery
Rough First Draft
Christmas Eve, 1973
THE STRANGE CASE OF MISTER CIGARS
CARD OVER: Recently the Cuban Government embarked upon a simple plan to destroy the United States and embarrass her leaders.
INTERIOR CORRIDOR AT CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE--DAY
Standing in one of the myriad thousands of corridors at the Central Intelligence Agency is an ordinary Coca-Cola machine with bottle rack. A SIMPLE TITLE comes on: ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA.
From nowhere a man in plain suit and polished black shoes appears. We SEE ONLY HIS HANDS AND FEET as he approaches the Coke machine. One of his hands deposits the equivalent of twenty cents -- one dime and one specially coded token. The machine digests the money and ejects a bottle of Coke. The man opens the bottle but accidentally drops the bottle cap into the bottle cap repository.
With two of his fingers he reaches into the repository and takes out a handful of bottle caps, looking for the one he has dropped, peeling away
the inner cork lining in each. In a couple he is gratified to find that he has won a particular promotional giveaway of some sort, and these he stuffs into his pocket. But he continues the process of elimination in search of the original.
EXTREME CLOSE SHOT--BOTTLE CAP
Finally, the mysterious hands peel away the cork of one of the caps and strike the jackpot. Printed on the inner side of the cap is the word GO, beneath which appears a pictograph.
The hands and feet seemingly are too stunned to move. The bottle cap continues to be held rigidly in the palm of the hand.
VOICE OF HANDS AND FEET: Go. At last.
The feet abruptly turn and begin walking at a fast clip.
PATRICIA PEMBROKE: "Ojos Negros." Wait a minute. Yes, I have heard that name before. The question is where. Of course, now I remember. It's the code name of their agent in Miami Beach, the tall leggy one who used to dance at the Copacabana. She was spotted in Utah last month at the Jet Car test runs.
VOICE OF HANDS AND FEET: Yes, at the Salt Flats. Quick thinking, Miss Pembroke. As soon as you've finished the decoding, let me know the results. Bring your report to the White House, where I'll be in Mr. Hall's office.
Mr. Hands and Feet walks away, as she looks after his retreating feet all the way to door. He goes out the door, closes it.
Miss Pembroke stands, puts on her glasses, and, looking over the coded page, steps to a microphone that will relay her voice to the codebreakers in the room. Earphones everywhere are readied.
PATRICIA PEMBROKE: I want you all to drop what you're doing and work on something new I've just been handed. It appears to be a variation of the Soviet revolving matrix box, code letters consecutive with every twelfth digit--
She is very bright.
EXTERIOR MIAMI BEACH HOTEL BALCONY--DAY
CLOSE SHOT--LUZ CENICEROS
Wearing a clinging terry cloth bathrobe, Luz Ceniceros sits on the sunlit balcony of her hotel and brings a cup of coffee to her gorgeous red lips.
LUZ CENICEROS: --and so that's the story of my life, how I escaped Jefe Maximo only to fall into the hands of Castor Oil and the Communists. Tell me something about yourself, Buckaroo.
Our first good look at Buckaroo Bandy. He is sitting sexy in a chair, his lace-up cowboy shirt open to the silver belt buckle with the bucking bronco insignia engraved on it.
Naturally, he is wearing the white Stetson hat as well, and is at the moment looking at the sports page of the Miami Herald where the lead headline reads BUCKAROO BANDY FAVORED TODAY AT DAYTONA. Beneath, his photo is also prominently displayed.
Now he folds the sports page back around the edges of the story about him and begins to tear the article out of the paper.
BUCKAROO BANDY: Have you a knife, I wonder? It's for my mother, you know. She collects these things.
Luz Ceniceros crosses her legs, reaches under her robe, and removes a switchblade knife from her garter belt. She hands the knife to Buckaroo, and he accepts it without raising an eyebrow. He pushes the button, watches the blade flip out.
