History of Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures Corporation owned by media conglomerate Viacom was founded in the year 1912. The founder Adolph Zukor of Famous Players Film Company decided to make feature films that would fulfill the demands of immigrants. By the mid of next year he made five successful films. In the same year Jesse L. Lasky founded Lasky Feature Play Company and hired Cecil B. DeMille for his first movie "The Squaw Man". Both these production companies sought help of Paramount Pictures to release their movies. Paramount Pictures was a new company at that time and was a merger of many small firms by W. W. Hokinson. The idea was appreciated and the new company, Famous Players-Lasky, got a good start. Lasky and his brother-in-law, Goldfish became in charge of the production, along with DeMille. Hiram Abrams was responsible for the distribution where as Zukor made plans for the development of the company. The company soon touched great heights. In 1916, Zukor decided to talk about the merging of the three companies with Lasky and Hodkinson. Public can take guided tour into the Paramount Studios situated in Hollywood, California.

Zukor made the first slogan of the company "Famous Players in Famous Plays". He was the man behind successful actors like Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, Mary Pickford, Wallace Reid and Gloria Swanson. Paramount Pictures were the first to introduce the concept of block booking; this meant that if a particular firm wanted to buy the rights of a particular actor, they were also required to buy the other productions of Paramount Productions for that year. This concept proved to be a huge success and boosted the company's sale.

Under the leadership of Zukor, Paramount had huge success. He was responsible for building number of theaters which had nearly two thousand screens altogether. He also had big investments in radio and in 1926 he gained control over the Balaban & Katz chain. Barney Balaban became the president and Sam Katz handled the Paramount Publix theater chain. The company's name, Famous Players-Lasky was changed to Paramount-Publix Corporation, in 1927. Due to the success of Publix theater chain the name was changed to Paramount-Publix Corporation in 1930.

By 1932 Zukon left all his old partners behind as the company was facing bankruptcy due to the enormous expansion projects. A bank reorganization team, consisting of Otto Kahn and John Hertz took over the company but kept Zukon in the company. After dealing with bankruptcy, the company was named Paramount Pictures, Inc. and Barney Balaban became the chairman. Many actors and singers were roped in and on a yearly basis; the company was producing nearly seventy movies a year. They also tried their hand at cartoon and the two characters, Popeye the Sailor and Betty Boop became an instant hit.

The government was having problems with the block booking, so the company decided to end it in 1940, after which the company's production went down to twenty movies a year. While the company was making an effort to attract audience during the World War II, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department reopened the case, U. S. vs. Paramount Pictures and the Supreme Court ordered the split of the company into two. Due to the loss of theater chains, the position of Paramount Pictures was very unstable and the company was sold to Gulf and Western Industries.

Paramount collaborated with Universal Studios to form Cinema International Corporation in 1970. They began producing for television. After the realease of movies "Grease" and "Saturday Night Fever", the interest in movies were back again. Paramount Pictures began making albums when they purchased rights for Paramount Records. Cinema International Corporation became United International Pictures, in 1981, which was renamed as Paramount Communications in 1989. Paramount became a prominent name in Hollywood once again and gave tough competition to its rivals. Some survived by moving to another place like Warner Bros. and some closed down like for instance RKO.

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Walt Disney: A Short Bio

Born on December 5, 1901 in Chicago, Illinois to parents Elias Disney and mother Flora Call Disney Walter E. Disney was the best thing that happened to show business in the last century. Walt's family moved to Marceline, Missouri after his birth where he was brought up in a farm. Drawing caught his imagination ever since he was seven years old and he sold his sketches to his neighbors. Family moved to Chicago again where Disney concentrated both on Drawing and Photography in his high school. He also attended the Academy of Fine Arts at night.

Walt was also attracted to the beauty of nature as he grew up and he began to love and appreciate it. Though his father was particularly opposed to his plans her mother and elder brother Roy encouraged him to pursue his dreams. Disney even tried to get into military service but was rejected because he was only 16 years of age and thus was underage to join military. But he joined Red Cross where he was sent to France and he spent a year there driving ambulance.

After returning from France he pursued a career in commercial art and even started a small company called Laugh-O-Grams which went bankrupt soon. This prompted him to go to Hollywood. It is said he had only one suitcase and $20 with him when he went to Hollywood. His elder brother Roy was living in California, he pooled in $250 and they borrowed another $500 and constructed a camera stand. It didn't take a long wait before they received an order from New York to make the first Alice Comedy and they started producing cartoons in the rear of a real estate office in Hollywood. After successfully making Alice Comedies Walt became a famous figure in Hollywood.

Walt married one of his employees Lillian Bounds and they had two daughters. The cartoon film Mickey Mouse was created in 1928 and his talents were exposed to the world in a silent cartoon called Plane Crazy. The year coincided with the introduction of sound in movies just before the release of the cartoon. The cartoon character Mickey made its screen debut in Steamboat Willie which was the world's first fully synchronized sound cartoon. The cartoon premiered at the Colony Theater in New York on Nov. 18, 1928.

Walt was never content with his work and his quest for excellence made him introduce Technicolor in cartoons in 1932. He used multiplane camera technique in 1937. On December 21, 1937 Walt released the first full length animated musical film called "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" made at a whopping cost of $1.5 million. The animated film is still regarded as one of the rare feats of the motion picture industry.

Walt had a studio in Burbank constructed which was ready in 1940 and the employee count went up to 1,000 which comprised of artists, animators, story men and technicians. Disney used combine live action with the cartoon medium in 1945 in the musical "The Three Caballeros". Walt went to make many award winning cartoon films such as "True Life Adventure" series, "The Living Desert" and many more. Disneyland was launched in 1955 with a capital of $17 million and the investment increased by 10 fold within a few years. Walt turned to social causes in 1965 and directed a film on Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow to improve the quality of urban life in America. But Walt Disney died on December 15, 1966 leaving many achievements and unfulfilled dreams behind him.

Walt Disney envisioned and had directed to purchase about forty three square miles of land, double the size of Manhattan Island in central Florida. It took about fifty months to complete the planning and construction of the Walt Disney World which was eventually opened to public on October 1, 1971. Walk Disney was truly a pioneer and visionary of many modern days' technologies. No wonder why he has received more than 950 honors and 48 Oscar awards and 7 Emmy awards. Truly this man stands out for his outstanding contribution to the improvement of art of cartoon making.

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Trying out for American Idol

As everyone knows American Idol is a television program that has singers competing with each other to win the coveted title of American Idol. The show was conceptualized on the lines of Pop Idol from U. K. Even now American Idol is produce by U. K. producers Ken Warwick and Simon Fuller who also produced Pop Idol. The first ever episode of American Idol debuted on June 11, 2002 with its first season attracting a lot of enthusiasm around the country and record television viewers. The show aims to discover the best young singing talent in the country through a nationwide search for the singers. The search is usually performed in six to seven cities every season. The candidates are filtered into few hundreds from thousands. The contestants are further filtered in Hollywood round and ultimately 24 contestants go to the semifinals of which 12 are males and 12 females. The contestants are further reduced to 12 in the final round. From there on a singer is eliminated from bottom three contestants each week until the last episode when only two singers remain from which the winner and the runner up are selected.

