Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

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Jeff Crouse

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Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostFri Jul 22, 2016 2:48 pm

Dear Nitratevillers,

A second, and final, GoFundMe campaign has been launched to raise funds to finish restoring the 1927 FBO silent movie, Little Mickey Grogan, whose lead actress, Lassie Lou Ahern, 96, is still with us. As one of the last two surviving Hollywood silent film stars left (the other, of course, being Diana Serra Cary), the sole surviving print of her film is housed in Serge Bromberg's archive in Paris, and he's agreed to do this restoration as well as distribute it through his company, Lobster Films. And, as part of the planned dvd release of this restoration, there will be special features contained in bonus tracks, including my 2016 50-minute documentary interview of her career. It's worth noting that, in addition to Bromberg's involvement, Eric Grayson is also centrally attached to this restoration.

Mention needs to be made that Little Mickey Grogan also features Frankie Darro (in his first starring role), Jobyna Ralston (in the same year she made Wings), and Ernest "Sunshine Sammy" Morrison (in a rare, non-"Our Gang" silent film part).

Please consider giving to this crowd-sourcing project, and be sure to click on the actress' own enthusiastic promo. Further details of this restoration are found in the GoFundMe description. My dream is to see Little Mickey Grogan play on the big screen again in time for the 2017 Pordenone Festival -- the world's most prestigious annual silent film event.

GoFundMe link:
https://www.gofundme.com/2fpwc9w

Lassie Lou Ahern promo:


All best,
Jeff
Last edited by Mike Gebert on Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:41 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Embedded YouTube link
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Jeff Crouse

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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostFri Jul 22, 2016 7:29 pm

In addition to the detailed information found on the GoFundMe campaign site, and the 3.5 minute video promo by Lassie Lou Ahern herself, here's a 2015 podcast, done at Chasing Cinema, in which I provide an overview of the project. Admittedly, there have been a couple of minor bits regarding the restoration that have changed; still, overall, almost everything heard in this conversation remains the same.

For those who are curious, here's the link:

Last edited by silentfilm on Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:23 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Eric Grayson

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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Jul 24, 2016 9:36 am

This is a super important project, folks. We've been working on it for over a year now. All kinds of obstacles. What Jeff doesn't mention is that this is tied in with legendary producer/writer Gene Stratton-Porter, one of the most influential women in Hollywood at the time.

Stratton-Porter came from Indiana as a world-famous author to produce films through FBO. Her daughter Jeanette married director James Leo Meehan, who was the house director at Gene Stratton-Porter Productions. Stratton-Porter was killed in a freak accident in late 1924, but Jeanette and Meehan carried on.

Little Mickey Grogan is NOT based on a Gene Stratton-Porter novel, and I can't prove that Jeanette worked on it, but I strongly suspect she did. The screenplay is credited to Dorothy Yost, another pioneering woman in Hollywood, who was a favorite of Jeanette's, and worked on Stratton-Porter films before and after this one.

And this is one of the later leading roles for Jobyna Ralston, who had just finished her association with Harold Lloyd. We've got access to the original script to bring this back to as close to the original release as possible...

I've seen this picture with the French titles... it's a real charmer, with some lovely photography in it. Frankie Darro is outstanding (much less smarmy than he got later!)

This is the only known print in the world, so if you want to see it... this is your chance. I'm not going into specifics, but because of some weird issues surrounding it, I doubt anyone else will ever tackle a restoration.

