Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

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R. Cat

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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostWed Apr 26, 2017 1:18 am

bigshot wrote:I put milk and berries on my serial.


Big Red Ryder fan, are ye? :wink:

Here are some screen shots from my projector. Unfortunately, my iPad washed out highlights somewhat due to the reflective quality of our Supernova screen, but visually the contrast was quite good, BD details are crisp with broad contrast range.

In places where inferior material was utilized (opening credits on the first episode for instance) the image quality is no worse than a typical DVD transfer of 16mm, but that's rare. The higher quality 35mm elements really benefit from the 4K transfer. Some scenes are so well rendered that it's hard to believe this is a 1939 film. The words eye-popping come to mind.

So, without further adieu-do (no spoilers, just credits)...

Image

Image

Image

Scenes from the actual serial will be in the next post.
Last edited by R. Cat on Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostWed Apr 26, 2017 1:34 am

Again, my iPad doesn't render the highlights well. Images aren't washed out on the screen...

Image

Image

Image

I'll try to upload a few more tomorrow, and apologies for the poor camera work. Alas, this really doesn't do justice to the actual viewed image. The PQ is much better.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostWed Apr 26, 2017 10:10 am

I watched the first chapter last night. It looks very good. The titles that involve opticals are a little fuzzy, but that is to be expected. But when it hit the chapter title that wasn't an optical, the resolution looked amazing. You can clearly see where stock footage is used (like in a cop car chase) because the image goes dupey and has scratches. In theaters this probably didn't look anywhere near this sharp and clean, so contemporary audiences wouldn't have noticed. The thing that really impressed me was the sound. There was a wide dynamic range, the music sounded full and powerful, and the speaking voices were crystal clear.

The first chapter was jam packed with fun and I was happy the kid died early on. I didn't want to have to put up with him though the whole series. Great blu-ray. I'll be buying more serials if they put them out.
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Scott Eckhardt

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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostWed Apr 26, 2017 1:59 pm

Got my copy today. We're going to watch two episodes a week so as not to overdose on it. Checked out the first couple of minutes. Looks and sounds very good. This is one of the few classic Republic serials I've never seen.
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Thad Komorowski

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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostWed Apr 26, 2017 2:53 pm

I did the digital restoration on this serial (with Bret Wood). Just about every scene change (and the opticals in the first chapter's credits) had splices that were caught in the gate and had to be fixed. And yes, there is inferior material used in some cases, but I think it still looks far better than a standard-def 16mm transfer. I'm glad the results overall, though, have proven satisfactory, as it's a wonderfully fun serial (the painfully mean-spirited Snowflake bits notwithstanding). The first chapter in particular, IMHO, is as good as anything else filmed in 1939.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu Apr 27, 2017 3:36 am

Thad Komorowski wrote:I did the digital restoration on this serial (with Bret Wood). Just about every scene change (and the opticals in the first chapter's credits) had splices that were caught in the gate and had to be fixed. And yes, there is inferior material used in some cases, but I think it still looks far better than a standard-def 16mm transfer. I'm glad the results overall, though, have proven satisfactory, as it's a wonderfully fun serial (the painfully mean-spirited Snowflake bits notwithstanding). The first chapter in particular, IMHO, is as good as anything else filmed in 1939.


So far I've watched the first 6 chapters and this serial looks exceptional. Weaker footage is rare and shouldn't diminish anyone's enjoyment. The restoration work you guys accomplished is commendable. The five star reviews of the Blu-ray on Amazon are well deserved.

Thad, did y'all work on the upcoming Adventures of Captain Marvel as well?
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu Apr 27, 2017 9:42 am

Thad Komorowski wrote:I did the digital restoration on this serial (with Bret Wood). Just about every scene change (and the opticals in the first chapter's credits) had splices that were caught in the gate and had to be fixed. And yes, there is inferior material used in some cases, but I think it still looks far better than a standard-def 16mm transfer. I'm glad the results overall, though, have proven satisfactory, as it's a wonderfully fun serial (the painfully mean-spirited Snowflake bits notwithstanding). The first chapter in particular, IMHO, is as good as anything else filmed in 1939.


