Diving Into SoMa/Folsom: Hamburger Mary's

By Will Seagers
 
Original Hamburger Mary's exterior

Original Hamburger Mary's, SF

 

Where do I begin with telling the tales and memories of this iconic Folsom area locale?

First, I'll do my best to recount my presence and involvement at Hamburger Mary's. And, it is going to come from a very personal standpoint... I literally "lived there" for most of my thirteen-year relationship with my first partner Tom Beebe. He was one of the "original family" that started this restaurant back in 1972.

 

Tommy in leather jacket

Tom Beebe

 

My first and sort of vague recollection of the place was having one of their legendary hamburgers after a night out prowling around the Folsom/SoMa area and its countless bars. This, by the way, was just before meeting Tommy. So, my view of the place was detached. Nonetheless, I was fully awestruck! Upon entering, I immediately felt like I was on the set of an Andy Warhol or John Waters movie. In the well-orchestrated chaos of the place was a waitstaff of latter day hippies, drag queens and some of the most colorful people (in a very colorful town!). All offered a friendly and slightly crazed welcoming feel!

 

Patron hanging out in original Hamburger Mary's doorway

Hamburger Mary's

 

Keep in mind this was late 1976. So, Baghdad by the Bay was in full swing in terms of wild sexuality and frivolity. What I was wearing I thought was a propos for the area and the night (leather - vest and chaps)... It turned out I was too tame. I wore 501s under the chaps! LOL. Hanging out at Sissy's Saloon (the bar connected and to the right of the restaurant proper) were all sorts of barely clad men and women - the men NOT wearing the 501s that I had just mentioned! And, it did not turn a single head! It was just standard operating dress at this time.

One of the cornerstones of the place was the food... always predictably good! From the legendary hamburgers (meatless to meaty) to scores of salads and homemade soups. Remember, this was also a representation of left-over hippie macrobiotic and vegetarian fare! Speaking of soup... the young lady who first started at 18 as one one the "soup crafters," Rose, went on to become manager and owner of this enterprise. She and Tommy were very close and remained friends for years.

One of the other cornerstones was the eccentricity of the appearance of the restaurant, itself. The walls were plastered with lots of local art and photos. One photo of note was of my Tommy's butt in 501s with a waiter's order pad in a back pocket that said "Thank You!" The tables were doors from Victorian homes of late. No two chairs in the pace matched... nor did the "china." And, one of my favorite touches was the milk or half & half placed on each table in a glass baby bottle complete with a nipped off nipple for easy dispensing. Another part that I really enjoyed were all of the exotic plants around the place. The legendary "Artista" took care of them and supplied the place with her artwork, as well. There was never any one star in either the staff or the guests... it was a collective! 

How I met Tommy:
Little did I know that he was a big porn fan of mine until his arrival in December of 1976 at Trinity Place. I was offered a job there by Chuck Holmes (of Falcon fame) back on Fire Island at the end of the 1976 Summer. I accepted the job and gleefully moved to San Francisco with a troop of other folks from Fire Island.

So back to Trinity Place:
In walks Tommy with his close friend Chrysler and they prop themselves up prominently at the bar. He was the cutest guy with the most dazzling brown eyes and smile. He orders up and, upon paying for the drinks, lays out a beautiful fine gold chain (along with a whopping tip!). At the end of his stay he invited me to come see where he "worked!" Later on that day we made our way down to Hamburger Mary's!

 

Will and Tommy

Will and Tommy (L), Tommy (R)

 

I could easily write a porn script around the first night we spent together. Suffice it to say, it was hotter than hot... I remember tearing off his clothes and tossing them on a coffee table. Under the glass top of this coffee table was a recent centerfold of me. (Who says "You Can't Always Get What You Want"!?) Within a month or so we were living together in our little "Mouse Palace" apartment on 10th St. near Howard. We remained there for thirteen years in the SoMa neighborhood well before it became chic. BTW, this was the Hamburger Mary's house... employees lived in four of the twelve apartments, including the Super of the building, Gregory. He is pictured below with his legendary red ponytail. That building was a hoot!

