BBC2 Releases 1st Promo For “Action Man at the Speed of Sound” Episode Airing December 25th

Bottom Line: Attention, Action Man fans in the UK and Europe! Be sure to mark your calendars for this Christmas Day, December 25th, 2014. After opening your presents and stuffing yourselves silly, you’ll want to tune your telly over to BBC2 to catch the “Action Man at the Speed of Sound” episode of “Tony May’s Toy Stories.” We covered this topic in an in-depth article previously HERE, but the video clip shown above is the first official “promo” for it we’ve seen. Enjoy!

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Look Out, G.I. Joe! “Dr. Isotope, The Radioactive Menace” To Be Club Membership Figure In 2015

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Stand back, Joe! The GIjOE Collector's Club is about to release its ominous new membership figure, "Doctor Isotope," the first-ever 12-inch glow-in-the-dark GIjOE. WOW! (Photo: GIJCC)

Stand back, Joe! The GIjOE Collector’s Club is about to release its ominous new membership figure, “Doctor Isotope,” the first-ever 12-inch glow-in-the-dark GIjOE. WOW! (Photo: GIJCC)

isotope
/ˈīsəˌtōp/
noun
1. one of two or more atoms with the same atomic number that contain different numbers of neutrons

Too Hot to Handle?

Heads up, GIjOE collectors, there’s a new “bad guy” in town, and his very touch could spell the end of your toughest “good guy” Joes. He’s the GIjOE Club’s 1:6 “Doctor Isotope” and he has all the earmarks of becoming an instant classic. What makes this guy so special, you may ask? Doctor Isotope will GLOW IN THE DARK, my friend. That’s right, hold this 12-inch evildoer under a lamp for a minute and he’ll be able to threaten your Adventure Team’s headquarters even in total darkness. Imagine all the sleepless nights you would’ve enjoyed as a kid if you’d had one of these ghostly guys to play with. That’s guaranteed FUN!

For those who aren’t aware, every year, members of the GIjOE club are given the choice of receiving either a 3.75″ or 12″ club membership figure as an “exclusive” reward for their paid membership dues. Offerings over the years have ranged from so-so to nice, but 2015’s evil Doctor Isotope looks to be one of the BEST ever produced. For eligible members (i.e. those who are paid up on their dues), the deadly “Doc Iso” figure will be shipped complete with his first-ever, very unique glow-in-the-dark body, a flocked headsculpt and a 2-piece underwear set complete with his nifty atomic chest logo. It also appears the doctor lost his irises during his unfortunate “nuclear fire,” thus giving him a sort of zombieish blank stare. 

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a "must-have" for most fans and collectors. What a great look! (Photo: GIJCC)

The optional uniform set for Doctor Isotope is practically a “must-have” for most fans and collectors. And with KFG hands, he can actually hold both weapons. WOW! (Photo: GIJCC)

Of course, ol’ Doc wouldn’t strike much fear into our hearts if he ran around in his underwear all the time, so the club is also going to offer an optional uniform set (see photo above). As with past club figures, these optional outfits have ranged from ho-hum to neat-keeno, and this one looks like it will rank right up there at the top. Prices haven’t been announced, but according to the photo supplied by the club, you’ll receive a 2-piece silver radiation suit, pair of short black boots, goggles, gloves and twin “blasters.” According to the official press release from the club:

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“This will be the first ever 12″ GIjOE action figure that will glow-in-the-dark! Doctor Isotope is a new adversary for the Adventure Team. Born from fires of a nuclear nightmare, he is bent on the destruction of the Adventure Team and anyone else who dares oppose him in his mad quest for power! His very touch is deadly as his blood boils with the power of the atom.”

CLUBlogo_blkBottom Line: It seems obvious (to us) that Doctor Isotope is a going to be a SMASH HIT with most members of the GIjOE club. We can already envision the wide variety of custom boxes, dioramas, and equipment additions being planned by customizers out there in Joe Land. If you’re not a member of the club, this may be a good time to join (HERE).