I watched the first two chapters last night, and the quality was superb. When you can read the small print on the newspapers and see the details on the costumes, brother, that's clear. The disc loaded very quickly and the audio was full and robust. A cinematic experience of the Republic thrill factory at it's apex.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu Apr 27, 2017 12:23 pm

Scott Eckhardt wrote:
Thad Komorowski wrote:I did the digital restoration on this serial (with Bret Wood). Just about every scene change (and the opticals in the first chapter's credits) had splices that were caught in the gate and had to be fixed. And yes, there is inferior material used in some cases, but I think it still looks far better than a standard-def 16mm transfer. I'm glad the results overall, though, have proven satisfactory, as it's a wonderfully fun serial (the painfully mean-spirited Snowflake bits notwithstanding). The first chapter in particular, IMHO, is as good as anything else filmed in 1939.


I watched the first two chapters last night, and the quality was superb. When you can read the small print on the newspapers and see the details on the costumes, brother, that's clear. The disc loaded very quickly and the audio was full and robust. A cinematic experience of the Republic thrill factory at it's apex.


Absolutely, Scott. DoTRC is a superb action serial, not that there aren't other Republics from the 30's & 40's rising to that level. If these two ventures do well, perhaps KINO can be persuaded to make more dips into the Republic archives. What serial fan wouldn't want to see 4K transfers of Fighting Devil Dogs, Spysmasher, Crimson Ghost, Secret Service in Darkest Africa, Manhunt on Mystery Island, King of The Rocketmen, et al. Rumors abound as to whether 35mm elements exist in some form for The Drums of Fu Manchu, Lone Ranger & Lone Ranger Rides Again, Zorro's Fighting Legion and/or the four 15 chapter Dick Tracy serials.

Thad, Bret and the folks at Paramount did fabulous work here. DoTRC is a great start; hopefully we'll see many more.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu Apr 27, 2017 2:01 pm

I suggested---and our local library ordered this great release! Why not suggest your libraries buy it--it will increase sales for
serials.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu Apr 27, 2017 2:41 pm

Marr&Colton wrote:I suggested---and our local library ordered this great release! Why not suggest your libraries buy it--it will increase sales for
serials.


This is a wonderful idea, with one caveat. As Thad mentioned earlier there are a few scenes with Snowflake that many will see as racially insensitive. Those scenes are brief and given the context of the period no worse than other comic relief portrayals of African-Americans.

In no way am I suggesting that Snowflake's scenes are intentionally racist given the stature and treatment of minorities in films of the era, but even the stage name "Snowflake" is likely to draw eyerolls today. What I'm saying is that in order to make this release more widely available through public and/or school libraries a mild disclaimer might be prudent.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu Apr 27, 2017 9:01 pm

R. Cat wrote:
Marr&Colton wrote:I suggested---and our local library ordered this great release! Why not suggest your libraries buy it--it will increase sales for
serials.


This is a wonderful idea, with one caveat. As Thad mentioned earlier there are a few scenes with Snowflake that many will see as racially insensitive. Those scenes are brief and given the context of the period no worse than other comic relief portrayals of African-Americans.

In no way am I suggesting that Snowflake's scenes are intentionally racist given the stature and treatment of minorities in films of the era, but even the stage name "Snowflake" is likely to draw eyerolls today. What I'm saying is that in order to make this release more widely available through public and/or school libraries a mild disclaimer might be prudent.


When I first saw HAWK OF THE WILDERNESS, another really good Republic serial, I saw the name "Snowflake" on the credits. I thought this was a credit for an animal in the film.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostFri Apr 28, 2017 2:29 pm

Scott Eckhardt wrote:When I first saw HAWK OF THE WILDERNESS, another really good Republic serial, I saw the name "Snowflake" on the credits. I thought this was a credit for an animal in the film.


Which, really, says it all on the topic of whether they were being intentionally racist or not.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostFri Apr 28, 2017 11:59 pm

Thad Komorowski wrote:
Scott Eckhardt wrote:When I first saw HAWK OF THE WILDERNESS, another really good Republic serial, I saw the name "Snowflake" on the credits. I thought this was a credit for an animal in the film.