Many youngsters dream about getting a break in American Idol and also try hard to get there. Some fail and some come out with flying colors. But we should realize there can be only winner at the end the day and everyone performing in the program cannot be an American Idol. Apart from the singing talent one also need to have the personality to win the competition. In addition to having a beautiful voice you need to have the rhythm and command over different tunes. Knowing how to dance along with singing is also a huge advantage over others who can't dance.

If you are planning to audition for American Idol do not forget to read and if possible memorize the information provided on fox television's idol website. There are lot of frequently asked questions and answers on this website. You can clear many misconceptions you have by reading the information provided. The eligibility criterion to get into the competition is that you should be a citizen or permanent resident of the country and you should be between the ages of 16 and 29.

Some of the previous winners of the American Idol gives an advise to the aspiring contestants to really put everything you can into the song you are singing. You should feel the lyrics when you are singing a song and the expressions should show on your face. Also they advise rehearse the songs you choose over and over again until you perfect it and sing the same song in front of the judges with full confidence and capture their attention and imagination and leave them wanting to hear more form you. Remember focus you attention on getting though the current round and each time you make it into next round you have an extra chance to show your talent and you are that much closer to the crown.

Also remember you may be asked about your role models. Try to come up with two or three names. And how you describe them? You should fine tune your verbiage and if possible try to come up with some interesting words to describe those personalities but only if you are comfortable, do no use it if you feel that you will end up getting embarrassed. Also be prepared to tell about yourself concisely. Part of the job is to dress well, get fashionable if possible but never under dressed. Also be honest, respectful and truthful to the judges. It is also seen that the judges often like contestants who dedicate songs to their friends or family members. Also taking few voice-training classes greatly increases the chances of making it into American Idol. If one follows the tips discussed above there should be no stopping you in landing on the sets of American Idol and who knows you might be the next American Idol.

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How to find an agent?

You may have the talent and skills to make it big in the show business but the attempts to break into the industry are futile without an agent and to be precise a right agent. A good agent is critical to the success of your efforts to get into show business. There are many agents who advertize to get candidates, some look out for them on the roads and malls promising a bright future to the prospective actors. But beware of these agents. Reputed agents never advertize to get actors. They already have a bee-line at their door and thus would never be required to advertize, their hands are always full with aspiring actors willing to get a break in this fantastic industry.

But before working with an agent question yourself what you are looking for in an agent. Decide whether you want a union or a non-union agent. Also important is to do a self check of your desires, your talents and decide what type of agent you need at this juncture of your career. It is well understood fact that though not impossible but actors seldom sticks with one agent during their career. Also many a times agents provide only extra work to the aspiring actors instead of principal roles due to their limited reach to the well known directors. Also look out to see if the agent has a big list of names or only few. The fewer the clients he may have the lesser the demand or popularity of that agent.

But how do you find a good agent? Locating a good agent is not so easy. While few out of business may advertize but the fact is majority of the agents do not advertize and are thus very difficult to locate even on yellow or white pages and the fact is good agents do not need to advertize. One of the legitimate places to find a right talent agent is actingland. com which is a very popular website for online acting community where you can find many talent agents and their contact details. It has the list of all the agents affiliated to Screen Actors Guild and also American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. These agents are also called acting union affiliated agents as they follow the code of conduct putt forth by these two unions and stay away from non-scrupulous practices. All major cities have agents affiliated with these unions which are also called franchised agents. The reason why franchised agents are important to the success of aspiring actors is they put their client’s interest above their own and go that extra mile to ensure their success. Not only that they also work towards better pay for their actors and help make actors smart decisions.

You can also contact Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Television and Radio Artists to get the names and addresses of their affiliated agents. Once you get a list of talent agents you should start mailing them your resume and headshot copies. If you live or plan to work in a big city you can start out with few at a time and then continue on likewise. One of the other ways to find a good agent is to get noticed by working in plays in your area and never forget to have a copy of your resume and headshot handy when you travel. Also social networking helps a lot in finding a right agent. Attend local events and make friends with other aspirants to broaden your knowledge about the industry and its current affairs. One of the key to finding an agent is to be patient as you may not find a good agent at the first go but in fact it may take several meetings with the agents until you find a right one. Once you find a right agent your problem is nearly half solved.

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The Academy Awards

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are the most prestigious and popular film awards. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science or AMPAS situated in Beverly Hills, California started it in May 1929. PricewaterhouseCoopers since 1935 have managed the balloting process. In 1941 the confidential envelope system started which exists till this date. This was how the phrase "the envelope please" became famous. The members of this academy are invited by the Board of Governors to join. The membership has fifteen branches each based on the different categories of awards.

The gold plated statuettes are also presented as the Academy Award of Merit. It has a black metal base and weights 8.5 lb and 13.5 inch tall knight holding a crusader's sword standing over a film reel with five spokes, which represent the five main categories of awards. It was created by George Stanley and Alex Smith and since then the Oscars have been manipulated only once. Forty Oscars are made for each annual Academy Awards in Chicago, Illinois. They are presented every year for movies, which have been produced in the last twelve months. The seventeen-month qualifying period was introduced to consider films released in a single calendar year in the year 1932. And since then this time period has been taken into consideration. The minimum length of the movie should be forty minutes and the minimum resolution should be 1280x720 so as to qualify as a feature-length.

The Academy Awards were held on Thursdays until 1954. From 1959 - 1998 they were held on Mondays except for few exceptions. It started to be held on Sundays from 1999. For nearly sixty years the Academy Awards were held in later March or early April. Since 2004 it is being held in late February or early March. The very first awards ceremony was held at the Hotel Roosevelt in Hollywood. The Ambassador Hotel and Biltmore Hotel were the venues till early 1940s. Next venue was Grauman's Chinese Theater, which was followed by the Shrine Auditorium. In 1949 the awards were presented at the Academy Award Theater. For the next ten years the venue was Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Next in line was Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica. Then the ceremony was shifted back to Los Angeles in 1968 at the Los Angeles Music Center and Shrine Auditorium and it was held there until 1988. In 2002 it was finally shifted to Kodak Theater in Hollywood.

Oscars recognizes talents in field such as acting, screenwriting, production, direction and technician. The awards categories can be broadly described as Best Production award, Best Director award, Best Actor award, Best Actress award, Best Supporting actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay award. The only three movies that have won awards in all the categories are "It Happened One Night"," One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Silence of the Lambs". This achievement is also known as the Big Five or Oscar Grand Slam. Three films hold the record for winning most number of Oscars, which are "Ben-Hur" in 1959, "Titanic" in 1997 and "The Return of the King" in 2003. On the awards night, invitees walk the red carpet in their best dresses, which create a fashion statement. The whole ceremony is broadcasted live on television all over America except Hawaii and Alaska, the first ever broadcast was in 1953 on NBC channel. There are performances by the nominees of the Best Original Song category and countless other performances. The telecast attracts over a billion viewers from all over the world as claimed by the Academy.