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Mysterious “Project: HERCULES” Excites Fans of 1:6 Scale Worldwide———Purpose of “X-1” Unknown

Due to a current news "black-out" and strictly enforced "no photos" policy recanted enacted by the ground crew at the Patches of Pride launch site, we're unable to bring you a better image of the upcoming "Project: HERCULES. Just WHAT are we looking at? The boys in our photo lab have done their best to clear up this image, taken last night in total darkness using a long-range telephoto lens and night-vision filter. The best consensus we can reach is that it appears to show some sort of canister, possibly a fire extinguisher and most likely, the helmet of the test pilot of the enigmatic "X-1." Unfortunately, we can't be sure of either assessment, but those are our best guesses. (Photo: TJR)

We’re in the Dark Due to a current news “black-out” and strictly enforced “no new photos” policy recently enacted by the ground crew over at the Patches of Pride launch site, we were unable to bring you a better image of their upcoming “Project: HERCULES than this. So… WHAT exactly are we looking at here? The boys in our photo lab have done their best to enhance and clean up this image. It was taken last night in total darkness using a long-range telephoto lens and night-vision filter, but the best consensus we could reach is that it appears to show some sort of spray canister, most probably a fire extinguisher and what looks like a flight helmet, quite possibly that of a test pilot of the mysterious “X-1.” This leads us to believe that whatever the X-1 may be, it’s operable at night, even in total darkness. Unfortunately, we can’t confirm any of these assessments at this time. (Photo: TJR)

A recently posted sign warns photographers to keep their lens caps on. ARGH! (Photo: Tracey Evans)

No Pictures! A recently posted sign warns news photographers approaching the Project: HERCULES launch site. (Photo: Tracey Evans)

Little more than a week away from its official “launch date” on December 22, 2014, a mysterious new product line is generating genuine intrigue and debate among fans of 12-inch action figures who are eager to learn the answers to its many secrets. Officially and enigmatically dubbed “Project: HERCULES” by its creators at 1:6 accessories manufacturer,  Patches of Pride (PoP), the specific nature and potential usage of the new line remains largely unknown and has actually puzzled fans of the renowned company— for almost 3 YEARS.

You read that right. After some digging, reporters here at The Joe Report discovered that the origin of Project: HERCULES actually dates back to 2011, when PoP first released a free, daily, online photo-comic entitled, “A Joe a Day” (AJAD). According to PoP company rep, Mark Otnes, the figures featured in the strip were his 7 original, childhood GIjOEs that had been stored in his brother’s home for over 40 years. After they’d been returned to Otnes (that year) over Christmas, “Mark’s Magnificent 7″ were quickly reassigned as a time-travelling team of military heroes who join up with members of his Adventure Team and embark upon a cross-country road trip, all the while protecting the contents of The Commander’s mysterious briefcase, containing what is only known only as— “Project: HERCULES.”

In this frame from Mark Otnes' "A Joe a Day" photo-comic serial, the mysterious "football" briefcase contains the secrets and answers to the mysterious "Project: HERCULES." Unfortunately, the serial has not yet been concluded. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

What’s inside the “Football?” In this frame taken from Otnes’ “A Joe a Day” photo-comic serial, a briefcase known as the Commander’s “Football” containing top-secret materials related to the mysterious “Project: HERCULES” is removed from a team member’s backpack for examination. Unfortunately, the serial has yet to be concluded and the football’s contents remain unknown. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

While Otnes’ intriguing AJAD storyline has yet to be completed and hence, the exact nature and capabilities of Project: HERCULES are known to no other, it’s expected that the answers to many a fan’s questions will be revealed with the imminent release of these new PoP products. Suspense continues to build as the company’s “countdown” (to the product launch) continues, and a slow trickle of “sneak pics” make their way to eager fans trolling for clues over on PoP’s Facebook page (HERE) and/or VIP Customer Mailing List (HERE). With the release of each new tantalizing image, debate is stirred anew, resulting in heated conjecture among collectors, including the following:

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Renowned GIjOE collector and customizer, Angelo D'Annibale (Photo: Angelo D'Annibale)

