F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

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PhilipS

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F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre

PostTue Jun 29, 2010 2:07 am

This somewhat notorious reviewer of lost films seems to have come to a sticky end.

http://www.locusmag.com/News/2010/06/f-gwynplaine-mcintyre-apparently-dead-in-suicide/
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Penfold

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 2:49 am

You wouldn't wish that end on anyone......
I could use some digital restoration myself...
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Jack Theakston

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 3:06 am

EDIT: Found a NY Daily News article about this.

Bizarre.
Last edited by Jack Theakston on Tue Jun 29, 2010 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Arndt

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 6:18 am

Am I the only one thinking Kilgore Trout here?
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Jim Roots

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 6:39 am

You may not be the only one here thinking Kilgore Trout, but you almost certainly are not the only one here thinking cynically that this notorious fake has probably also faked his death. It would be consistent with the lies and hoaxes that filled his life.


Jim
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Jack Theakston

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 6:59 am

I posted as much, but have retracted that statement until more information comes forward.

If the story is true, it's not only sad that the man took his life, but felt that he had to do it in such a dramatic way that it might endanger the life of others living in the same building.

Suspiciously, the only paper that I've seen that has covered this is the Daily News, which is coincidentally the same newspaper as you-know-who worked for.
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Mike Gebert

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 7:05 am

I knew, distantly, someone who was suspected of having done the same thing. Someone who knew him better said "If anyone I ever knew would have faked his own death, it would have been him." But it certainly appears that he really did meet the end indicated; nothing in 15 years since has contradicted the initial reports.
“Sentimentality is when it doesn't come off—when it does, you get a true expression of life's sorrows.” —Alain-Fournier
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Jack Theakston

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 7:47 am

You know, after reading that article, I thought to myself "what a terrible idea for a film... how could you top that?" Then, in looking up Mr. Runte, he apparently answered me from beyond the grave by having co-written the SUPER MARIO BROTHERS movie.
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 8:00 am

Truly bizarre.... I've read his IMDb reviews of lost films and wondered, but had no idea he was a published writer....
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 8:15 am

Last edited by Scoundrel on Tue Jun 29, 2010 8:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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drednm

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 8:31 am

In several places on the internet McIntyre seemed to be saying goodbye, for instance on IMDB, where a review of the new version of Metropolis posted on June 24th stated, “Nitrate film stock doesn’t last forever, and all good things come to a happy ending. This is my last review here.”
Ed Lorusso
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rogerskarsten

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 9:23 am

Shocking news, and quite sad. I just had a look at some of his last IMDb reviews, in which he claims to have already gained access to the recently recovered MAYTIME and UPSTREAM.

Apparently he intended to go the same way as so much nitrate film stock.

~Roger
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 10:50 am

His, as he called it "alleged" website has no news, at least at a quick glance.
http://www.sff.net/people/fgwyn/
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silentfilm

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 11:16 am

I never met the guy, but I corresponded with him by email for several years. I first contacted him because I read several of his reviews of lost Raymond Griffith films on the IMDB and I wanted to know how he had seen them. He told me tales of a secret nitrate collector who would let him watch a horde of nitrate on a movieola. And that was how he was able to review so many films.

Of course I already knew that everybody thought he was making up his reviews. I even asked him about it more than once, and he would point out that he had written many IMDB reviews of films that he had seen at festivals and repertory theaters. He always thought that he was doing a service reviewing films for the IMDB and said more than once that he did it "without being paid." Of course everybody else who writes a review on the IMDB does not get paid either, but he was a professional writer so he must have felt it was a sacrifice.

He always said that he didn't care what people thought of him, but I'm certain that he regularly read all of the alt.movies.silent postings about him. If you read his wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F._Gwynplaine_MacIntyre), it is obvious that he wrote most of it! I asked him several times to explain his "reclusive collector" story on alt.movies.silent, but he never would.

It's been at least a year since we exchanged an email. It was hard for me to think of much to say to keep up an email conversation with someone whom I suspected was a fraud. I was trying to do the Christian thing and assume that he wasn't a fraudster, but the sheer number of "lost" films that he reviewed made that impossible. Still, several times a year he would email me asking if I had seen something that TCM premiered.