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Writing your first Screenplay

Introduction to the story, characters, location and time frame should usually be the start of the screenplay. Setup is an important part as the audiences have knowledge about the movie or the performance. It's better to start with a picture rather than an unknown voice on a blank screen as that will be good to absorb the audience into the story. The image can be of anyone, either that of the actor who plays the central role, or any place like his hometown, whatever conveys the theme? Like in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, a snake is shown crawling which later gets killed by Potter in order to save himself and the students.

Starting with characters interaction is also a good idea as the audience concentrate on them for a while to decide whether they want to pursue them or not and also keep them wondering about the plot of the story. But it's very important that whatever is portrayed in the first few scenes or the first ten minutes should be directly related to the story. If any irrelevant stuff is being displayed it will simply confuse the audience and can also make them lose interest.

After gaining audience's interest the next ten pages should explain about the unfolding of the story and at the same time holding the suspense of the story. Most of the characters can be introduced, environment can be created, past events can be enacted and the villain can also be introduced but that isn't a must. To build the suspense the villain can be pictured as a good guy but his reality comes to light after a bad incident or when he caught red handed by another character. But this shouldn't take long to test the patience of the viewers.

Next is the catalyst or the inciting incident which creates a twist in the movie. The normal flow of the story should be disrupted. The audience should be kept on their toes so as to retain their interest in the story. Questions like what do the characters want and what is obstructing them should be answered here. After these questions are answered the next question will be very important, that whether the evil-doer will win in his plan. Until this question isn't answered the audience waits for something to happen, they wait for some action or they wait for the climax of the movie. If the antagonist doesn't win the story will have a happy ending and the characters will live happily ever after. But if he does win, then the story will have a tragic end and sometimes will result in the death of the main character. This is known as the first act of the movie.

The catalyst or the inciting incident can be depicted as small scenes which when linked creates a mystery or with the receiving of vital information by some character or as a clash between the good and the bad characters. In the movie "Disturbia" the hero watches reports on the television about missing girls and were later found murdered. In another scene, the hero hears a scream of a girl from his neighbor's house, who is also the antagonist of the movie.

Plot point one is the climax of the movie. It occurs after the first act. They are usually meant to surprise the audience with something unexpected with the occurrence of a pivotal event. The main lead takes a risk and faces his opponent. And if it's a happy ending kind of a movie, the main lead gains victory over the villain by either killing him or making him learn a lesson. And if the story is supposed to have a sad ending, the villain gets away by causing harm to the good character. The last page should give an idea about what the future will be for all the characters and if it's a sequel, it should keep the audience guessing about the future.

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How do I break into show business?

Many people have the dream of breaking into Show Business one day in their life. While many have the inborn talent to make it big some may have to work hard to polish it. But irrespective of whatever everybody has to plan and take a right approach to get a break in Showbiz. But remember success doesn't come overnight; you have to work hard and even harder to make it big in the Show business. So the first lesson to learn is stay away from agents who promise you to make a big star overnight.

The first and foremost thing to know before entering the Show Business is that you should analyze yourself whether you have it in you to break into Show Business. Somebody can teach you acting but cannot make you an actor unless you have it in you called the desire. Question yourself whether you will be able face the challenges like different work environment, different style of living, new people, new places and many more that might come in your way and the tough competition ahead. A lot depends on how flexible and adaptable you are. If you have a rigid personality then forget about getting a break as this industry demands you to work with people having different kinds of personalities and the possibility of differences creeping in cannot be ruled out.

Once you analyze yourself and you are confident you must be willing to pack your bags and get started. But a piece of advise here, do not quit your job or even if you quit your job to move to a different place keep working part time to keep yourself financially supported. Do not wait until the time you are broke. Many big actors kept working until they made it big. Find a job which is flexible and doesn't come in the way of your auditions or plan things in such a way that you get to attend at least one audition a day.

Talking about auditions, do not go to the auditions unprepared. Best thing to do is join some classes which offer training in whatever area of Showbiz you want to get into. One of the benefits of joining the classes is that they will help you polish your skills according to the needs of the market you are intending to work in. Further they will help you market yourself better by making your resume work to the modern day requirements. The marketing part is important because you cannot do anything with all the talent you have unless you know how to market your talent and skills. You should be prepared for the interviews and also to give confident answers to the questions. Attend workshops organized by many artists. Be prepared to meet new people and socialize with the people who are in this business. Social networking is very important in this industry for the people to take note of your talents. Make it a point to attend events related to what you are pursuing.

The best thing to break into Show Business is to start with local market and then move to the big market. So find a good agent who knows the local market very well. Do not get into the trap of fraudulent agents. Good agents never ask for money upfront instead they work on commission i. e. they get money only when you are hired and start earning. You should research the market well to find a good agent if possible try to audit the agent and call his/her previous customers. Make a good portfolio and have some good photographs in it. It is important that you style you hair according to the demands of the market you will be going to work, so spend your money on getting a good hair stylist.

A person who gets all these things right and with a right attitude would have nobody stopping him/her on the way to making it big in Show Business.

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Clark Gable: A Short Bio

William Clark Gable who is popularly known as Clark Gable was born on February 1, 1901 in a small town called Cadiz in Ohio. Clark Gable was also known by nicknames such "Gabe" and "The King". Clark Gable had five marriages. The first two ended in divorce with Josephine Dillon and Ria Langham respectively. The third marriage took place with Carole Lombard but that too was short lived as she died after three years of marriage. Clark Gable married Sylvia Ashley nearly 7 years after the death of his third wife. But that too ended within 3 years of marriage. His last wife survived Clark Gable when he died of a heart attack on November 16, 1960.

Clark Gable's had a miserly childhood. He was only seven months old when his mother passed away. He quit his school at the age of 16 and began working in a tire factory in Akron, Ohio. Still his tough days were not over. He worked in stock companies, oil fields and sold ties. It was after watching the play The Bird of Paradise that he wanted to be an actor. In the year 1924 Clark Gable was able to reach Hollywood somehow with the help of Josephine Dillon who was a theater manager of Portland, Oregon who also coached him on acting. Josephine Dillon who later on became his first wife who was twelve years senior to him played an important role in helping Clerk Gable enter Hollywood.

Lionel Barrymore the famous actor and the director recommended Gable to MGM's Irving Thalberg that he be screen tested. After the screening Irving Thalberg was not impressed particularly with his looks. But the studio eventually hired him after several screen tests in 1930. He worked as a co-actor with Joan Crawford in 1931 film Dance, Fools, Dance. Public liked his on screen chemistry with Jean Harlow in Red Dust in 1932 which took to top of the popularity chart. There was a spat between Gable and MGM as refused to do assignment for which he was heavily punished by loaning him out to low rent paying Columbia Pictures. Again his destiny wanted him to be a star, working with Columbia Pictures in Frank Capra's "It happened One Night" Gabel won an Oscar which was one of the best romantic comedies to be ever produced.