Eric
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Jul 24, 2016 9:41 am

Does GoFundMe only fund if the project goal is reached (like Kickstarter), or does it fund whatever is pledged even if the goal is not reached?
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostMon Jul 25, 2016 4:36 pm

Image
Lassie Lou Ahern and Frankie Darro

I believe that GoFundMe sends your contribution immediately. The project will be funded even if the goal is not met.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostMon Jul 25, 2016 6:52 pm

Here's some terrific news to report: Philip Carli, one of the most acclaimed contemporary silent film composers, has enthusiastically agreed to score Little Mickey Grogan. Renowned throughout the silent film community, his resume includes scoring some of the most important titles of early cinema. A very partial list: Hell's Hinges (1916), Foolish Wives (1922), A Fool There Was (1915), Stella Maris (1918), Peter Pan (1924), Regeneration (1915), Tarzan of the Apes (1918), Within Our Gates (1920), Parisian Love (1925), Tramp, Tramp, Tramp (1926), The Great Train Robbery (1903), Leaves From Satan's Book (1920), a number of John Ford films (3 Bad Men [1926], Hangman's House [1928], plus others), and also films by Alice Guy-Blaché, and Lois Weber.

Check out samples of his fine work here: http://www.philipcarli.com/fcsosamples.html" target="_blank
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostThu Jul 28, 2016 5:27 pm

Update: One week into the campaign, over $1,100 has been raised. It's terribly encouraging to receive so much wonderful support. If you haven't done already, please consider or think about being a part of this high-quality, high-level restoration project. Thank you everyone!

Jeff

Here's where we are:
https://www.gofundme.com/2fpwc9w" target="_blank
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Jeff Crouse

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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostFri Aug 05, 2016 1:36 pm

Update: we've raised 10% of our goal as of now. Since we're engaged in doing a high-quality restoration with some of the top figures in the preservation community (Serge Bromberg, Eric Grayson, Philip Carli) -- as opposed to undertaking a straight to dvd transfer -- we're taking the high road professionally. Our motto in approaching this restoration is, "do it right or don't do it at all." Our goal is this: getting an A+ restoration completed while Lassie Lou is still alive.

Please join us in this worthy endeavor by saving a piece of Hollywood film and American history.

Thanks,
Jeff
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostFri Aug 05, 2016 10:20 pm

There's been some whining on Facebook about this project. I'm here to assure you that it's NOT a scam, it WILL be restored TO FILM, and it's going to be gone through by hand to clean it up.

If you're hearing rumors to the contrary, please contact me or Jeff, or you can discuss on www.drfilm.net/facebook

This is a lot of work: it's going to be done at 2K with a documentary on it, plus all the titles are being redone and replaced from Lassie Lou's script, plus the footwork we've already done on this is incredible.

I'm excited to see this project happening AT ALL, and I'm glad Jeff is spearheading it, since he's our link to Lassie Lou!

Eric
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostMon Aug 15, 2016 5:13 pm

Hi Nitratevillers,

A brief update: As of now, we've raised nearly a quarter of the total monies raised. Slowly, but surely, this project of Little Mickey Grogan is moving forward, and our hearty thanks to all those who have contributed. For everyone else, please consider adding your name to our donors (and receive screen credit), and/or please spread the word to those individuals eager to restore and preserve silent movies which would certainly be lost without the passion of others.

Thanks again,
Jeff
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostThu Aug 25, 2016 10:22 pm

Dear Nitratevillers:

I wasn't born yesterday, but I never expected to encounter pure evil within the silent film community. I know there are bad people everywhere, yet I didn't think I'd find it here. What I'm talking about the utterly baseless rumors started by Eric Stedman of the Serial Squadron regarding the Little Mickey Grogan GoFundMe restoration project currently going on.

The rumors have come back to Lassie Lou Ahern herself, and when she called me today and told me about hearing them, she had aged 20 years. I swear. For the first ever, she sounded like the 96-year old woman that she is. She had such uncomprehending hurt in her voice as to why in the world someone would set out to destroy her last wish in her life: seeing her final silent film seen and preserved. "Who in the world would do such a terrible thing? Why? Why does he have an ax to grind? What have I done to hurt him?" she asked me over and over. I don't have an answer to this.