 

Painting of original Hamburger Mary's exterior

Painting of orignal Hamburger Mary's (Gregory in doorway)

 

Also, "Mary's" was know for music. Their DJ booth was at the end of the bar just before a small game room. The two DJs were Tess, whose fare was classic rock, and Lee, whose forte was disco and new wave music. Every once in a while I would venture into the booth and play a mini-set. They both encouraged me to enter into the music world. I started my musical life soon after. My main musical attachment to Mary's was being their sound tech. Although the system sounded good with its JBL speakers and McIntosh tube amps, the playing console needed an update. With my connections in N.Y., I brought in a UREI mixer, Technics Quartz Lock turntables and Stanton cartridges. The sound system really popped and my DJ friends appreciated the new detail in the audio. While doing Mary's sound I was invited by Jimmy, the manager of The Stud (just across the street) to come and be their sound guy.

This is where I part from Mary's. Next episode will center on The Stud whose fame and history spanned not only the decades but two locations!

 

Exterior of The Stud, SF

The Stud, SF

Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms
Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me
Becoming Invisible
The Reverse Story of Dorian Gray
Pin Money
One Organ Leads to Another! Part 1
The Wheels of Steel
Feast and Famine: The 1970s to the 1980s
An Alphabet Soup of Powders and Pills
Merry Christmas (and Getting Re-Organized)
Now and Then
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: The Badlands
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: Moby Dick Bar
DEEP INSIDE THE CASTRO: "Just Another Stroll Down the Castro!"

 

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Pin Money

By Will Seagers

 

I have always considered my excursion into the porn business as one of sex and pleasure (and some notoriety), and not one of great financial gains. It WAS always a great deal of fun to make porn - whether it be print or film. Most people involved were there to create a medium that was intended to make the viewer have fun!

When I first started, it was in print medium - mags, calendars and the like. Names like Man's Image, Target and Falcon are first to come to mind. Not much money was to be gotten from these adventures. I didn't complain - I figured out rather quickly from my first few shoots what the going rates were for the more notable studios. So, I called it my "Pin Money."

 

Will Seagers in a Man's Image calendar & on the cover of the first issue of Playguy

Will Seagers in a Man's Image calendar & on the cover of the first issue of Playguy

 
1978 Target calendar & a Target magazine from a shoot for Bullet's Cowpokes

1978 Target calendar & a Target magazine in connection with Bullet's Cowpokes

 

Now, being that this was not nearly enough money to support myself, (especially living in the fair city of San Francisco), I always kept myself gainfully employed with what I called my regular job, as well. I worked in several gyms and gay clubs in town over the years. In terms of the clubs, I always wanted to play music. So, one of my first outlays with the pin money was for a pair of turntables, a mixer and a modest sound system. All of this was for the purpose of teaching myself how to be a DJ. It started off with making cassette tapes for friends and "getting the word out!" The pin money and odd jobs helped me scrape enough together to buy a fairly recent model FIAT 124 Spider!

 

Fiat 124 Spider and Will's following car, a Peugeot 504 Fiat 124 Spider and Will's following car, a Peugeot 504
 
Turntable and mixer

Will's first turntable and mixer

 

I had the unique fortune to be reaching a high point in my porn career at the same time. (Don't think I didn't I didn't use that to my advantage!) So, when I showed up with my demo tape of my music in person... sometimes the tape was never even heard! I played at a couple of noteworthy establishments in San Francisco's Castro District - namely The Badlands, the Phoenix and finally Moby Dick Bar. But, I certainly cannot leave out the night club Dreamland from the list. Two of my friends who were an integral part of that club, Roy Shapiro and Michael Maier, heard my tapes. I was summoned to perform for "Easter Sunday Tea Dance" in 1980. I stayed with that venue for a year or so. (I quickly found out that I was not the kind of DJ that played all through the night and into the morning hours!)

Towards the end of my four-year engagement at the Badlands, I began to tire of bar life and being up all night. A "Regular Job" fell out of the sky through my friend and salesman Harold Banks at Eber electronics. Now in my mid thirties and my porn career starting to slow down a bit, I took on the mantle of "Electronics Maven of Castro Street!" I still played music on Sunday nights at Moby Dick Bar through my connection with my friend and the manager, Michael Goglia. That place was the last where I played records... and my favorite!

So, that accounts for the early years. They were great (if not chaotic!). In 1991, my "Guardian Angel" tapped me on the shoulder telling me it was time for a trip back home (back east) and a reassessment of where I was on life's trail. I loved San Francisco! It was where I found out who I was and what I could become. And, I am glad to have been there for the golden years of that city!