BUCKAROO BANDY: Super. These little monsters come in handy now and again, I'll wager, what with a single girl about the streets nowadays. [A pause.] But you won't be needing it now that I'm around, will you?
Buckaroo Bandy is wonderfully suave and soft-spoken and uses the knife to deftly cut out his picture and several columns of newsprint.
BUCKAROO BANDY: Not much to tell, actually. About my life, you mean? I'm afraid I'm a simple fellow who happens to believe in a few simple things, that's all. Some people might accuse me of being a bit old-fashioned in most departments.
LUZ CENICEROS: You, old-fashioned? Ha, ha, don't make me laugh, Buckaroo. Why, your exploits are legendary! The people in far-off Cairo know your name.
BUCKAROO BANDY: Yes, I was in Egypt not long ago. But it is true. As you know, in affairs of the heart I'm not quite as invulnerable as they paint me in the newspapers and the popular periodicals. I have another side for those I love.
Buckaroo leans across the table and kisses Luz, takes her hand.
LUZ CENICEROS: What about your mother and father? Where do they live? What's the name of Buckaroo Bandy's hometown?
DIFFERENT POV--TELESCOPE EFFECT
Unbeknownst to Buckaroo Bandy, someone is watching him through a high-powered telescopic lens. Buckaroo and Luz are seen on the sixth floor balcony against the greater backdrop of a white ocean-front high rise hotel.
A hundred yards off the beach, a gorgeous white yacht of immense displacement lies anchored, swaying with the ripples of the tide. On the boat's sun deck we behold a curious sight. An odd-looking fat man with bulldog jowls is taking movies of Buckaroo Bandy through a five foot telescopic lens, a sinister smile on his face, a cigar between his flabby lips. He is dressed in a white linen suit, a Colonel Sanders bowtie, and a plantation owner's broad-brimmed white hat. He is none other than MR. CIGARS, the meanest man in the world.
He is surrounded by a coterie of half-dressed Caribbean native servants. A couple of them are playing musical intruments, another holds a bowl of pineapples, one of them fans Mr. Cigars with an ostrich plume, and all of them are dancing with a sense of rhythm.
Buckaroo and Luz have walked to the opposite end of the balcony where the view is breathtaking. The sea breeze is coming in, bringing with it the faint sound of gay light-hearted music from the yacht.
BUCKAROO BANDY: Do you hear music? Where is it coming from?
LUZ CENICEROS: It looks like some kind of party aboard that yacht.
Buckaroo stares out at the boat.
BUCKAROO BANDY: Intriguing sort, isn't he? I wonder who he is. A pity we weren't invited. [A pause.] You asked me about my hometown. I've made it a practice until now never to
A Buckaroo Banzai Thriller
"FIND THE JET CAR," SAID THE PRESIDENT An
(Earl Mac Rauch)
PROFESSOR RISTER: At this very moment he should be entering the outskirts of Las Vegas.
EXT. JET CAR--LAS VEGAS--DAY
ZOOM. The Jet Car zooms past billboards. Youths stand gawking. What in the world was that? ZOOM. The Jet Car zooms past shopping centers. ZOOM past housing developments, ZOOM past motels, ZOOM past mobile home courts.
The Jet Car is now a golden streak heading down the golden strip.
ANOTHER ANGLE--MGM GRAND HOTEL
The Jet Car suddenly lurches to a stop in front of the one hundred and twenty million dollar MGM Grand Hotel. The plexiglas cockpit canopy opens, and out steps the silver-suited pilot. He takes off his headgear and smiles, posing in front of the hotel marquee which reads: NOW APPEARING--BUCKAROO BANZAI.
INT. NIGHTCLUB DRESSING ROOM--NIGHT
Buckaroo Banzai, now in his traditional trademark, the flowery cowboy shirt with fringe on the sleeves and a bucking bronco emblem over his pocket, stares at himself in his dressing room mirror, his image framed in Hollywood lights as he drags a comb through his slicked-back hair. He is handsome, his teeth are bright, there is no doubt.