Which, really, says it all on the topic of whether they were being intentionally racist or not.


Snowflake was billed over Tuffie, but in the mop scene the pooch upstaged him.

I guess Tuffie had a better agent. :wink:
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostSat Apr 29, 2017 9:25 am

R. Cat wrote:
precode wrote:
Well, it's certain not my intention to impart erroneous information. Most of my research was derived from Jack Mathis' books, and I assume he knew what he was writing about.

Mike S.


I'm confident that your knowledge and research will add greatly to this release.

Misinterpreting your self-deprecating bon mot as sincere criticism elicited my well intentioned response to Paul's comment. Alas, board monikers rarely provide insight into who is talking to whom.

My sincerest apology, Mike.


So noted, and apology not necessary. :wink:

Mike S.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostSat Apr 29, 2017 9:36 pm

Starting the day the disc arrived I had been watching a chapter or two per night, but the cliff-hanging endings were getting so intense that I finally had to binge-watch the last seven chapters and then re-watch the four episodes with Mike's commentary, finishing late Thursday night. It's a very enjoyable and action-packed crime adventure that after getting off to a rousing start may have a few plot holes, but skillfully manages to balance some real suspense and impressive effects with campy heroics, secret panels, clever disguises, and inevitable comic relief. Interestingly chapter 11 is the recap chapter of flashbacks to earlier episodes, instead of chapters 8, 9, or 10 as seems more common. It's also fun to note the car license plates advertising the 1939 California World's Fair, and there are plenty of car chases nicely filmed outdoors, besides all the expected fisticuffs that seem to happen every few minutes after the first episode. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the best serial of all time as some have asserted, but anyone who likes serials should like DAREDEVILS OF THE RED CIRCLE.

Mike's entertaining commentary is spread across episodes 1, 4, 9, and 12, providing lots of background on the cast and crew while setting the occasional bits of racial stereotype humor into context with a bit of information about the actor Fred "Snowflake" Toones. The boxcover claims there are also trailers as bonus features, but none are to be found on the disc through the menus (unless they are hidden "Easter eggs" that I couldn't find). The picture quality on Kino's Blu-ray looks like it's going to be just average and rather soft, looking about like a DVD, as Chapter 1 begins, but after the opening credits the quality becomes outstanding throughout the vast majority of the remaining film, except for a few very brief segments, chapter re-caps, and obvious process shots. Mostly it looks like it was shot yesterday, and uses relatively few obvious rear-projection shots (keeping them short so they're less noticeable), unlike a number of other Republic pictures (like, for example, DAKOTA).
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostMon May 01, 2017 11:15 am

I just finished watching the last chapter Friday. I have to say I had never seen this serial before but I knew anything with Charles Middleton in it has to be good, and it was! What a fantastic fast paced plot, it had minimal repeat recaps for each episode and the action was non-stop. Beautiful print. Thanks to all involved!
Last edited by Tracy on Thu May 04, 2017 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostTue May 02, 2017 1:02 am

I'm so very glad to see Kino Lorber continuing the venerable tradition of assigning DVD commentaries to people with superficial knowledge of the films they're discussing. With very little effort they could have procured the services of someone who, in addition to having written extensively about Republic product and published several books on serials, had interviewed Red Circle's co-director, head writer, and two of the three Daredevils. Someone who, by the way, could easily have provided enough commentary to back all 12 episodes.

Having said this, I'm sure Michael Schlesinger did a scintillating job of regurgitating facts uncovered by Jack Mathis and others. He's quite a gifted speaker.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostTue May 02, 2017 10:25 am

No one really listens to commentaries more than once at most. People who make great movies generally do more interesting commentary tracks. I'm more interested in them than I am armchair experts to be honest. But if someone has a lot of information on a particular subject, I think writing a book would be more productive than talking over a movie. Whining about not being picked to be a part of the reindeer games and down talking the person who was is kind of lame.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu May 04, 2017 2:10 am

I've been looking for professional reviews with screen-shots to link here as my projected screen-shots taken with my iPad don't do justice to the actual viewing experience. In the meantime, here's a link to the first film-site review I've come across for Daredevils of The Red Circle:

http://www.dvddrive-in.com/reviews/a-d/daredevilsofredcircleblu39.htm

Thumbs up to NitrateVille for that awesome logo with Charles Middleton. Well done! :D
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu May 04, 2017 3:10 pm

Thad Komorowski wrote:I did the digital restoration on this serial (with Bret Wood). Just about every scene change (and the opticals in the first chapter's credits) had splices that were caught in the gate and had to be fixed.