His Wikipedia page used to have a biography on it (which he wrote), but it has been deleted. I do remember that he had been abandoned by his parents and had grown up an orphan. He must have had a hard life, and his science fiction stories and movie reviews came from his very fertile imagination.

Here's a link to the NY Post story:
http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/06/26/2010-06-26_kills_himself_in_apt_blaze.html


Depressed Brooklyn man kills himself by setting fire to his apartment

By Ryan Lavis
DAILY NEWS WRITER

Saturday, June 26th 2010, 4:00 AM

A Brooklyn man suffering from depression killed himself by setting fire to his apartment Friday, police sources said.

The 59-year-old victim had been telling his Bensonhurst neighbors he no longer wanted to live. On Thursday, he was taken to Coney Island Hospital after police learned he had e-mailed someone close to him a goodbye letter, sources said.

It was not immediately clear why he was released from the hospital. The next morning, fire officials said, the man set two fires inside his cluttered 70th St. apartment and was found dead.

A woman in an apartment above his was treated at Maimonides Medical Center for smoke inhalation. Police were withholding the dead man's name pending notification of family members.
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 11:38 am

As I have noted here and on AMS, I have met Mr. McIntyre at science fiction conventions and at various movie screenings about the city. If you take a look at the IMDB, you will see we wrote reviews of the Arbuckle film THE ROUND-UP on the same day; we were both at MOMA for that screening and shared a cab downtown afterwards. While I am skeptical of his claims of having worked for a mysterious millionaire film collector, I have never found it necessary to call him a liar -- nor to borrow money from him, although on a few occasions we disagreed about what actually happened in a movie -- check my review of WOMANHANDLED and he wrote me that he had seen an 'Australian' print that differed substantially. Well, it's possible.

Another time he wrote to comment that my surprise at how poor a movie with a Jo Swerling script was ill-placed, since Swerling was, in Mr. McIntyre's opinion, a very minor talent that was associated with some major ones.

I am not sure what Mr. McIntyre thought he was doing with his IMDB reviews, but it is possible that he was operating out of contemporary sources and movie reviews and hoped to fill in the details, like several of the comments I have found for the Talmadge sisters' films (the ones I am thinking of make it clear they have not seen the films in question, but somehow they get better ratings than my reviews -- and I have seen them, thanks to Joe Yransky's efforts at the Donnelly and now the Library for Performing Arts). I do know that Mr. McIntyre was pretty knowledgeable about vaudeville and music hall performers -- at least more knowledgeable than I am.

Whatever his motives, he was fond of these old movies and liked to see them when they showed up -- we last held a nice bit of a wrangle over the recent showing of HULDA FROM HOLLAND in which he twitted my impressions of the flick -- quite properly, too.

Roger, Rollo, I consider your remarks in poor taste.

Bob
Last edited by boblipton on Tue Jun 29, 2010 12:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 11:57 am

My remarks were not intended to be in poor taste at all. The website itself is called "The Alleged.." I assumed that there might be some kind of notice from the webmaster or other persons who had access to it, that's all I meant.
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Arndt

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 12:18 pm

There are so few of us silent film enthusiasts around that I mourn the passing of each one of us.
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 12:29 pm

boblipton wrote:Whatever his motives, he was fond of these old movies and liked to see them when they showed up -- we last held a nice bit of a wrangle over the recent showing of HULDA FROM HOLLAND in which he twitted my impressions of the flick -- quite properly, too.

Roger, Rollo, I consider your remarks in poor taste.

Bob


Bob, if this story is genuine, I too am sorry, I would not wish that kind of despair on anyone. I don't think that anything Roger or Tim said was uncaring or in bad taste. Despite Mr. McIntyre's abilities and fondness for old movies, he also had a problem with attention-seeking behavior, a problem which is consistent with the manner of his suicide.
Fred
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 12:40 pm

I wrote several times to McIntyre asking where he had seen specific films (I wanted to see them also) but he never responded to me, probably thinking I was challenging him.