He was called back by MGM with far more intense roles in movies like "Mutiny on the Bounty" in 1935 and "Gone with the Wind" in 1939 for which he was nominated to Oscar for best actor role. Gable left Hollywood for three years after his third wife Carole Lombard died in a plane crash along with her mother. He joined Army Corps and served Europe during World War II. He starred in "Adventure" in 1945, which was highly promoted, as his comeback movie. But the film had a lukewarm response. MGM thought that Gable's salary is too high and thus did not renew his contract with the studio. He starred in many unnoticeable films there on during 1940's and 1950's. During the filing of his last movie "Misfits" in 1961 he announced that he is going to become a father. But to his misfortune he passed away without seeing his son. Clark Gable was laid to rest in the shrine he built for his third wife Carole Lambord and her mother in their memory. He may be gone but to us he remains a legend even to this day and forever.


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Marilyn Monroe: Short Bio

To call Marilyn Monroe as an actress is a great injustice done to the great acting legend. In fact she was the authority in acting and if we go on writing about her a library of books wouldn't be enough to describe her. Such was her influence on films and fashion during her era that she is remembered even today as the goddess of fashion and powerhouse of acting. Even today's teenagers look at her as the role model. Marilyn Monroe was a class in her own and created an identity that would never vanish. Though she would have been in her 80's now but she is still remains dream girl of every man and every man compares the beauty of the woman with the beauty of Marilyn Monroe.

Marilyn Monroe was born on June 1, 1926 in Los Angeles, California. Her original name was Norma Jean Mortensen but for the millions of her fans she was "The Blonde Bombshell". This famous star had a very trouble childhood. Her mother was a film cutter at RKO, a widow and so insane that she abandoned her to foster home. Marilyn Monroe's misery didn't end there; she had a close brush with death at the age of 2 and was nearly raped at the age of 6. At the age of 9 she started doing kitchen work for church for a nickel a month. She used to work in an aircraft plant at the age of 16. She married a man who she used to call Daddy. She started modeling when he went into the military. But the marriage was short lived, as they got divorced in 1946. She amassed two hundred books of many great writers. She had a love for music and listened to Beethoven's music in particular. Also at the same time she joined acting classes at Hollywood's Actor's Lab. She also took literature classes at University of California, Los Angeles.

While the actress had a relatively easy modeling career it was not the case with her acting career. She had to be content with many small roles and she starred in dozen B movies with secondary roles. She got a break with Twentieth Century Fox, which ended within a year. She then signed a contract with Columbia Pictures, which was also for only six months. She starred in a small role in "The Asphalt Jungle" in 1950 and also in "All about Eve". Her performance interested the Studio and they went on to sign a 7-year contract with her. It was in the year 1953 that her career skyrocketed to new heights when she starred as a sex symbol in "Niagara" and "Gentleman prefer Blondes". She again starred in a super hit movie "The Seven Year Itch" in 1955, the year which also saw her getting married to one of the greatest baseball player Joe DiMaggio. Monroe wanted to change her sex bomb image and wanted to try something serious. She wanted to have a change over; she thus consulted director Lee Strasberg and took some sessions of psychoanalysis. She did look a transformed person in her nee movie in 1956 called "Bus Stop" which also won her critical acclaim. She also married playwright Arthur Miller the same year to everyone's surprise.

While her professional life was soaring her personal life was taking its toll on her. After two miscarriages and a gynecological surgery she fell prey to alcohol and pills. She had an affair with Yves Montand during the same time. She was not able to complete the movie "The Misfits" which was written by her departing husband Arthur Miller due to frequent exhaustions, the movie also happened to be Clark Gable's last one when he died after a year due to heart attack. She was again dropped from the movie "Something's Got to Give" due to frequent no shows and drug abuse.

Marilyn Monroe's life came to a tragic end on August 5, 1962 due to drug overdose at a young age of 36. Though Marilyn Monroe did only thirty movies in her life but her memorable movies would be remembered forever.

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The Golden Age of Hollywood

According to many experts and people the golden era of Hollywood was during 1930's and 1940's when the industry was thriving. But many experts agree that although 30's brought in the commercial success but the actual golden age from artistic point of view began in 1920s itself when it drew talent from all over the world. Before this period Hollywood was just like any other film making locations but it was after First World War that it created a niche for itself in the world. The obvious reason was the magnitude of damage the European countries suffered in the World War and subsequent economic hardships faced by them thus affecting the film industry. Before the advent of Hollywood as a top destination Germany was the most popular destination known for its artistic excellence. America benefited from the fact that it suffered relatively less casualties and loss of property compared to European Nations.

The popular names during the Golden Era were Clark Cable, Bette Davis, Charlie Chaplin, Bing Crosby, Spencer Tracy, Bob Hope, Ingrid, Judy Garland, Bergman, James Cagney, Jennifer Jones, Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor and Cary Gran, the list is endless. These actors became the house hold names throughout the country in 1930's and 1940's. The film industry during this era was so wealthy and powerful that studios like Paramount, MGM, Universal, 20th Century Fox and RKO kept adding more buildings to their studios. More than 7,000 films were released by these studios during the period of 1930's and 1940's. More than 75 million people flocked to see at least one film in a week during the peak years of Hollywood.

Also during this era the nation saw threats due to Second World War. When soon this threat turned into reality the presidents of these studios took this as an opportunity to make films that would bond countrymen together during these tough and dreadful years. They made many patriotic movies involving actors like Betty Grable and Van Johnson. These movies in a way also helped the war efforts. Apart from the movies there were numerous short films and documentaries made.

Some of the famous movies of the golden era include Memphis Belle: A Story of a Flying Fortress directed by William Wyler, Howard Hawks directed movies Sergeant York, To Have and Have Not. The commonality among all the movies of golden era was that almost all the movies ended on a happy note and patriotic ardor, which was liked by the people also. The movies made during the 1940's are referred to as "film noir" which in the literary context means "dark films". The movies were mostly pessimistic with tough male protagonist who was also a cynic and female protagonist would be attractive woman leading the males to a disastrous situation. Few examples of the Film Noir are Stranger on the Third Floor directed by Boris Ingster, High Sierra directed by Raoul Walsh, Shadow of a Doubt directed by Alfred Hitchcock and The Maltese Falcon directed by John Huston.

The comedies were also popular during that era, the main feature of the comedies were duos forming during this period. Some of the famous duos of actors were Bob Hope and Bing Crosby famous for their movie Road to Singapore, Abbott and Costello, Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. The movies that portrayed the lives of the westerns during the era were also popular with the people some of the examples being Fort Apache and She wore a Yellow Ribbon. But by the time these movies were released the downfall of the Hollywood has already begun due to the effects of the war, depression and arrival of television only to be not able to recover again.