I saw that movement on every shot change as well.

Having worked on the nitrate I can tell you that very high shrinkage in all the reels of the negative is what caused the "splice bump" on the shot changes.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu May 04, 2017 7:11 pm

Jim Harwood wrote:
Thad Komorowski wrote:I did the digital restoration on this serial (with Bret Wood). Just about every scene change (and the opticals in the first chapter's credits) had splices that were caught in the gate and had to be fixed.


I saw that movement on every shot change as well.

Having worked on the nitrate I can tell you that very high shrinkage in all the reels of the negative is what caused the "splice bump" on the shot changes.


Thanks, Jim. "Splice bump" was what was used to describe the flaw to me, and I figured there was serious shrinkage.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostThu May 04, 2017 7:13 pm

bigshot wrote:No one really listens to commentaries more than once at most. People who make great movies generally do more interesting commentary tracks. I'm more interested in them than I am armchair experts to be honest. But if someone has a lot of information on a particular subject, I think writing a book would be more productive than talking over a movie. Whining about not being picked to be a part of the reindeer games and down talking the person who was is kind of lame.


No one cares.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostFri May 05, 2017 12:26 pm

I've heard plenty of great commentary tracks by authors and historians. The best ones involve research and preplanning.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostFri May 05, 2017 1:46 pm

silentfilm wrote:I've heard plenty of great commentary tracks by authors and historians. The best ones involve research and preplanning.


I agree with this, Bruce. Thad is also correct, in that folks who bother to rewatch with commentaries tend to do so once and then the commentaries are rarely listened to again.

IMO, what's most important is the film. Thad and Bret did an excellent job. Michael's commentary covers what is needed and he has the Hollywood credentials. Snagging legendary filmmakers for commentaries, or author Ed Hulse for that matter ...all of whom profess a passion for classic cliffhangers... would it have made the print any better?

As someone who has worked in film and a longtime fan of this genre, I'm persuaded that we should applaud efforts to bring us quality product. Projects like this provide a future for serials through Hi-Rez transfers. Deteriating 35mm nitrate negatives need to be preserved and restored. Extras are nice, but they're icing on the proverbial cake. This is just my opinion and I certainly respect the varied mileage of others.

The only promised extra mentioned that's missing from this release are serial trailers. If there are Easter eggs, I haven't found 'em, but this is no big deal. I suspect the distributor was up against a scheduled release date and those extras weren't ready at the time the label was printed. Maybe bonus trailers will be included with the Captain Marvel serial or some future release if more serials are licensed.

The shrinkage issue Jim mentioned should be of concern to serial fans as it's likely that there are a number of wonderful Republic serial negatives stored away facing similar issues. From the information I've been able to glean on this, it's doubtful that the rights holder has much interest in investing capital to restore these for future release. Apparently that will be up to the licensee. The clock is ticking.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostFri May 05, 2017 8:31 pm

I'd much rather have a nice booklet with a concise, organized essay that I can read at my leisure with the TV off. I'm not big on people talking over the top of movies, and it's inconvenient to have to re-watch what I just finished watching. Or worse yet, if I listen to the commentary first to help put the film in context, I see a bunch of spoilers on the screen. I think that commentaries are an archaic holdover from the laserdisc era that really aren't needed now. I can get better info from the internet or books.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostFri May 05, 2017 9:01 pm

bigshot wrote:I'd much rather have a nice booklet with a concise, organized essay that I can read at my leisure with the TV off. I'm not big on people talking over the top of movies, and it's inconvenient to have to re-watch what I just finished watching. Or worse yet, if I listen to the commentary first to help put the film in context, I see a bunch of spoilers on the screen. I think that commentaries are an archaic holdover from the laserdisc era that really aren't needed now. I can get better info from the internet or books.