I must admit that a huge number of the films he reviewed on IMDb are films I've never heard of, but here and there he commented on films I have seen. I cannot remember that, in these instances, his comments were far off the mark.

He apparently died on the 25th although the news story is dated the 28th....
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 2:04 pm

Depression is a terrible thing, so is deception and disregard. Mr. Macyntyre possessed all of these. I believe people such as he reveal far more in their writings than they know. In his bio he states 1 thing that I finally believe to be true.

1 - I collect the fragments of time that other people throw away

I believe that to be the only non-fiction he ever wrote. His film reviews, his bio, etc I believe were all made up from someone who lived sadly inside his mind rather than in the real world.
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 2:14 pm

I'm posting this from his website in case it is taken down soon...
http://www.sff.net/people/fgwyn/faq.htm

• You’ve reviewed a lot of movies for IMDb.com. Have you really seen all those movies?

Almost all, but not all of them. In a very few instances, I’ve reviewed a movie which I haven’t seen, such as Convention City or George M. Cohan’s movie Gambling. (Both of these movies were deliberately destroyed, and they likely no longer exist.) Whenever I’ve reviewed a movie without seeing it, I SAY SO in the review, and I explain what sources my review is based upon. If there’s no disclaimer in the review, then I’ve seen at least one version of the movie, or at least a partial version. The dates on my reviews ONLY indicate when I posted the review, not when I saw the film. In some cases, even if I’ve posted a review recently, I may have seen the movie as much as 40 years ago . . . and it might no longer be available in the condition it was when I viewed it.

Even though I’ve watched thousands of movies, I actually spend more time reading books than viewing films. For one thing, I can speed-read a book without losing comprehension or pleasure: it’s difficult to enjoy a movie while Fast-Forwarding it, especially if the movie has a soundtrack. But if I watch a silent movie through a Steenbeck viewer and I crank it faster than projection speed, I can still read all the intertitles and enjoy the full story in only half the running time!

• How do you get to see so many obscure movies?

Unlike those idiots who see Star Wars or Rocky Horror Picture Show 28,000 times and then think this is something to brag about, I almost never watch a movie twice. This gives me more time to see movies I’ve never seen before.

I make a point of seeking out (and tracking down) movies which hardly anyone has seen, or at least which hardly anyone has seen lately. The world doesn’t need one more poncy critique of It’s a Wonderful Life or Citizen Kane. (Yank readers: for ‘poncy’, please substitute ‘fancy-shmancy’.)

I’m fortunate to possess the time and resources to be able to travel. I’m willing and able to travel thousands of miles to view a scratchy print at a local film festival or in a private collector’s archive (in a time and place of the collector’s convenience, not my own convenience) if that’s what it takes to see the movie. Because I’m a journalist, I can offset some of my travel expenses by writing an article about something I encountered on the same journey, then selling the article to a publisher and defraying my travel costs as a business expense. (Thank you, Inland Revenue.)

Because the rare and obscure movies that I want to see seldom show up at my neighbourhood Rank Odious megaplex, I have to travel to where the movies are. In this photo (that’s me on the left, seen through a wide-angle lens), I look like I’m dressed for the Henley Regatta (among other things), but I’m actually attending Le Giornate de Cinema Muto, the annual October silent-film festival in northern Italy (recently returned to the beautiful town of Pordenone after several years in nearby Sacile). The gent in the necktie is one of my idols: film-maker, author and historian Kevin Brownlow, who has done more than any other living person to renew public interest in the early days of film in general and silent-film comedy in particular. There are usually two or three other local film festivals running near Pordenone the week before Le Giornate, so I can see dozens of rare films in a single trip . . . and the annual Times/BFI Festival is in London the following week! Because I’m willing to go where the films are, I’m able to see movies that aren’t on DVD at your local Crockbuster Video.

The photo above was taken by Hugh Munro Neely, who is a brilliant documentary film-maker despite the fact that he’s also a friend of mine. Hugh shot this photo with my rubbishy camera, but most people bring their own equipment when attempting to shoot me.

• Some of the old movies you claim you’ve seen are lost. What’s going on?