Angelo D’Annibale

“I’m getting hopes up for some sort of helipad or jet pack. Can’t wait to see more!”Angelo D’Annibale

Kyle Knox (Photo: Kyle Knox)

Kyle Knox

“Driving me crazy! But I have an idea. A space capsule akin to NASA’s Orion.”
Kyle Knox

Lyle "Bigfoot" Button (Photo: Lyle Button)

Lyle “Bigfoot” Button

I was thinking some kind of unmanned drone, but now I’m not so sure.” —Lyle Button

Good ideas all, gentlemen! But we believe renowned GIjOE fan and collector, Scott Turnbull may have come closest to deciphering the various clues and “sneak pics” of Project: HERCULES with THIS intriguing supposition:

Scott Turnbill

Scott Turnbill

“Something tech-ish, I’m sure, which hits the sweet spots of my collections! Maybe a temporal experiment…”
Scott Turnbull

Bottom Line: We asked PoP’s secretive “Commander-in-Chief,” Mark Otnes, if he had any further comment regarding the upcoming Project: HERCULES, and he declined, citing his company’s official “news blackout” until December 22nd. Despite Otnes’ intransigence, we intend to forge ahead on this matter and promise to apprise our readership of any and all fresh intel as it becomes available. —Editor

Since last week, PoP has begun giving away free 1:1 scale "Project: HERCULES" t-shirts to lucky winners over on its fan page on Facebook HERE. (Photo: Mark Otnes)

FREE T’s! PoP has begun giving away free 1:1 scale Project: HERCULES “ground crew” t-shirts to lucky winners on its Facebook Fan Page. Wow! (Photo: Mark Otnes)

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2002 G.I. Joe 10-Piece “Party Lights” Set Features “Real Action Detail” to Light Up Your Holidays!

Show us the Joe-Light! This new set of GIjOE-themed string-lights from "Partylights" is officially licensed by Hasbro and includes 4 soldiers, 5 logos, and 1 mini television. OOHrah! (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

Show us the Joe-Light! This 2002 set of GIjOE-themed string-lights from “Brain Wave” was officially licensed by Hasbro and includes 4 soldiers, 5 logos, and 1 mini television. (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

If you want to expand your string-lights or only want one of each, they're also sold in these basic 2-packs (no strings or bulbs). Simply snap them over an existing string-light and you're good to go. (Photo: ebay)

If you need to expand your string-lights or only wanted one of each, they’re also available in basic 2-packs (w/no strings or bulbs). Simply snap them together over any existing string-light and you’re good to go, Joe. (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

Bottom Line: As GIjOE’s 50th Anniversary year draws to a close, fans are still looking for something…ANYTHING, to help them celebrate their favorite action heroes over the holiday season. Except for a very brief showing of 50th commemorative ornaments sold at select Hallmark stores, there has been very little to report. Fortunately, we think we’ve found a fairly cheap solution that could make many Joeheads happy again. Do you remember a set of fairly cheap string-lights created back in 2002 by the now-defunct “Brain-Wave” party-lights company? Well, a LOT of those sets are still around, still unopened, and still unsold.

Twelve years after their debut, many unsold sets are now finding their way back onto the secondary market, and the prices are still very reasonable (just $14 to $17 per set, typically). If you’ve never picked one up before, this might be just the thing to raise your “Joe Spirits” this Christmas. They can be used to decorate a space in your office, light up a Christmas tree or even provide some vintage logo illumination for a “Joe Room” display case. Remember, they’re available two ways: as a 10-piece set (see photo above) and in small “light cover” 2-packs (see photo at right). We did a quick search and found both versions for sale over on ebay (today), but as with all GIjOE-related product-hunts, patience and persistence are watch-words to live by. Good luck and Best Wishes!

The back panel of the package reveals how the lights are strung together. Pretty cool! (Photo: ebay)

The back panel of the package reveals how the GIjOE lights look once they’re strung together and lists other toy brands that Brain Wave produced. Pretty cool! (Photo: ebay) Click to enlarge.