I only listen to a commentary if I've first seen the film. I may listen once, and then that's it. I have listened to commentaries by the stars of '60s sitcom pilot episodes (I DREAM OF JEANNIE and MISTER ED) because these were the star's recollections of the filming. But feature length commentaries by scholars I find tedious.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostSat May 06, 2017 2:10 pm

I like to read the essay printed in the booklet before I watch the film to give me context. After I've seen the film, I usually don't need info on the film. I might read a biography on the makers though. I can only think of one or two commentary tracks I thought were worthwhile. I was asked to do one once, but I declined. They interviewed me for a talking head video instead, but they chopped up my comments into individual sentences and sprinkled them in with a bunch of totally different comments by other people, so nothing I said communicated any more. No way to prevent that sort of thing. Books and articles give writers the opportunity to organize their thoughts and present them clearly. Home video supplements are like putting facts in a blender and pushing the puree button.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostSat May 06, 2017 3:03 pm

R. Cat wrote:
silentfilm wrote:I've heard plenty of great commentary tracks by authors and historians. The best ones involve research and preplanning.


I agree with this, Bruce. Thad is also correct, in that folks who bother to rewatch with commentaries tend to do so once and then the commentaries are rarely listened to again.


Not I who said that. But I agree with you and Bruce. If you're going to only play the commentary once, they better make it really good. The best classic film commentaries tend to be a roundtable, with several well-informed experts or people who worked on the film [either present-day or via archival audio] talking. (I'm talking about feature-length commentaries here, because I don't think one person talking could sustain a whole movie's length.) The worst are some of those seen on the Warner-produced animation sets. Lots of uninformed fans who didn't bother to do any research beforehand, some of them even bringing in whatever girl they were fucking at the time just for laughs. Those are so embarrassing they purposely redid one of the commentaries on a later set with the people who should've been recorded in the first place.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostSun May 07, 2017 8:41 am

One I had the hardest time with was Mel Brooks' commentary on Young Frankenstein. He starts telling a story, then halfway through sees something on the screen that reminds him of something else so he starts talking about that. Don't think he ever finished a story. He was funny, but I still found it maddening.
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Re: Daredevils of The Red Circle coming on Blu-ray...

PostSun May 07, 2017 8:56 am

Thad Komorowski wrote:
Not I who said that. But I agree with you and Bruce. If you're going to only play the commentary once, they better make it really good. The best classic film commentaries tend to be a roundtable, with several well-informed experts or people who worked on the film [either present-day or via archival audio] talking. (I'm talking about feature-length commentaries here, because I don't think one person talking could sustain a whole movie's length.) The worst are some of those seen on the Warner-produced animation sets. Lots of uninformed fans who didn't bother to do any research beforehand, some of them even bringing in whatever girl they were fucking at the time just for laughs. Those are so embarrassing they purposely redid one of the commentaries on a later set with the people who should've been recorded in the first place.


Attribution duly noted, Thad. Bigshot made the assertion and you responded "No one cares." For whatever reason, my mental shorthand connected the two.

Wow, those Warner cartoon commentaries must've been a hoot! Porky stuttering "That's All Folks" at the end would be anticlimactic to say the least. :lol:

Seriously, ...and I'm aware that you guys may be limited as to what you can discuss about ongoing projects..., hopefully you and Bret are involved in the upcoming Captain Marvel 4K restoration KINO has scheduled for release in June. It would be gangbusters if other Republic serials are licensed for Blu-ray distribution while there are still restorable elements available. Fingers crossed.

Jim Reid wrote:One I had the hardest time with was Mel Brooks' commentary on Young Frankenstein. He starts telling a story, then halfway through sees something on the screen that reminds him of something else so he starts talking about that. Don't think he ever finished a story. He was funny, but I still found it maddening.


Mornin' Jim. Still lament missing last night's screening. How'd the showing go?

We're still at the Dallas Writer's Conference. Been busy here. Rox gives her keynote address after lunch today.

Cheers,
Cat
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