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Katharine Hepburn: A Short Bio

Born on May 12, 1907 in Hartford, CT Katharina Houghton Hepburn was the best of the best actresses that Hollywood has seen. She was born to a highly respectable family, the mother being a feminist and a suffragist. He father was a doctor who led a struggle against the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Both her parents endorsed the birth control. Katharine owes her life to her parents for her upbringing that gave her enough freedom to be adventurous in life. She had 5 siblings one elder to her and four younger than her. One of the traumatic experiences of life was when her elder brother Tom died hanging by her aunt's attic. The incident had left an indelible trauma, which haunted her for years.

Hepburn went to Bryn Mawr College and she graduated in 1928 from there. She happened to meet Ludlow Smith in the college and she married him the same year she graduated. But the marriage didn't last too long and they got divorced in 1934. During her student days at the college she took active participation in theatre arts and she even appeared in 2 theatrical productions after her senior year in Baltimore, MD. Then she moved to New York and began training as an actor. She got her first break in theater in her first New York Production "The Big Pond". But that didn't go well and she was discontinued from the show only after one showing. But there was no dearth of work for her and she regularly worked in Broadway shows.

The turning point in her life came when she did a Broadway show in 1932 called "The Warrior's Husband" in which her performance was greatly appreciated and thus led her to many screen tests. She eventually ended up getting a role in the film "A Bill of Divorcement" released in 1932. She won rave reviews for her role in the film and there was no looking back for her after that. Many production houses lined up at her home to cast them in their movies. She had an excellent run of movies in 1930's which included her first Academy Award winning movie "Morning Glory" in 1933 for which she won the award for best actress. What better start can an actor get, being only a year old and winning an Oscar.

In the same year i. e. 1933 she again returned to New York Theater and worked in the Broadway Production "The Lake". The show didn't do many wonders to her career in fact the show was rejected by both the audience and the critics. She returned to Hollywood again in 1935 but with little success. Until the year 1938 she only had two successes, one in "Alice Adams" released in 1935 and other in "Stage Door" released in 1937, which also gave her second Oscar nomination. But then this period included more flops than hits so much so that everybody started calling her "box office poison". She was no more an actress in demand and was deemed as a commercial failure, which led her to return to Broadway again. She starred in "The Philadelphia Story" in 1938, which rehabilitated her career again. She gained the film rights of the show and made a movie by the same name and story in 1940 and that was a box office hit and also won her third Oscar nomination. She was back in business one more time. Her next movie was "Woman of the year", her first with Spencer Tracy. This was just a beginning of the long association they had there after which lasted for 8 more movies and twenty-five years of romantic love affair. She was once again nominated for the best actress award for this movie.

She continued to appear in movies in 1940's and 1950's which resulted in her winning seven Oscar nominations and two Oscars awards for best actress for movies "Guess who's coming" and "The Lion in Winter". She also worked in Shakespeare plays from 1955 to 1960. In 1970's she started making television movies and also appeared in several of them. She even won an Emmy for her role "Among the Ruins" in 1975 with Laurence Olivier. She was befittingly awarded with Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. She won another Oscar Award for best actress for her role in "On Golden Pond" released in 1982. Her last film was "Love Affair" in 1994 in which she had a guest appearance.

Although she was romantically linked with many men but she didn't marry any of them. The only longest romance was with Spencer Tracy, which Hepburn admitted. Hepburn became less and less social in her last years of life and she remained home mostly. Katharine Hepburn passed away on June 29, 2003 at her home giving the world glorious 96 years she lived.

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Writing for Television

People think that writing for television and film is the same but on the contrary both the industries are different. The main elements of the television industry are networks, studios and production companies. Writers are basically hired by a studio to write for a particular network or channel. They even have the rights to sell the material elsewhere. This material is then used by the production companies to bring the script into action.

The writers face two kinds of deals, a development deal and overall deal. Development deal requires the writer to write for only a single project. Only a single story is being developed for which the writer gets paid from $30,000 - $50,000. Overall deal requires the writer to write on a long term basis and the income is more than development deal.

After the initial filtering, about 4-10 writers are selected and they are placed in hierarchy. Showrunner is at the top and is the program creator. They are the ones which have maximum experience in writing and receive an Executive Producer status and earn up to a million. Later in the hierarchy of writing team are co-executive producers, supervising producer, producer, co-producer, and executive story editor and at the end is the staff writer, also known as baby writers as they are the starters.

Aspirant writers should start by joining classes which are taught by experienced TV writers. The classes help to get the basics right and the same time helps increase the friend circle, which will be of help at some point of time. Beginners can get a break by hiring an agent which has contacts as most of the shows don't hire baby writers and it would take about three years to get the break. But at this level originality of work is what matters. Original material relating to screenplays or even a sketch material will be of good help. One can also work on spec. Specs are trailers which give the outline of the story. This shows the grasping power of the writer. Plays should be carefully chosen when writing a Spec. Do not choose a series just because it is hot or is based on fiction. While choosing a play the writer should keep in mind what he finds interesting and what he wants to work on in future. After preparing the spec, send it to the showrunner of the same show, because the showrunner will be under the assumption that no one knows his show better than himself. It is advised to send the spec to showrunner of a similar show. Specs reflect the writing ability, the grasping ability, the scene structure sense, story narration style of the writer.

With these entire qualities one can land up as a writer's assistant and if a showrunner hires the starter, it would be a good boost to him. An assistant can also witness the actual proceedings of the show and the basics get brushed up. One must never quit writing. Even if a writer doesn't get anywhere for a short period of time at least he will improve his writing skills which will be of great use in the long run. The writer should meet the deadlines when on job. Sometimes the deadlines can be short too. So constant writing can train in that aspect too.

The writers have the greatest power. He can play with the mind of the viewer. He is responsible for the shaping of dreams of millions of viewers and all this can be achieved by constant practice.

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Kate Winslet: A Short Bio

Kate Winslet was born in Reading, U. K. on October 5, 1975 to Roger Winslet and Sally Bridges-Winslet. Her birth name was Kate Elizabeth Winslet. Having Blonde hair and hazel eyes Kate Winslet has proved herself to be one of the most beautiful and talented actresses to be around these days. The actress is popular for portraying courageous and straightforward pretty girl roles. The actress has built quite an impressive resume with movies ranging from Shakespearean tragedy to mystic movies to erotica. Acting was not difficult for her as she born in the family of stage actors. Her parents were stage actors, her maternal grandparents ran a theater and her uncle was a fixture in London's West End Theater. So, naturally it was easy for Kate to get into acting after having realized her acting talent at an early age. She started off doing gigs and she did her first gig at the age of eleven for kid's cereal. She took acting classes around the same age and also got formal training in a performing arts school. She kept doing regular stage shows for next few years. Ultimately this landed her into sitcoms doing bit roles.