On the chair next to him rests a golden inlaid guitar with his name written across the frets of the neck: BUCKAROO.
The dressing room door opens, and a young USHER pokes his head in.
USHER: Five minutes to showtime, Mr. Banzai.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Is the band set up?
USHER: Everything's ready. The place is packed. I've never seen so many screaming dames.
Buckaroo combs the last lock of his hair into place, studies the results, responds to the usher's comment.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: I like it like that.
Buckaroo picks up his guitar, slings it over his shoulder.
The Big Room is jammed to capacity, a sense of absolute bedlam, people crowding the stage, crushing one another, screaming, throwing bouquets
The CLUB EMCEE is standing at the mike center stage in front of the curtain, attempting to make himself heard. He is also making wild gestures.
CLUB EMCEE: Here it is, ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've been waiting for, the one you've been waiting for, the one and only who's well worth waiting for--the incomparable Buckaroo Banzai!
The club emcee is a fast talker and now goes into a fast disappearing act as the curtain rises and applause rocks the old plantation. Onstage under a blue ceiling with a thousand twinkling stars and a silver moon, Buckaroo Banzai appears in a pale blue spotlight with his wonderful guitar, backed up by a ten piece country and western band and a trio of girl singers. Furthermore, both the band and the trio are Chinese!
As the applause slowly fades, he strums hidden meanings on his guitar and goes into his first number, a beautiful rendition of the country classic called "Don't Let the Stars Get in Your Eyes, Don't Let the Moon Break Your Heart," written by the immortal Slim Willet and covered on the popular charts in the early 1950's by Mr. C, Perry Como.
At the rear of the room, seated by herself, an attractive young lady is crying. She pours herself another drink, but booze won't do the job. She is all alone. She needs some help. Her name is PENNY.
Onstage Buckaroo Banzai is singing when suddenly he stops and waves his band to cease as well. The music stops, the crowd is quiet, wondering what the problem is. In the eerie stillness, the only sound is Buckaroo's lips to the silver mike and the faint rustle of someone crying.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Is someone crying?
The audience does not at first respond.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: I said, is someone crying? I thought I heard someone crying.
From the far back of the room, Penny's voice is raised weakly. She can do no more.
Buckaroo looks around.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Where?
PENNY: Here...at the back...
Buckaroo squints, spots her. His voice comes mighty over the public address system through sophisticated sound amplifiers, a slight trace of feedback.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Get her a mike, somebody. Can you hear me?
Someone hands Penny a mike. She taps on it to make sure its components are working.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: What's your name?
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Penny. That's a nice name. You any relation to Penny Jones?
PENNY: My grandmother's name was Jones. My name is Priddy. Penny Priddy.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: What's the trouble? Why are you crying?
Penny blows her nose in the mike, resulting in a small rumble. Tears are streaming down her cheeks.
PENNY: Oh, God, it's my whole life. Two weeks ago my mother and I came to Las Vegas from back East. Oh, I don't know...it was just a lark, something to do. We won this crazy contest, and when the money came through, we thought...oh, why not take a chance and paint Las Vegas the color of a fire engine...and then we heard you were going to be here...well, that removed any doubt we might have had.
The audience applauds this part of her statement, showing its undying affection for Buckaroo. Buckaroo smiles onstage, pleased, but wanting to hear the rest of the story.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Go on.
PENNY: But it didn't take us long to realize that ten thousand dollars isn't a real fortune in Las Vegas, Nevada. We gambled quite heavily in the parlors...Mother, especially...and before long we owed the house a goodly amount of money. We didn't know what to do. The manager told us to pay up...he made threats. That's when they seized my mother and told her I would have to become a prostitute or else...
BUCKAROO BANZAI: And now they're holding your mother hostage, forcing you to sell yourself to strangers and turn over your earnings. Where are they holding your mother?
PENNY: In an old abandoned mining camp twenty miles west of here.