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73 Years Ago Today, Japanese Sneak Attack at Pearl Harbor, HI, Kills 2,403 U.S. Servicemen

Battleship USS West Virginia sunk and burning at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. In background is the battleship USS Tennessee.

After being struck by 7 Japanese torpedoes, the Battleship USS West Virginia burns and then sinks during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Punch Bowl National Cemetery, Oahu, HI. (Photo:  Pestovich)

Victims not on the USS Arizona were interred at Punch Bowl National Cemetery, Oahu, HI. (Photo: Pestovich)

Bottom Line: Rest assured, we will never forget. In addition to the 2,403 U.S. servicemen who were killed on this day in 1941, another 1,178 were wounded. 68 American civilians were killed as well, and another 35 wounded. As members of that “greatest generation” continue to pass away, the responsibility to honor their sacrifice and remember and retell the events of that terrible day has fallen to subsequent generations. So, if you haven’t already, please take a moment to explain the importance of Pearl Harbor to your children, many of whom may never learn about it in school (you’d be surprised). While you’re at it, please thank an active-duty serviceman or woman you may know for everything that they do now, or have done in the past, in service to our country.

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Whoosh! UK TV Show, “James May’s Toy Stories” (on BBC2), Will Attempt to Fly a 1:6 Scale Action Man Astronaut Faster Than the Speed of Sound in New Episode to Air This Christmas Day, 2014!

British TV celebrity, James May, poses alongside a clear rocket containing an Action Man astronaut in this publicity still promoting an upcoming episode of his show, "James May's Toy Stories." (Photo: BBC)

British TV celebrity, James May, looks on admiringly at a clear model rocket (missile?) containing one very brave, 1970s-vintage, Action Man astronaut in an intriguing publicity still promoting an upcoming episode of “James May’s Toy Stories,” scheduled to air on Christmas Day, 2014. (Photo: BBC2)

bbc 2If you mention the name James May, or his television show, “James May’s Toy Stories” (JMTS), to viewers here in the U.S., you’ll most likely just get a blank stare in return. But that should be expected. Since its debut in 2009, the British show has only produced 9 episodes. And when it does finally air, the shows are shown only in Britain and Europe on BBC Two. Nonetheless, GIjOE, Falcon, Geyperman and Action Man fans around the world should all now start paying attention to May’s hour-long odes to toys, because his upcoming 10th episode is intriguingly titled “Action Man at the Speed of Sound.” As its title implies, this particular episode features numerous examples of UK’s favorite 12-inch action hero participating in efforts to launch a 1:6 scale astronaut into the upper atmosphere—BREAK the sound barrier—and then return safely to Earth. Can it be done? SHOULD it be done? You’ll need to tune in this Christmas day (2014) to find out. Whoosh!!!

Don't try and tell them where the explosive bolts go, or that they're just going to go along for the ride. In this scene from "The Right Stuff," actors recreate one of many serious conversations astronauts held with NASA engineers regarding the construction and design of the Mercury and Gemini space capsules. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Don’t tell them where the explosive hatch bolts should go, or that they’re just “going along for the ride.” In this scene from “The Right Stuff,” actors recreate a disagreement the real “Mercury Seven” astronauts had with NASA engineers regarding the construction and design of their space capsules. Will Action Man get a similar chance to speak up during his own pre-flight briefing? Let’s hope so. Especially if he turns out to be a “Talking” Astronaut. Just pull that string, James! (Photo: Wikipedia)

12-inch GIjOEs have been launched into the upper atmosphere many times, most famously as "Mercury Joe" (shown above). (Photo: Mercury Joe)

Boldly demonstrating that they possess “the right stuff,” 12-inch GIjOEs have been launched into Earth’s upper atmosphere MANY times, most regularly, repeatedly and famously as “Mercury Joe” (shown above). MJ even has his own Facebook fan page now. WOW! (Photo: Mercury Joe)

1:6 Scale “Right Stuff” Action Figures

The concept of May’s upcoming episode of JMTS is very exciting. It instantly reminded us of one of America’s most famous space-related movies, The Right Stuff, and of GIjOE’s own trips into the upper atmosphere as the now-famous Mercury JoeWhile few of us will ever experience the thrill of being a real-life test pilot or astronaut, the possibility of 1:6 hobbyists sending their own action figures into the great beyond is something which we can all reasonably now attempt. (See below.)