Kate Winslet's first break in movies came at the age of seventeen when she took the role of an obsessive teenager in "Heavenly Creatures" released in 1994. Although the film got a lukewarm response at the box office it was highly acclaimed by the critics. Still a novice to Hollywood she attended a cattle call audition for Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility" in 1995. Kate Winslet who outperformed hundreds of other aspirants immensely impressed the film's star Emma Thompson. She played the character of plucky Marianne Dashwood. She was rewarded for hard work with a British Academy Award and also an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress and she holds the distinction of being nominated at the youngest age. Her string of impressive performances continued and she worked in two more period movies "Jude" in 1996 and "Hamlet" in 1996.

The turning point of Kate Winslet's career was her role as Rose DeWitt Bukater in the record-breaking movie "Titanic" in 1997. The role won her an Oscar nomination again for the best actress once again creating a record to get nominated twice in Oscars at the youngest age. Winslet was over the cloud nine after the resounding success of Titanic, which made her the star in demand. She played the role of adventurous soul searchers in "Hideous Kinky" in 1998 and "Holy Smoke" in 1999. Her association with period never seems to be over when she was back with a period film again in 2000 in "Quills". There was no dearth of Oscar nominations for Winslet as she was nominated to Oscar for best actress for the movie "Iris" but the luck eluded her once again and she lost it to Jennifer Connelly for "A Beautiful Mind". Winslet struggled at box office in 2003 but had a better year in 2004 with Jim Carrey in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" for which she got nominated again for the best actress. Kate Winslet seems to have a particular liking for period films when she starred again in a period film called "Finding Neverland" in 2005.

In 2006 she gave her voice to animated movie "Flushed Away" and also starred in "All the King's Men" opposite Sean Penn. She was also part of the extremely successful "Little children" which won her an Oscar nomination again for the best actress.

Apart from being a successful person Kate Winslet is known to be a good person who plays mischievous pranks and is extremely devoted. She got married to James Threapleton with a daughter in 1998, but the marriage was short-lived and they divorced in 2001. She got married for the second time with director Sam Mendes in 2003 and also gave birth to a son. With the amount of talent this actress has one would hope that she is rightly rewarded with an Oscar at least this time.

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Michael Jackson: A Short Bio

Born on August 29, 1958 in Gary, Indiana, Michael Jackson was the seventh child of the family of nine. They were six brothers and three sisters - Sigmund, Toriano, Jermaine, Marlon, Michael, Steven, Rebbie, Janet and La-Toya. He started his career by becoming the lead singer of the band Jackson 5, at the age of five. Jackie, Jermaine, Tito and Marlon were the other band members.

They played at local parties and clubs and also entered competitions which allowed them to grow as a band. They got their big first big break in 1968 when Bobby Taylor and The Vancouvers heard about the Jackson 5 and got them auditioned for Berry Gordy of Motown Records. They were signed immediately and they moved to California. "I want you back", "The love you save" and "I'll be there" were among their first few singles which became huge hits of America. They made fourteen albums with Motown till 1976 and Michael Jackson recorded four other albums. They later signed up with Epic and their group name was changed to The Jacksons, as Jackson 5 was the copyright of Motown. They made a total of six albums with Epic many of them being great hits until 1984.

Michael met Quincy Jones on the sets of "The Wiz", which was also his film debut. He played the role of crow along with Diana Ross who played Dorothy. He made "Off The Wall" with Quincy, who was the producer. It was the first album whose all four songs were US #1 singles and was a hit all over the world. "Thriller" was the largest selling album of all time, which was released in 1982. Over fifty million copies of the album were sold worldwide and the album had seven hits.

Michael Jackson laid great emphasis on the videos. He called them as short films of his albums and chose the best producers and directors to work with. He even used special effects and the latest technologies, his hit song Billie Jean was a good example of this. Excellent choreography was combined with detailed make-up to make this fourteen minute long video. This short film boosted the sales of the album, Thriller and it became the world's largest selling home video.

The trademark moonwalk was performed by Michael Jackson for the first time in the year 1984. He won eight Grammies in one night for the album "Thriller" and the narrative work on ET Storybook, breaking all records. He announced, on December 9, 1984 that he is splitting with The Jacksons on his last concert of The Jackson's Victory tour. After that he released his next album in 1987 named "Bad". Michael also wrote his autobiography in 1987 which talked in detailed about his personal life and singing career. He was given the title of the Artist of the Decade for his albums "Thriller" and "Bad". He released his fourth album "Dangerous" in collaboration with Sony Music in 1991. After his first solo world tour in 1987 he took off for another world tour in 1992. His song "Heal the World" was written on the pages of history and won the hearts of many. In the same year he started Heal the World Foundation for the homeless and orphan children of the world.

His marriage with Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of the legendry Elvis Presley lasted for only one and a half year and they were divorced in 1996. During that period he released his fifth album "History" in 1995. To promote that album this time he took a world tour for two years. Debbie Rowe was his second wife and also his nurse when he was getting treatment for skin disorder. They had a child named Prince Michael Joseph Jackson Jr. who was born on February 13, 1997. The next year they were gifted with a daughter Paris Michael Katherine Jackson who was born on April 3, 1998.

"Blood on the Dance Floor" was his sixth solo album, which was released in 1997. He also made a thirty eight minute short film named Ghost to promote his album, in which he played five different characters. He reunited with his the Jacksons on his concert in New York to celebrate his thirteenth anniversary as a solo artist. Many other superstars shared the stage with him like Whitney Houston, Destiny's Child, Shaggy and others. He released" Invisible" and "You Rock My World in 2001".

Jackson had his own share of controversies in recent years when he was accused of child abuse charges. After going through years of trauma he was finally found not guilty. Jackson now lives in a Middle Eastern country called Bahrain with his brother Jermaine far away from the shadow of the public and God only knows when he will return to the music again.

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The History of MGM

Although MGM was originally found in 1915 as Triangle Pictures located in Culver City which was 7 miles south west of Hollywood. Thomas Ince, D. W. Griffith and Mack Sennett then owned the Studio. Samuel Goldwyn then acquired the studio in 1918 and the name was changed to Goldwyn Studios. It is then when it got its Leo the Lion logo. It merged with Metro Pictures and Mayer Pictures in 1924 and the studio went onto become the greatest studio in the history of Hollywood by the name Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) on April 16, 1924. The inauguration took place with a grand ceremony attended by Former President both President Calvin Coolidge and famous performer Will Rogers. This is how the legendary MGM Studios was born.

MGM became the powerhouse of cinema pretty soon and was renowned for its lavish sets, stylish films and unmatched array of Film stars in their productions. It was a dream for many new actors to work for MGM. Within a year of its formation MGM took over Universal Studios as the biggest producer of movies in the year 1925 and retained this distinction for next quarter of the century. The studio also inherited the classic silent movie Ben-Hur that was under production when the studio was formed. The movie was the most expensive silent movie ever made with the cost of production of over $5 million. The movie was also a blockbuster hit.