I would well and truly love to meet this bloody wanker so-called ‘expert’ who gets to decide which movies are ‘lost’. On his day off, he probably visits the parents of missing children to tell them their kids are dead and never coming back.

For one thing, a gratifyingly large number of so-called ‘lost’ movies have been found again, often in a nation other than where they originated. Unfortunately, this can’t carry on indefinitely: almost all movie prints before the mid-1950s were developed on nitrate stock, which is inherently unstable. Sometimes, even a reel of film which has been gently put into an airtight canister and carefully stored on a shelf might still spontaneously deteriorate into nitrate vinegar soup.

Very often, a so-called ‘lost’ film turns out merely to have been mislaid. For decades, archivists at the Library of Congress hoped to discover a print of the 1926 film You Never Know Women. They finally discovered one . . . in a storage room at the Library of Congress. For many years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (the people who give out those lovely statuettes) have tried to get film-lovers involved in tracking down lost films. I wonder if ‘Oscar’ remembered to thank the Academy when somebody found a pristine print (with the last reel missing) of the 1927 movie Sorrell and Son . . . in a filing cabinet at the Academy, where it had apparently been sitting since 1927! A print of the earliest known Lon Chaney film (Poor Jake’s Demise) turned up in England in 2006: it was ‘lost’ for so long because somebody had misidentified it as a movie starring Charley Bowers, an actor who didn’t look like Chaney and wasn’t even in the film!

I’m aware of a trove of old German and Hungarian films which were stolen by the Red Army during World War Two and brought to the Soviet Union, where they were simply left to rot in the cellar of a church near Uzkoe until fairly recently: films which were certainly mislaid, but which still exist because they were (mostly) found before they deteriorated altogether. Those films are now in safe hands, and are undergoing restoration.

One reason I’m able to see so-called ‘lost’ films is because film archivists don’t always share their information with each other. I had the privilege of befriending the late William K. Everson, a major film scholar and owner of an extensive private collection of rare films. In 1988, I attended a screening for the Theodore Huff Memorial Film Society at which Mr Everson screened his personal print of the 1928 film The First Born; he told everyone present that this was the last existing print of the film. During the screening, one reel of his nitrate print caught fire and two other reels were damaged by the projector’s sprockets. In 1999, after Bill Everson’s death, I learnt that the British Film Institute possess an excellent intact print of The First Born: apparently they were unaware of William K. Everson’s print and he was unaware of BFI’s. Now, if major film scholars and archivists aren’t aware of each other’s respective holdings, how can anyone state with certainty that a particular movie no longer exists?

At several public screenings which I attended (along with hundreds of other people), Mr Everson screened movies that were so rare and obscure that they aren’t even listed on IMDb’s website. I can name these films and describe them, but anyone who uses IMDb as their authority will claim that these movies are so ‘lost’ they never existed in the first place!

For several decades, when a release print of a movie reached the end of its original exhibition circuit, and its producers no longer expected to make more money from it, they often (not always, but often) no longer cared what happened to the release print. When this happened, sometimes those reels of film were acquired by private individuals who eventually sold them to collectors.

At least two major film studios (M.G.M. and Paramount) have usually been quite vigilant in tracking the movements of all legitimate prints of their films, and retrieving these at the end of their exhibition circuits. If MGM or Paramount no longer possess a vault copy of one of their own films, the chances are that nobody else has a copy either. But there are exceptions.

Occasionally a release print was ‘bicycled’. During the movie’s original release, after a cinema finished its last late-night screening one night during its exhibition run, an unscrupulous exhibitor arranged to courier the reels of film to a nearby processing lab, where an unauthorised duplicate print was made without the consent of the movie’s copyright holders. The authorised release print was then rushed back to the cinema in time for the next day’s matinee screening. In recent years, I’ve had occasional dealings with a private individual whose grandfather — during the 1930s and earlier — obtained illegal duplicate prints of a significant number of movies, during their original release dates, by precisely this method. Because those ‘bicycled’ prints were (imperfectly) stored and preserved, they have survived even if the release prints from which they were duplicated are no longer preserved by the film companies that originally released them. Experience has taught me that an intelligent search for a specific ‘lost’ film will often either locate the film itself, or will locate clear evidence of its eventual fate.
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 3:43 pm