As I try to get my head around the damage this man has caused, let me lay this out:

American culture only has two silent film stars remaining. Yes, there are a couple of others who were in silent film whom one can additionally count. But we're talking performers with CAREERS in that age: Diana Serra Cary and Lassie Lou Ahern. That's it folks, no matter how you spin it. Endeavoring to learn about their experience while being a part of the medium in the 1920s while they are still with us -- that is, while we as film historians and film buffs can still speak with them and ask them questions -- is the happy task that we're entrusted with. That's why I've done extensive work with Diana Cary and Lassie Lou. However, Ahern is not near as well known as the justly celebrated "Baby Peggy." That's why I've devoted the last two concentrated years trying to get the word out about Ahern's career. I mean what silent film lover wouldn't? Let's go over the facts: She appeared in the Our Gang after being discovered by Will Rogers, worked with John Ford, Leo McCarey, Frank Capra, Norma Shearer, Ronald Colman, Vilma Banky, Helen Holmes, Mary Philbin, Jetta Goudal, Joseph Schildkraut, Jobyna Ralston, and Ivan Mosjoukine! She had her own dressing room with her name on the door at Universal. She had her own successful clothes line. She was a major cast member of one of the biggest epics of the entire silent era, Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927). So, like Diana Cary, she is a treasure trove of 1920s Hollywood cinema. For religious reasons, her parents took her out of film acting following the release of Little Mickey Grogan (1927) because they perceived that with the coming of sound movies would become more violent. Such enough, only a short time later gangster films became all the rage. Little Mickey Grogan would be the only time in which she (along with Frankie Darro) got to headline a film. Alas, she never saw after it was released.

It was through researching a major project on Clara Bow that led me to Diana Cary which in time led me Lassie Lou. Who am I? Well, I'm a film historian who was the first American to graduate with a PhD from the UK's highest ranking Film and Television Studies Department, the University of Warwick. You can find my dissertation in the British Library as well as Warwick University. My subsequent writing can be found throughout the Internet (especially on scholarly sites), and my essays, for example, on Cary and Ahern are weighty and substantial. I have a LinkedIn account with my resume on it, and anyone who's interested in my background can easily find it there.

Eric Stedman can be excused, then, perhaps for not knowing anything about either Lassie Lou or me. But what I fail to understand is his total ignorance regarding Serge Bromberg. Really? Stedman claims to work in restoration, but is seemingly unaware of who Bromberg is. Otherwise WHY IN THE WORLD would a man of such stature in the silent film community agree not only to work with us on this project (he's the rights holder of Little Mickey Grogan) -- but also agree to distribute this through his company, Lobster Films. Explain that. Please.

Next, apparently (again) Eric Stedman doesn't have a clue as to who Eric Grayson is. Really? If he had a smidgen of an idea about Grayson's reputation, then why would Grayson agree to be part of this project as the person in charge of the restoration? Or does Stedman know who Bromberg and Grayson are, but imagines that both men are in cahoots to create a fake story about doing this restoration, and are just using Lassie's name? Again, I ask: does he think that we're in this together to scam folks out of their money? What the hell is in his mind?

But wait, things get even MORE curious. Has Eric Stedman ever heard of the composer Philip Carli, whose reputation is well-known through the silent film community? Really? He's been hired to compose the score of Little Mickey Grogan. I don't get it: does he reckon that SERGE BROMBERG, ERIC GRAYSON, and PHILIP CARLI -- and myself -- and LASSIE LOU AHERN are all shysters who have formed a cabal to rip innocent people off?

Good God, we're talking an all-star team, and yet Stedman thinks something is so awfully fishy that he opens his mouth and disparages our restoration project.

Yes, I'm livid. I'm livid because we'll sunk years of UNPAID work to see Lassie's dream realized. The dream of a kind old woman. The dream of one of the last two silent stars left. However, what I'm most upset about is the state Eric Stedman has put her in. Eric Stedman's ugly, heartless rumors are murdering this project, in more ways than one. We haven't had a single donation in five full days.

If Eric Stedman has anything resembling a conscience, he'll put the rumors he started to rest. He'll retract his ignorant musing, and apologize. If he doesn't, he will have killed saving a silent film from oblivion, and, yes, an old woman's heart.