EXT. MGM GRAND HOTEL--NIGHT
Buckaroo and Penny come down the front walk of the Grand Hotel, headed toward the Jet Car. Buckaroo looks like he means business, as do the members of his band who are following.
Buckaroo reaches the Jet Car, opens the cockpit, climbs in.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: You boys follow us. Give us half an hour in the mining camp. If I'm not heard from by then, you know what to do. Exercise Plan
BOYS IN THE BAND: Right, Buckaroo!
The Chinese country and western musicians break into a run for their personalized Continental Trailways bus across the street, the sides of which are brightly painted and labeled as follows: BUCKAROO BANZAI AND THE HONG KONG CAVALIERS.
Buckaroo lends Penny Priddy a hand, helping her squeeze into the Jet Car cockpit behind him.
INT. JET CAR--NIGHT
Buckaroo presses a button, and a WHRRRING sound is heard. The electrically-operated Plexiglas canopy closes over them, causing Penny to remark as she observes the ultra-sophisticated instrument cluster:
PENNY: Jeepers, this is cozy. Some car!
BUCKAROO BANZAI: It isn't mine. It belongs to NATO. I only operate it.
PENNY: Aren't you afraid someone will steal it?
Buckaroo is pressing an assortment of colored lights in the control panel of the dashboard, touching the buttons in some kind of deliberate sequence.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Not really. It wouldn't do them any good unless they knew the ignition code and could duplicate the exact pressure of my fingertips. As it happens, I'm the only one who can operate this car.
Saying that, Buckaroo turns the key, and the amazing engine roars to life. Very quickly they are in motion, and the passage of time is imperceptible as the scenery flashes past in an incredible blur.
SHIELDS AGAINST THE DEVIL
A Buckaroo Banzai Thriller by Earl Rauch Circa 1980 ========================================
SHIELDS AGAINST THE DEVIL
EXT. WASHINGTON, D.C.--NIGHT
The nation's capital slumbers on a rainy night, a touch of the macabre in the air as lightning bolts flash overhead, rolling thunder shaking the rotunda of the Capitol, the sky dark as obsidian.
The Pentagon, symbolic of our nation's military might. The building is mostly darkened now, only a window or two lit, as we CLOSE UP one such window.
INT. PENTAGON OFFICE
A young SYSTEMS ANALYST appears in the doorway of a Pentagon office, friendly as he peers in on the sole occupant--the latter hunched over a drafting board, wrestling with a set of blueprints, his name...SLOAN BERGER.
The systems analyst has a coat slug jauntily over one shoulder, a briefcase under his arm, apparently on his way home. He smiles.
SYSTEMS ANALYST: Hey, you with the top secret blueprints, give you a lift?
Berger runs a finger under his shirt collar, working too hard.
SLOAN BERGER: Thanks, Don, but the professor wants these sketches of the Jet Car completed by tonight. He called to say he's coming over from the Institute.
SYSTEMS ANALYST: Hmm. That's odd. Kind of late for the old bird to be out, isn't it?
SLOAN BERGER: He sounded queer, I have to admit.
The systems analyst nods, shrugging it off, turning to go.
SYSTEMS ANALYST: Well, see you later. It's nasty out.
SLOAN BERGER: Yeah. So long.
The systems analyst emerges from the Pentagon, heads across the parking lot, where he happens to look up and is troubled by what he sees: parachutists jumping out of a huge zeppelin and descending on the Pentagon.
And that isn't all: a 1946 Chevy is smoking down the road toward the Pentagon, its loud mufflers and oversized tires marking it immediately as a purveyor of villainy. As the Chevy reaches the Pentagon checkpoint, it squeals its brakes.
A GUARD steps out of the checkpoint booth, the driver's POV, and a REVERSE ANGLE shows us the driver's face and the reason for his phlegmatic appearance. He is PROFESSOR RISTER, a distinguished-looking genius who wears his glasses crooked, and in the car with him are three young hoods wearing T-shirts and greased hair. The one with the gun is named WILLIAM, and it is no wonder the professor is perspiring profusely.