It was not my intent to make light of this man's suicide; I apologize if my comment came across in poor taste. I was simply struck by the wording of some of Mr. McIntyre's own final reviews posted on the IMDb. Here is what he wrote in his review of MAYTIME regarding the repatriation of the films from New Zealand (a similar if not identical paragraph appears in his review for UPSTREAM):

"Because the highly unstable nitrate film stock can't wait, the U.N. have granted permission for these dangerously combustible films to be shipped from New Zealand for conversion and image transfer at several Stateside locations. Since I can't wait either, I've been able to audit the restoration process of some of these, including 'Maytime'."

And in his final review, of METROPOLIS:

"Nitrate film stock doesn't last forever, and all good things come to a happy ending. This is my last review here."

Is he not making an analogy between the transient nature of the film medium and his own life? As a writer, he surely was conscious of this, and I feel he probably even saw some poetry in choosing to depart from this world in such a way.

May he rest in peace.

~Roger
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Jim Roots

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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 6:15 pm

When I read the line, "The gent in the necktie is one of my heroes ... Kevin Brownlow", my first thought was: "There's a necktie out there with Kevin's picture on it? Where can I get one of those?"

Seriously though, it would be a nice gesture of appreciation if someone were to create a tie featuring Kevin and sell copies of it at the fests. I'm sure he'd be both amused and touched. And the money it raises could go towards film restoration.

Jim
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PostTue Jun 29, 2010 6:55 pm

Jim Roots wrote:When I read the line, "The gent in the necktie is one of my heroes ... Kevin Brownlow", my first thought was: "There's a necktie out there with Kevin's picture on it? Where can I get one of those?"


Sorry, Jim. I was going to copy the photo also, but it was huge and didn't display correctly. If you click on the link to his FAQ webpage, you can see the photo.
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PostWed Jun 30, 2010 12:18 am

Jim Roots wrote: Seriously though, it would be a nice gesture of appreciation if someone were to create a tie featuring Kevin and sell copies of it at the fests. I'm sure he'd be both amused and touched. And the money it raises could go towards film restoration.Jim


I'd buy one!
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drednm

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PostWed Jun 30, 2010 6:58 am

I would guess the tie would be more likely than a special Oscar...
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Ed Hulse

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PostWed Jun 30, 2010 7:53 am

I e-mailed this character some years ago after reading his IMDb comments on the silent GREEN ARCHER, which he claimed to have seen and about which he clearly knew something. But his reply convinced me that he was shamming. In the first place, he claimed to have seen a 16mm print of this long-lost serial. In the second place, he claimed to have seen it at the apartment of Herb Graff, whom he described as "a retired film producer and multi-millionaire." That convinced me he was a total fraud.
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Frederica

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PostWed Jun 30, 2010 9:55 am

Ed Hulse wrote:I e-mailed this character some years ago after reading his IMDb comments on the silent GREEN ARCHER, which he claimed to have seen and about which he clearly knew something. But his reply convinced me that he was shamming. In the first place, he claimed to have seen a 16mm print of this long-lost serial. In the second place, he claimed to have seen it at the apartment of Herb Graff, whom he described as "a retired film producer and multi-millionaire." That convinced me he was a total fraud.


With me it was the portable Steenbeck. Technophobic I may be, but even I caught that.

The odd thing about Mr. McIntyre's reviews is that if he'd just stated that he what he was writing was based on contemporary reviews and descriptions, and that the films were lost, he would have been providing a useful and interesting (if a bit odd) service. But it seems the con was important to him. Like most cons, he never seemed to twig why people were so angered, or that what he was doing was profoundly insulting to people who slaved to do good work.
Fred
"Every revelation you make is an illusion; so far, no one has succeeded in knowing you. Your white pumps literally go with any outfit."
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drednm

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PostWed Jun 30, 2010 10:04 am

OK I'll bite.... what's wrong with the mention of the Steenbeck?
Ed Lorusso
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http://www.amazon.com/Edward-Lorusso/e/ ... 203&sr=8-1
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