The original promotion graphic used by BBC2 to "enlist" 1:6 scale volunteers for May's dangerous spaceflights. (Graphic: BBC2)

Stay Calm and Fly High! The original promotion graphic used by BBC2 to “enlist” 1:6 scale volunteers for May’s risky JMTS spaceflights. (Graphic: BBC2)

Anti-Action Man Bias Evident in Unusual BBC Two Press Release

May’s “Action Man at the Speed of Sound” JMTS episode is part of a big holiday programming blitz by BBC2. You’d think they’d want to stir up good feelings of anticipation for the show, but in a strangely worded press release, (for whatever reason), someone over in the promotions department at BBC2 clumsily did the exact opposite. In a surprising display of “anti-Action Man” bias, their harshly worded pre-show announcement openly derides and mocks UK’s most famous 12-inch action hero. It’s not funny. Or clever. It just comes across as “mean.” Here it is in its complete, original format (key derogatory phrases bolded for emphasis):

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James May Buying Alan Halls Action Man Guides at Birmingham NEC 2013

BBC2 TV personality, James May, buying Alan Hall’s Action Man Guides at Birmingham NEC 2013. (Photo: Daniel Smart)

“In perhaps the most challenging ‘Toy Stories’ so far, James May attempts to rehabilitate one of Britain’s most derided toys by seeing if it’s possible for Action Man to do what no toy has ever managed—travel faster than the speed of sound. For decades, Action Man, despite his name, has been a disappointment. He promised so much with his eagle eyes, his gripping hands and his natty outfits. But what has he ever achieved? Nothing….yet.After half a century lazing around the back of the toy cupboard, he must prove that he has The Right Stuff, redeem his shattered reputation and boldly go where no Toy has gone before. The challenge is daunting. Breaking the sound barrier and returning Action Man safely to the earth will test James and the team to the limit. In an action-packed series of attempts, James battles high-speed physics, unforeseen explosions and catastrophic design setbacks that account for a large number of Action Man volunteers before settling on an experimental supersonic vehicle made entirely from scratch—a vehicle that threatens to send Action Man and the team into oblivion. In a gripping final act, Action Man must not only succeed and survive intact—but go faster and higher than a rival supersonic attempt led by his arch nemesis: Sindy. Will Action Man redeem himself? Will he survive Mach 1? Or will he lose out to a doll?”

Wow. Odd language, indeed. We’re not sure if BBC2’s oddly worded press release will succeed in increasing the show’s viewership or ratings, but it will undoubtedly succeed in raising the hackles and stirring the ire of millions of Action Man fans around the world. “One of Britain’s most derided toys?” Since when is that the case? And that “what has he ever achieved? Nothing” line? Please! Action Man’s popularity and achievements as a toy line stand him head and shoulders above his competition. Whoever wrote that pile of PR tripe should get his (or her) head out from under their Cabbage Patch doll sunbonnet and smell the REALITY of 1:6 heroism—Action Man!

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Steve Before Mission

Don’t let his “ordinary” face fool you. This unique Action Man figure is none other than Daniel Smart’s “Steve,” pausing to offer his owner one final salute before leaving on his dangerous mission into the stratosphere and subsequent appearance on James May’s Toy Stories.  (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Intriguingly, it appears that one of our very own intrepid UK Field Reporters, Daniel Smart, may have also played a vital role in this exciting, new television production. According to a recent “behind-the-scenes” intel report filed by Smart exclusively with (and for) The Joe Report:

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Daniel Smart, UK Action Man collector (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Daniel Smart, UK Action Man collector (Photo: Daniel Smart)

“Back in March 2014, I was contacted by an editor friend of mine and was told that James May’s Researcher Tom Harris and James would be at the Birmingham NEC Toy Show on 20th April 2014 and would like to meet me and ask if I had an Action Man that would like to take part in a special adventure. I already knew that Mike Rees (aka Action Burt) was to be there and Craig Crane (Doublecee) was involved in some way. So, off I went with my childhood figure ‘Steve.’ I met May and his production team, handed Steve over and did a few short interviews with him which were filmed for (possible use in) the program.”