WILLIAM: Say cheese, Professor. And no big words.
The professor nods anxiously, rolling down his window as the guard approaches under an umbrella.
GUARD: Good evening, Professor. Everything all right?
PROFESSOR RISTER: Yes, yes--it's--
Without waiting another word, William grows impatient and pulls the trigger of his pistol, shooting not the professor but the guard. The guard reels backward and hits the concrete, as the professor swallows hard and William waves the gun.
WILLIAM: Take a lesson. Don't stutter next time.
As the professor steps on the gas and the car moves forward, the wounded guard looks on as the Chevy's rear license plate falls off, revealing a Nevada license beneath. With great exertion, the guard picks himself up and struggles to the telephone, dialing with his last ounce of life.
INT. HOSPITAL--DRESSING ROOM
Our first look at the great man, BUCKAROO BANZAI, well known expert in every field, renowned brain surgeon, as he rinses his hands in antiseptic and slips on his rubber surgical gloves.
A stethoscope around his neck, a surgical cap on, he is the world's handsomest man, as he listens to the small metallic speaker overhead.
PUBLIC ADDRESS: Calling Buckaroo Banzai. Doctor Banzai, you're wanted in surgery. Calling Doctor Banzai...
A look of calm determination on Buckaroo's face, despite the daily pressures of his work. It's all routine.
BUCKAROO BANZAI (softly): I'm coming.
Slipping into his gloves, Buckaroo starts for the exit, pausing for a moment to look into an adjoining room, pushing open the door as he hears radio static and sounds of gunfire.
INT. ADJOINING ROOM
In the next room, as Buckaroo looks in, we see a young Oriental in an orderly's uniform sitting at a desk next to a small Radio Shack police receiver, out of which are emanating various police calls, much confusion, and gunfire in the background. It sounds like a radio Western.
The young man, named SAM LIN, is a close associate of Buckaroo and smiles as Buckaroo peers in. Putting down his headset, Sam Lin says with a friendly grin:
SAM LIN: Oh, hi, Buckaroo.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: What's all the excitement?
SAM LIN: There's a big shootout over at the Pentagon.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: The Deuce, you say! Anybody we know?
SAM LIN: I wouldn't be surprised.
Buckaroo smiles, his thoughts to himself.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Keep me posted. I'll be in surgery.
Sam Lin nods as Buckaroo shuts the door.
Meanwhile, back at the Pentagon all hell has broken loose, police cars and Army tanks everywhere, a heavy fire fight in progress, gunfire directed to and from the building, searchlights and automatic weapons fire.
INT. PENTAGON OFFICE
Poor Sloan Berger, the young scientist met earlier, takes a right hook delivered to the jaw by one of the hoods and goes tumbling over his desk, rendered unconscious at once.
While one of the toughs fires an automatic grease gun out the window, the other scoops up the blueprints from Berger's drawing board, shouting out under a hail of lead:
WILLIAM: Let's get outta here!
OTHER WILLIAM: Where's the professor?
They look around, no sign of the prof.
WILLIAM: How should I know? That bastard. Come on. Let's go before we eat some lead. We'll get the prof later.
Releasing a final burst of bullets aimed at the cops outside, the two hoods head for the door, keeping low.
Cowering behind a Coca-Cola machine, the professor watches as the two toughs step over the bodies of their third comrade and a couple of dead peace officers and run down the hallway through a maze of tear gas, fighting a running gun battle with more police.
The hoods seem to know where they are going, making a run for it and disappearing through a door marked STAIRS, the professor following at the last moment and pounding furiously on the door, finding it locked as he is joined by several policemen.
POLICEMAN: Who are you, old fellow?
PROFESSOR RISTER: I'm Professor Rister from the Institute. You've got to stop them! They've got top secret info that in the wrong hands could spell doom for our way of life.