Jeff Crouse
Last edited by Jeff Crouse on Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostThu Aug 25, 2016 10:29 pm

The above was double posted identically, so I have removed the separate thread.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostThu Aug 25, 2016 10:37 pm

Wherever is the most effective. This man has to be called out before he ruins other people's cherished restorations. People have to understand that one's ignorant ramblings can sometimes have deadly consequences.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostFri Aug 26, 2016 7:57 am

I'm very sorry about this.

Since it looks like this project may be sunk, maybe we can salvage a little of it by at least getting the titles reset and inserted. That'll be something.

The perception is growing in the world that ANY GoFundMe or IndieGoGo is a cash grab, so that's one reason I've avoided them.

I wish I could post the whole story behind this project and detail just how hard we've worked on it to make it happen this far, but I'm afraid we could have international lawsuits on our hands!

Eric
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostFri Aug 26, 2016 9:07 pm

I've contributed, I hope it will help out a little.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSat Aug 27, 2016 2:10 am

I contributed too - Grayson, Carli, Bromberg, obviously a quality project - but I don't understand what's going on. Apart from running Serial Squadron I know nothing about Eric Stedman. Is he so important and/or influential that he could actually kill a project like this? I don't do Facebook or Twitter so I've no idea what he's been saying. Why would he want to kill this? What's the motivation? I'm one bewildered Brit!
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSat Aug 27, 2016 6:55 am

I agree. The Serial Squadron certainly has its crowd, but so does NitrateVille and so do other things. I would never have known that he was badmouthing this project in whatever fashion, if this project had not publicized the fact. I see no reason not to ignore him and focus on the positive activities on this side. Who cares what someone else thinks of it? Why give him power over it?
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSat Aug 27, 2016 7:03 am

Has any of this badmouthing been posted anyplace that can be linked to?

If people have been saying these things, it is very distressing. I can understand not supporting a particular project, but see nothing positive in badmouthing others' work.

Bob
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSat Aug 27, 2016 5:43 pm

This is the root thread, but the discussion has also traveled elsewhere. You can peruse for yourself (and I invite everyone to), but as you'll read that Eric Stedman somehow thinks that Little Mickey Grogan is simply a transfer project, rather than one that involves a RESTORATION and PRESERVATION. It's all there in black and white: he doesn't know the difference. For example, he explicitly doesn't know what a "film out" means. I kid you not. He also balks at paying Philip Carli a living wage for composing the original score. Call me old-fashioned, but I happen to believe that artists should be paid adequately for their labor. Additionally, he has no clue whatsoever what the Pordenone Film Festival is, who Serge Bromberg is, or anything about Lobster Films.

So I have an ignoramus butting in, badmouthing what he painfully doesn't understand, and acting as a wrecking ball. On top of all that he's snide, comfortable to spew insults from his perch of stupidity, not in the least caring whom he hurts. This guy has to be called out by the silent film community before he goes after YOUR project. He's a dangerous troll pure and simple.

Jeff

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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 1:21 am

I'd hate to think that a FB thread originally promoting the project which unfortunately became infected with nonsense spouted by Eric "who the hell is this guy" Stedman would have the ability to sink this most worthy and vital project. I'm off to donate right now.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 1:36 am

Ok, I accidentally donated $60 instead of $30 because the first donation didn't appear to go through at first, but I'm ok with that, because this project needs to be funded. Seriously. And, I just spread the word on some FB silent film pages.

Please give Lassie Lou our love and best wishes.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 2:46 am

I've made a second contribution because:
1. WaverBoy inspired me (accidentally or otherwise),
2. I want this to happen for Lassie Lou,
3. I've now actually SEEN some of Mr Stedman's uninformed, mean-spirited ramblings and I'm appalled.