The Studio was city in itself having its own police, fire, telegraph and post departments. It had everything that a city has so that a complete movie can be shot inside the studio without ever going to different places. With the advent of talkies in the late twenties the Studio attracted best of the talent of that era with big names like Clark Gable, Jean Harlow, Robert Montgomery, Myrna Loy, Jeanette MacDonald, Nelson Eddy, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Jimmy Stewart, Elizabeth Taylor etc. the list goes on.

During the peak years MGM churned as many as fifty films a year and it has as many as five thousand employees. The studio once bragged that there are more stars in MGM than sky. The studio acquired one more building for administration in 1938, which was named after Irving Thalberg who was the head of production. Then Louis B. Mayer took over the reins until 1951 when he lost power to Dore Schary. The golden age of the studio was from its inception to the Second World War during which it gave memorable movies like 'The Wizard of Oz', 'Gone with the wind', 'The Tarzan Adventures', 'The Thinman Series' and many Marx Brothers comedies. 'Gone with the wind' is still the highest earning movie till date if you adjust for inflation. MGM movies created many more records with Ben-Hur made in 1959 bagging 11 Oscars which was a record until recently when it was equaled by 'Titanic' and 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King'.

The golden era of MGM ended after the Second World War when it became expensive to produce large number of movies and the when viewers attention was diverting towards the television. The 1950's and 1960's saw one of the worst periods in the history of the studio with company making loses for the first ever time. To offset these loses and to get into the television market slowly they sold the rights of their movie 'The Wizard of Oz' to CBS which made a lot of money back then. But even as the company tried to come out of the financial turmoil it sank further deep each year. The studio was ultimately sold to Edgar Bronfman, Sr., a Canadian Investor. When he too was not able to manage the studio he sold it to Nevada millionaire Kirk Kerkorian who was more interested in it as a real estate property than a studio. He sold the vast collection of Studio's props, furnishings and memorabilia; the lot was used for a huge real estate project.

The company almost stopped producing movies in 1970's and 1980's. The company acquired United Artists in 1981 and in 1986 Ted Turner bought it. It again changed many owners in 1990's. In 2004 there was a cat race to buy MGM with Turner, Sony and many other big companies bidding to acquire it. But the highest bidder proved to be Sony with the support of other firms like Comcast and venture capital bankers Texas Pacific Group and Providence Equity Partners.

MGM ventured into theatrical distribution in 2006 releasing over fourteen films in the year. The studio also restructured itself and is once again back in business and keeping with the modern day demands by announcing in 2007 that all MGM movies can be downloaded through Apple's iTunes. With the company molding itself to the needs of the digital world we only hope that the company regains its lost reputation once again.

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History of Universal Studios

Universal Studios or Universal Pictures or Universal City Studios is one of the largest American film studios. It was established in 1906 when Carl Laemmle started his first theater in Chicago. He started by playing short silent movies. He later switched to production and distribution. To start the production of his own films, he opened the Independent Moving Picture Company in New York in 1909. His first work, Hiawatha, was released in the same year.

Laemmle's dream was to make his presence felt all over America. His next target was the west where he bought the Nestor Studio in Hollywood. He formed the Universal Film Manufacturing Company on June 8, 1912. This company which was New York based, incorporated the already existing Independent Moving Picture Company and five other companies into it. By that time he had already conquered the east and the west coast of America and now he decided to centralize his production companies. He asked Isadore Bernstein to buy plots in Los Angeles. The two hundred and thirty acre land bought became the Universal City, the entertainment center of the world. Although film production here began in 1914 and in 1915 it was officially inaugurated on March 15, 1915. The first production of this studio was Damon and Pythias. Many films were released after the studio opened including comedies, drama, action, and adventure.

Some of the popular movies that were produced in this studio are "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", "Dracula", "Bride of Frankenstein"," The Phantom of the Opera", "The Mummy", and "All Quiet on the Western Front". Laemmle developed a habit of inviting guests to watch the movie making procedure and to give suggestions to improve them. It then became a tradition at Universal studios, and later temporarily visitors were banned because of the disturbances on the sets.

Carl retired in 1936 and sold the company to Standard Capital Company. In 1946, Universal merged with International and it was named as Universal-International. In 1947, the company produced "Hamlet" which won the Best Picture Academy Award. In 1952, Universal-International was sold to Decca Records. Decca Universal gave many hits in Milt Rackmil. Music Corporation of America, Inc. bought the Universal City studio and shifted its studio there and both the companies merged officially in 1962. Jules Stein was the founder of MCA, Inc., who was later joined by Lew Wasseman in 1936. At first this company prepared bands to perform in clubs and parties. Later it became the leading talent agency and conquered the entertainment world. They made motion pictures and also serials for television. Later they also ventured into the world of musical entertainment around 1960s to 1980s. The tradition of tours was started once again.

The company was taken over by Matsushita Electrical Industrial Company Ltd. in 1991. The Seagram Company Ltd. Bought large number of shares in 1995 and MCA Inc. was finally named as Universal Studios on December 10, 1996. The Universal International television operations merged with USA Networks in 1998. At the end of the year the company took over PolyGram and Universal Music Group became the largest music company in the world. The Seagram collaborated with Vivendi and Canal in June 2000 and today Universal Studios is a part of Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.

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History of Warner Bros

Based in Burbank, California Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. is one of the largest producers of television programs and films. The other companies which are a part of Warner Bros. are Warner Bros. Studios, Warner Bros. Television, Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Home Video, Warner Bros. Animation, The CW Television Network and DC Comics. The founders of the studio were the Warner Brothers - Harry Warner, Albert Warner, Sam Warner and Jack L. Warner. The first three brothers started with projecting movies in the Ohio and Pennsylvania. They bought their first theater the Cascade in 1903. They also founded Duquesne Amusement and Supply Company for distribution purpose in Pittsburg.

They began film production by the onset of World War I and they soon opened the Warner Bros. studio in 1918. Sam and Jack Warner were into film production and the other two brothers handled finance and distribution. Their first big success came after the creation of the character "Rin Tin Tin". It became so popular that it was used in twenty six subsequent movies. They bought the pioneer Vitagraph Company, which had presence all over the nation, with the help of loan taken from Goldman Sachs. They also took over many radio stations and also constructed many theaters. They incorporated music and special effects in their production and were the first ones to start talking pictures.

The Warner Bros. bought the Stanley Company and gained shares and control of the First National Pictures and the merger was named as A Warner Bros. - First National Picture. After the merger their first all-talking and all-color film caused the whole industry to change overnight. They made many musicals after that and after a point of time, the audience wanted a change. The production head Darryl F. Zanuck now concentrated on making more serious and realistic productions. These productions were said to be encourage gangsters and thus faced many censorships. The studios then changed their course of direction to historic dramas, melodramas and adaptation of best sellers to avoid scissors of censor. Though the Warner Bros. were ruling the industry for a while, MGM slowly took over them after some time.