Daniel Smart Handing Over Steve to James May at Birmingham NEC Toy Fair April 20th 2013

Daniel Smart hands over “Steve” to James May at the Birmingham NEC Toy Fair on April 20, 2014. Smart wouldn’t see Steve again until November and won’t learn until December 25th exactly how his childhood Action Man was used on May’s TV show. Did “Steve” break the sound barrier? (Photo: Daniel Smart)

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“James explained to me that Action Man was going to attempt to break the sound barrier and travel at supersonic speed! Everyone was being quite tight-lipped about how this was all going to take place and I was only told that my ‘Steve’ was just one of many who had volunteered for the exciting mission. Some of the figures would be ‘test pilots,’ but only ONE would make that special journey and cement his reputation as the ‘Greatest Hero’ of them all. I was told that all that took part would receive a free 1:6 overall and snazzy new flock job, but also that it couldn’t be guaranteed that my Steve would even make it back.”

Birmingham Nec 20th April 2013

The enduring and ongoing popularity of Action Man was apparent by the crowded Birmingham NEC held recently in the UK. Why BBC2’s PR department chose to describe the toy line as a “disappointment” that had “lazed around” and never achieved anything is beyond our understanding. (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Daniel Smart's "Steve" was returned to him safe and sound, sporting a brand-new flocking 'do featuring some WILD mutton-chop sideburns. (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Daniel Smart’s “Steve” was returned to him safe and sound, sporting a brand-new flocking ‘do featuring some WILD mutton-chop sideburns. (Photo: Daniel Smart) Click to enlarge.

malecomment“It would be great if my childhood Action Man was chosen, but deep down I secretly want Action Burt’s ‘Stuntman Extraordinaire’ to be chosen as the natural (and right) choice. Fortunately, after filming, I received Steve back in the post last week, sporting a new head of flocked hair. But the note from James only said, ‘Thank you for the loan of Steve. He has now been discharged from duty.’ The show will air on UK’s BBC2 on Christmas Day at 5.10pm. How exciting! It’s the best Christmas present I could hope for!” —Daniel Smart, UK

Action Burt Stuntman Extrodinaire

Action Burt’s Stuntman Extraordinaire certainly looks like he could stand up to all those g-forces. WOW! We wonder…was HE chosen to break the sound barrier? Or Smart’s “Steve?” (Photo: Daniel Smart)

Bottom Line: Regardless of how May’s attempt to propel Action Man faster than the speed of sound plays out, his December 25th episode is undeniably a program all GIjOE and Action Man fans will want to see. Fortunately, 1:6ers around the world can catch JMTS episodes HERE on Hulu—for FREE. Our sincerest thanks to Daniel Smart for all his exclusive pre-show intel. We wish him and “Steve” all the best in their future adventures together. Go, Action Man!

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G.I. Joe and Jem Appear Together For Second Time in New “Fa La La La Love” Honda TV Commercial

Bottom Line: Despite Hasbro “deep-sixing” our favorite 1:6 scale action hero, GIjOE is clearly, a long way from being retired as an American icon. In a second TV commercial in as many months, Adventurer Joe and his hot date, Jem, are featured together (again) in a new 30-second TV spot for Honda automobiles. This time, Joe is clearly the star, singing, dancing and kung-fuing his way into Jem’s heart. Our only beef? The animators took the quick-n-easy way out when animating his mouth in this spot, utilizing what looks like a simple, cut-out paper mouth stuck onto Joe’s face. The result is cheap and “fake” looking. Otherwise, this spot is terrific fun to watch. Enjoy!

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