 


Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms
Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me
Becoming Invisible
The Reverse Story of Dorian Gray

 

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The Reverse Story of Dorian Gray

By Will Seagers

 

This blog, “The Reverse Story of Dorian Gray,” where the pictures remain fabulous but their subject goes through the ravages, is an addendum to the Bijou Blog, "Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun." I had a great time in my early years in the beginnings of my porn career. I thought that part of a sexy body and face was to be perpetually tan. Maybe so, but there is a price to be paid for that notion.

 

Al Parker and Will Seagers

This duo with Al Parker was still in the early stages of my career. One thing that we did share was beautiful satin-like skin. I do acquiesce that he was a "bigger" man than I. But, there were never any shortcomings on film nor in private.

 

Will Seagers early modeling photo

Going way back to pre-publication. I believe that this was shot in the basement of a photographer friend. The hairstyle definitely gives me a clue to the timeframe. Just a kid toying with the idea of modeling!

 

Will Seagers Falcon modeling shot

Alabaster - yes if I were to describe my skin back then - alabaster. This was early on in my work with Falcon Studios. Sultry and unblemished! (Not ready for my close up, Mr. Gray.)

 

Will Seagers Fire Island photo

My first year working in The Pines, Fire Island - 1976. To my recollection, this was originally a Polaroid that a friend took on one of the many wooden walkways in The Pines. During my breaks from The Boatel, where I worked, it was off to the beach to work on that tan that I thought was quintessentially needed for my “other job!"

 

Will Seagers Fire Island modeling shot for Hand in Hand

Although a black & white print that was used for the cover of Michael's Thing, a mini-mag in the 1980s, this pic was shot on a deck on Fire Island following the wrapping up of Fire Island Fever and Dune Buddies for Hand in Hand Films. Living and working on Fire Island gave me prime ammo on the assault of my skin. I was actually quite dark in this photo!

 

Will Seagers and Hugh Allen in Dune Buddies

Also, from the movie Dune Buddies, my co-star and I were taking a dip. Although there are a lot of other things to look at, please note the tan line... Mr. Dorian Gray is beginning to play.

 

Will Seagers outdoor headshot

Here in the beautiful open air (and SUN!) of Northern California, one of my last magazine shoots took place. Credits to Mr. Wilde, but no telltale payments to the Devil, as yet.

 

Will Seagers and Terri Hannon in L.A. Tool & Die publicity photo

Giddyup, pardners! A shot from L.A. Tool & Die. Carefully morphing into a new age category, the subtle signs of years of sun are starting to make their appearance. That movie was the highlight of my porn career. I had a great time working with some very professional people.

 

Will Seagers and Richard Locke driving in L.A. Tool & Die

Once again from the set of L.A.Tool & Die, with heartthrob and co-star Richard Locke, this was the infamous truck used in the love scene as well. I use the term 'love scene' because I thought that the scene transcended a regular or even hot sex scene! Once again, that pearly clear skin prevailed. If my dermatologists and surgeons could have only seen this! Ha.

 

Will Seagers close-up in L.A. Tool & Die

This is the epitome of a Dorian Gray scenario. The very perfect left cheek featured in this photo is the one that was "the payback" of years of neglect and abuse to my skin. On July 14, 2022, the most recent of six radical Mohs procedures leaving a 4" scar now occupies that cheek. Hindsight is 2020.

 

Will Seagers contemporary photo with scar

Stitches out and ready to take on the fine art of aging. This final shot in the sequence is from the present, age 71. It is not meant to garner sympathy or horror. It is a simple statement of fact... the Sun is not your friend. And, your skin remembers all......Will Seagers.

 

Thank you to Will Seagers for use of his photos.


Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street
The Pass Around Boy
The Ecstasy and the Agony
Fitness and Fantasy: The Early Gyms
Chasing the Boys and Chasing the Sun: My Story of Sun Worship and Where It Got Me
Becoming Invisible

 

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The Late Great JOHN TRAVIS, My POWERTOOL Mentor

By Josh Eliot

 

FLASHBACK, 1987: I was 25 years old when I started working with Catalina Video in San Francisco. Dan Allman was in charge of the new studio, which he ran with his new boyfriend, John, who he met on the set of a movie he recently directed called Bad Boys Club. Catalina Video moved their productions from Los Angeles/Ontario to San Francisco after the video crew got busted in a Ralphs Supermarket parking lot while shooting the movie Bulge. That’s really the extent of the information I was given at the time. All of the camera cases and equipment still had remnants of the “evidence” tape from the police department. The story I was told is that it was no longer viable to shoot in the L.A. County limits until a pandering case was resolved in the courts. So they set up shop in San Francisco. The Catalina Producer/Director was Scott Masters (Nova Video) and the VIP Director of the company was John Travis (Brentwood Video). William Higgins had recently moved to Europe.