Good luck!
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 5:28 am

Mr. Stedman is clearly fits the profile of the quintessential nitrateville "cinewhiner", even if not on this Board. Always negative, clueless as to facts, bitching, whining, complaining and never doing anything positive themselves. Just sitting on the sidelines throwing stones at other folks fine work. On Facebook, this kind of person would have been blocked by now. Very sad.
Last edited by vitaphone on Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 6:55 am

Vitaphone, much as I admire the work you do, you have your wires sadly crossed on this. So far as I know, Mr Stedman does not post on Nitrateville. He's been causing all the trouble on Facebook and doesn't appear to have been blocked. Also, in fairness, he doesn't just sit on the sidelines, he runs the Serial Squadron.
Perhaps you could check your facts before you start frothing at the mouth about "quintessential nitrateville cinewhiners."
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 7:21 am

Richard, while Mr. Stedman is not on nitrateville, he certainly through his detructive comments on this worthy project qualifies as a cinewhiner and seems to relish undermining the good work being done on restorations like this. I am aware of his Serial Squadron work but was very happy to instead support the terrific Eric Grayson instead on his labor of love restoring KING OF THE KONGO. So it's fine that we disagree here.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 8:24 am

MY own experience with Stedman that got me banned from his FB site says a lot. He had posted about rumors that Rudolph Valentino appeared as an extra in Patria (1917) and that Elaine Hammerstein appeared in the serial Beatrice Fairfax (1916). I spotted both actors and told him exactly where they appeared. I even confirmed with Donna Hill that the extra I thought was Valentino really was Valentino. When I posted this info on his SS page, the posting quickly disappeared and was replaced with his claiming to have pinpointed their appearances. When I questioned this, I was immediately banned.

Certainly no big deal and I'm sure many others had identified Hammerstein and Valentino, but his action speaks volumes.
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 8:53 am

vitaphone wrote:Richard, while Mr. Stedman is not on nitrateville, he certainly through his detructive comments on this worthy project qualifies as a cinewhiner and seems to relish undermining the good work being done on restorations like this. I am aware of his Serial Squadron work but was very happy to instead support the terrific Eric Grayson instead on his labor of love restoring KING OF THE KONGO. So it's fine that we disagree here.


Ron, I was merely trying to straighten out the confusion between Facebook and what I took to be an extremely unfair comment about Nitrateville. You and I do not, repeat DO NOT disagree about Mr Stedman. I saw his Facebook comments only for the first time today and I'm still reeling! Unbelievable!
As for "cinewhiners", I've had the occasional moan here, but I always try to say at least as many good things about the same restoration, DVD or whatever. In my experience, that applies to the majority of posters here.
Forgiven?
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 10:45 am

We're good, Richard. Thanks for clarifying. No worries!
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 12:15 pm

Thanks Ron. You're a star.
In case my incoherent ravings have confused anybody else, please note that I am NOT a fan of Eric Stedman - and that's based purely on his Facebook "comments" on this worthy project. Never heard of him before this.
I see that Jeff has been circulating "meet the team" info on Serge, Phil & Co. Great idea and one way to minimise the damage inflicted by you-know-who!
Richard
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Re: Little Mickey Grogan (1927) - GoFundMe 2.0

PostSun Aug 28, 2016 1:12 pm

drednm wrote:MY own experience with Stedman that got me banned from his FB site says a lot. He had posted about rumors that Rudolph Valentino appeared as an extra in Patria (1917) and that Elaine Hammerstein appeared in the serial Beatrice Fairfax (1916). I spotted both actors and told him exactly where they appeared. I even confirmed with Donna Hill that the extra I thought was Valentino really was Valentino. When I posted this info on his SS page, the posting quickly disappeared and was replaced with his claiming to have pinpointed their appearances. When I questioned this, I was immediately banned.

Certainly no big deal and I'm sure many others had identified Hammerstein and Valentino, but his action speaks volumes.


Wow.

Unfortunately there seem to be dishonest egomaniacal jerks with insecurity issues in every community, even silent film collecting/restoration/appreciation.
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