The policeman is astonished to learn this as he fires his revolver repeatedly at the doorjamb of the door marked STAIRS.
POLICEMAN: Where does this door lead?
PROFESSOR RISTER: To the stairs.
POLICEMAN: Is there any escape?
PROFESSOR RISTER: No, not that I know of.
POLICEMAN: Good. Then we've got the rascals. We can relax.
EXT. PENTAGON ROOF
But, lo and behold, there is an escape, after all. A helicopter hovers above the Pentagon, lowering a rope to which the two toughs attach themselves and, guarding the top secret blueprints under one arm, make their getaway through the skies over Washington.
EXT. MIDLOTHIAN GENERAL HOSPITAL
CLOSE ON GOLD PLAQUE reading MIDLOTHIAN GENERAL HOSPITAL, MIDLOTHIAN CITY.
And as we PULL BACK to reveal a long black limousine with curtains in the back seat, FIRST TITLE HITS. The limousine clearly transports someone of importance as it makes its way this night up the driveway toward the main hospital entrance.
INT. OPERATING ROOM
The hands of a great surgeon, the hands, more specifically, of Buckaroo Banzai, as he performs a delicate brain operation, surrounded by a crack team of physicians and nurses.
The viewing room adjacent to the operating room, various medical personnel witnessing Buckaroo's incredible skill with the scalpel.
To one side of the glass-enclosed viewing room, however, we now note the arrival of a civilian, as it were--a distinguished-looking, important individual in a business suit, talking with Buckaroo's friend Sam Lin. The stranger is GEORGE CARROLL, and he now takes a seat among the gallery, as Sam Lin comes into the operating room with what is apparently a message.
George Carroll, curious, a man to appreciate great talent in another, observes the progress of the surgical operation, leaning forward, finding himself sitting next to a YOUNG DOCTOR, as Buckaroo's deft hands delve into the human brain.
GEORGE CARROLL: What's he doing now?
YOUNG DOCTOR: He's borrowed a section of foreign nerve from the duodenum of a heart patient and is now linking it with the motor functions, bypassing the tumor. With a small battery-powered electric transmitter worn under the collar, a victim of brain damage can transmit instructions vocally to his own brain.
GEORGE CARROLL: Such as "raise my left arm?"
YOUNG DOCTOR: Something like that. It's Doctor Banzai's idea. He perfected the operation. He has patients from all over the world. This man's an Eskimo.
George Carroll nods, seeing that the patient is an Eskimo, but actually he is more interested in Sam Lin, as he watches the latter deliver a message into Buckaroo's ear.
Buckaroo listens intently as Sam Lin whispers at his side. Nonetheless, the operation continues flawlessly, Buckaroo's hands having a consciousness all their own.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Yes?
SAM LIN: The President wants to see you.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: The President of what?
SAM LIN: The President of the United States.
Buckaroo takes it in stride.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: I see. Tell him I'll be a moment while I sew up this man's head.
Sam Lin nods. TITLES RESUME.
Buckaroo emerges from the hospital, slipping a coat on over his smock, accompanied by George Carroll, the latter opening the rear door of the limousine and holding it for Buckaroo.
As Buckaroo enters the car, we note the occupants: in the front seat a driver and two Secret Service agents, in the back seat none other than a somewhat still disheveled Professor Rister sitting next to the President of the United States, PRESIDENT SANCHEZ.
The President is of course glad to see Buckaroo, his craggy and totally trustworthy face breaking into a smile as Buckaroo extends a hand of greeting.
BUCKAROO BANZAI: Mr. President--
PRESIDENT SANCHEZ: Buckaroo. How's my good friend?
BUCKAROO BANZAI: I'm fine, a little busy. What brings you out to Midlothian, President Sanchez?
PRESIDENT SANCHEZ: We'll get to that. Have you a few moments to spare?
Copyright (c) 1971-2002 Earl Mac Rauch. All rights reserved.
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