 

Catalina equpiment with evidence tape

Catalina equpiment with evidence tape

 

John Travis started off in the industry shooting 8mm loops including the two infamous John Holmes gay porno scenes. He also shot the ever enduring Brentwood Video library of films, which are best sellers to this day. He was hired by Chuck Holmes and started a decade-long tenure with Falcon Studios. His work as cinematographer in The Other Side of Aspen 2, A Matter of Size, Big Guns and The Young and the Hung elevated those movies' statuses. He became lovers with and was credited for discovering Jeff Stryker. Travis’ Powertool starring Stryker became the most successful and best selling movie of its time. Travis won Best Director/Best Picture for Powertool in 1987 at the Adult Video News Awards. (The same year, I started working with him and he never mentioned it for months! That’s how unpretentious he was.) He also won an AVN Award for Best Director/Best Picture for Undercover in 1989.

 

John Travis and Jeff Stryker

John Travis and Jeff Stryer

 

Most of my days at the studio consisted of “woodwork”: building sets, then dressing and lighting them for upcoming shoots according to the specifications we got from Scott Masters in Los Angeles. The night prior to filming a scene, the director and models would fly in from Los Angeles and Dan would pick them up and take them to an apartment Catalina rented and furnished. It was always a nail biter when we would show up for the shoot in the morning. If it was a set for a Scott Masters movie, you can bet your ass that there would be major changes that would delay the beginning of the shoot. Scott would always have outrageous requests that drove us nuts. Things like, “I don’t like that end table, it’s too small to fuck on. Can we run out and buy another one?” - instead of just modifying his plans for the scene and fucking on the roomy couch instead. But when John Travis came to direct, he always had positive things to say about the sets. If anything, it was the lighting that needed modifications, which always made the set look better. His experience showed. He would always find creative ways to modify things on the fly and avoid situations that could make a shoot day come to a dead halt.

John Travis ALWAYS showed up to the set with two brand new packs of Benson and Hedges 100’s menthol cigarettes. He would smoke almost every one down to (and into) the filter. In the early days John was always directing from behind the camera as he had done for years and cigarette smoke was always creeping up into the shots! After the first couple of movies, we built him a beautiful deck and monitor station on wheels so he could direct from behind the monitors while Dan and I performed all the camera work. I think, for the first time in his career, he was able to get out from behind the camera and direct from the station at a distance, and he LOVED it! One would think that his movies would have a different look if he wasn’t working the camera himself, but he was very specific on the framing 100% of the time. “Pull out wider…No... too much... zoom in… but just a cunt hair.” That was one of his favorite lines and I kept using it when directing my own movies for the next 20 years. It was one of many classic lines John put out into the world. I credit him for my first award in 1992 for Cinematography on a movie called Sterling Ranch at the Gay Erotic Video Awards. He was in the audience and when I thanked him personally, my voice cracked and I nearly lost it, but after all, he did put me up there.

 

Josh Eliot at the Gay Video Guide Awards

Josh Eliot at the Gay Video Guide Awards

 

The crew was always enamored with him and we always laughed our asses off. This man was so relatable and sincere, he would give you the shirt off his back. This guy directed Powertool, for God’s sake, and had zero attitude about it. He shared all his experience, shooting secrets, and directing techniques without even giving it a second thought. I truly was the luckiest guy in the industry to have such an icon take me under his wing and mold me.

On a movie called Powerline with Tom Steele, we built a rooftop set, which he thought looked too clean and sterile, so at one point he walked on the set and tossed his full ashtray of cigarettes onto it. “There you are… it’s called seasoning… I’m seasoning the set... It’s too fucking clean.” We roared! That is John Travis in a nutshell. Truly inspirational, down to earth, generous, one of a kind, and an old soul who made the industry a much better place.

 

Magazine featuring rooftop images from Powerline

Magazine featuring rooftop images from Powerline

 

John sadly passed away in January of 2017 but his work will stimulate and entertain forever.
 


Bio of Josh Eliot:

At the age of 25 in 1987, Josh Eliot was hired by Catalina Video by John Travis (Brentwood Video) and Scott Masters (Nova Video). Travis trained Eliot on his style of videography and mentored him on the art of directing. Josh directed his first movie, Runaways, in 1987. By 2009 when Josh parted ways with Catalina Video, he'd produced and directed hundreds of features and won numerous awards for Best Screenplay, Videography, Editing, and Directing. He was entered into the GayVN Hall of fame in 2002. 

 

You can read Josh Eliot's previous blogs for Bijou here:

Coming out of my WET SHORTS
FRANK ROSS, The Boss
Our CALIGULA Moment

That BUTTHOLE Just Winked at Me!
DREAMLAND: The Other Place
A Salty Fuck in Saugatuck
Somebody, Call a FLUFFER!

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The Pass Around Boy

By Will Seagers

 

Part of being under the wing of Chuck Holmes, owner of Falcon and many other legendary porn brands in San Francisco, was being in an extended family of "Available Escorts." I have always been a little on the naïve side... taking things at face value... not a good way to be in this multi-faceted industry. I had no idea that I was up for "grabs" for the right price and for a very discreet clientele that did their shopping from a distance.

Because there was no internet back then, "clientele" would either use the movies, magazines or come down to Trinity Place, Mr. Holmes' bar and restaurant, to see what was available. It finally dawned on me when I noticed that I was waiting on and bartending to men considerably older than myself. (Duh.) This was a very clever operation, looking at it in retrospect. The names of those involved will remain undisclosed. But, it shouldn't take too much connecting of the dots to draw some conclusions.

Will Seagers in the 1970s

Will Seagers in the 1970s

 

One of my first episodes took place in the quite well-to-do San Francisco neighborhood of Sea Cliff. A prominent designer/decorator requested my presence as a gift for his lover as well as for himself. The lover was a knock out and was easy to "work" with. The older of the two necessitated me reaching into the same bag of tricks that I used when I was paired with someone in a movie that I was not attracted to. Call it "professionalism"... but, it always got me through. And, I was invited back several times, much to my pleasure. Much of the second visit took place outside at the swimming pool, where another fine pair of gents were recruited. And, bathing suits were not even an option! (I didn't know that I could hold my breath that long under water! Lol.)

Another memorable hire was as a birthday gift. Once again, this was for the younger half of a couple. Unfortunately, this one was a particular disaster! When I entered their posh Pacific Heights Victorian and directed to a bedroom where the fun was to happen, there was a mound of the "white stuff" that looked like the peak of Mont Blanc! With the birthday boy, who was cute enough, I availed myself of some of the "snow." Unfortunately, due to the copious amounts we both had... I could not perform for him or with him. Lesson learned. No white stuff while working! Lol.

THE most memorable of my escort episodes was with a very prominent poet of the time who lived in L.A. I flew down a few times and had a good enough time, myself, to validate the return trips. Although I have never been rich... money was really the icing on the cake. I enjoyed the adventure of it all!

OK. So, here's that most memorable episode. I got a call from my L.A. poet asking me if I would like to be flown to NYC to the opening of a night club/disco... Studio 54. Keep in mind this was opening night, so all of the legend and fanfare had not yet had the chance to kick in. Loving adventure and the company of this client, I said sure!

 

Big crowd at Studio 54

Big crowd at Studio 54

 

I am a little foggy on some of the details - being decades ago - April 26, 1977! One thing I do remember was not being able to get in. My host was nationally and internationally known... and, I wasn't too hard to look at, either! Well, who walks up the runway to the front door but Cher - and in all of her costumed glory! Little did I know that my host and Cher were friends. Next thing I remember is my host yelling out, "Hey Cher, who do you have to fuck to get in this place?" Cher looked over and signaled us to come over and join her. And, with that, my host was on one arm and I was on the other. That's how you enter Studio 54!!

 


Bio of Will Seagers:

Will Seagers (also credited as Matt Harper), within his multifaceted career and participation in numerous gay communities across the country in the '70s and '80s and beyond, worked as a print model and film performer. He made iconic appearances in releases from Falcon, Hand in Hand, Joe Gage, Target (Bullet), J. Brian, Steve Scott, and more, including in lead roles in major classics like Gage's L.A. Tool & Die (1979) and Scott's Wanted (1980). He brought strong screen presence and exceptional acting to his roles and was scene partners with many fellow legends of classic porn.

 

Will Seagers, present day image

 


You can read Will Seagers' previous blogs for Bijou here:
Welcome Matt/Will
What's For Dessert?
On and Off the Set of L.A. Tool & Die
Wanted, Weekend Lockup and Weekends in Hermosa Beach
Honeymoon in the Palms
Birds of a Feather
The Stereo Maven of Castro Street

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