In 1930s, Warner Bros. took a plunge into cartoons with Looney Tones cartoons. They launched their own Warner Bros. Records in 1958 but by 1960s the motion pictures were on a decline. Finally they decided to sell the studio to Seven Arts Productions and the company was renamed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts. Steve Ross purchased this company later and made Ted Ashley as the head of the studio and renamed it as Warner Bros. Pictures. Warner Bros. joined with Columbia Pictures for film distributions till 1988 and then made a joint venture with Walt Disney Pictures till 1993. Along with Tribune Company of Chicago they launched The WB Network in 1995.

"Buffy the Vampire Slayer", "Dawson's Creek"," Smallville", "7th Heaven" and" Charmed" caught the eye of millions of people. 7th Heaven went for eleven seasons making it the longest running family drama and Charmed went for eight seasons making it the longest running drama with actresses in the lead. CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. replaced The WB Network with The CW Television Network. They obtained rights to produce the famous Harry Potter series in the end of 1990s and the first Harry Potter movie was released in 2001 and till date a total of four Harry Potter movies have been released.

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Charlie Chaplin: A Short Bio

What could be said about this great and prolific actor? An article isn't sufficient to describe the life of this immortal legend. A library of books written on him may still fall short of portraying the life of this never to be forgotten hero of Hollywood who gave innumerable memorable movies to us. Though he rose to fame mostly due to his silent movies but he conveyed so many things that many actors couldn't do through speech. Charles Spencer Chaplin popularly known as Charlie Chaplin was born in Walworth, London, U. K. on April 16, 1889. The people had given him nick names like Charlie, Charlot and The Little Tramp.

Charlie Chaplin was born in the family of entertainers. His parents Charles and Hannah Chaplin were musical entertainers. No wonder why he took to stage so early. He was only five years old when he had to sing a song on his mother's behalf as she became ill. There was no stopping this boy who toured in a musical called "The Eight Lancaster Lads" at the age of eight. The wonder kid continued his marvelous work appearing in "Giddy Ostende" at London's Hippodrome. After that he worked with Fred Karno who had an English Vaudeville Troupe until the age of twenty-four. The troupe also brought him to New York in 1921 at the age of twenty one. He got his first break in December 1913 with Mack Sennet of Keystone. He moved to Hollywood, California the every next month to begin his long carrier both as actor and director. Charlie Chaplin's first movie was "Making a Living" which released in February 1914. He acted and directed about thirty-five films with Keytone before moving to Essanay in 1915 where he did another fourteen films. Then he signed up with Mutual in 1916 and did another 12 films. He worked with Mutual until 1917. Then again next year he joined First National, which was later, acquired by Warner Bros. After a year i. e. in the year 1919 Charlie Chaplin formed United Artists collaborating with Mary Pickford, D. W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks. Then he gave his first ever full-length movie "The Kid" in 1921 produced under the banner of United Artists which was directed by him.

Charles Chaplin won a special award in 1929 Oscar Awards for his excellence in Writing, Producing, Directing and Acting for the movie "The Circus" which was released in 1928. Charlie Chaplin has the premiere of his 1931 movie "City Lights" in London where he stayed until 1932 and then returned to U. S. Chaplin's next movie was five years called "Modern Times which was released in 1936. The movie was one of the biggest all time hits. He made another movie after four years by name "The Great Dictator" in 1940 in which he portrayed as Hitler, which was criticized by many. But the film created a stir at the box office and also won many awards. He made Monsieur Verdouz in 1947 and released a talkie in 1952 called "Limelight" which is still remembered as his best talkie.

Chaplin had his share of controversies too. The U. S. Authorities accused him of spreading communism through his movies. After being devastated by these allegations he left for Switzerland. While being outside U. S. he produced two more films "A King in New York" in 1957 and his last film "A Countess from Hong Kong" in 1967. It saw a bad end to this wonderful artist's works when it flopped on the box office, which was the only failure that the great actor had in his professional career. He tried his hands at new scores in 1969 including "The Kid" and "The Circus". Academy Award honored him for his contribution to the film industry in 1972. Queen Elizabeth II knighted Charlie Chaplin in 1975. Charlie Chaplin ascended to peace on Christmas Day of 1977 while in his sleep leaving an era of artistic brilliance behind him and cherished memories to the avid viewers of his movies.

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Your First Screen Test

To begin with a positive note, screen tests are not something that is impossible to crack although it might seem tough and nerve wrecking for many. But remember you don't get these opportunities too often so you have to make the best use of it to demonstrate your talent to the talent agents, casting directors and directors. You should not be let down by the outcome of the screen test and always look ahead, you should always take it in a right sense after all the failures are stepping-stones to success. Keep in mind only one fact that you have to work hard towards your goal and having a positive attitude can do that. Apart from the attitude, one should be passionate and ambitious to achieve goals. Also enjoying the work you do makes the quest easier.

Do not forget to take your resume and a headshot most preferably 8"X10" with you to the audition. Some talent agents also need social security number, so take it with you. Sometimes the aspiring actors are called in the number of hundreds, be prepared to stand in line for hours. But most of the times you are called for screen test through an invitation. It is very common that you will get few pages of the script that you may be asked to read during the screen test. Read the script thoroughly and get into the character and ask yourself questions about the character. After getting into the skin of the character you should learn your lines properly using the best way you can.

Some people say to dress according to the type of the character and some say dress lightly so that you feel comfortable during the screening, go with whatever you think is more comfortable for you but you can also combine light dressing with the dressing of the character by complimenting your dressing for instance with a hat for a cowboy role. It's a good idea to do some exercising and rehearsing before the audition and give ample time to relax in between. Also avoid blabbering when you stand in the line after signing up this will ensure that you are focused on the screen test.

Usually the casting directors will take the first call and talk to you and instruct you to begin. It's the time to show what you in you. Be confident and focused on the character and show your talent to the casting director. Important thing to remember is that everyone sitting in the screen test is not your enemy, but they are probably there to get the right person for the role, so remove that fear and perform the scene that you have been given. Also, it is a good idea to re-enact that scene in your own way to show the creative side of yours. Keep in mind to keep safe distance from the casting director; do not try to get too friendly either. Don't be so over enthusiastic that you destroy the settings.

Things should move on life and prepared to take criticism and hear 'no'. You got to take life as it comes and move on and should look forward to what is coming up next. If the screen test goes well you will definitely get a call again for another screen test with select few actors and if you get through this one who knows you might land up getting the role.

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Tom Hanks: A Short Bio

Born on July 9, 1956 in Concord, California Thomas Jeffrey Hanks ala Tom Hanks is one of the gifted Hollywood stars with immense acting talent and perfection. Tom Hanks did not have the happiest of childhoods, as his parents got divorced when he was only 5 years old. Tom was third of four children born to Amos and Janet Hanks. His parents were avant-gardes in the development of marriage dissolution law in California. He moved around with his father changing schools and changing stepmothers and he was just confused.

After finally settling down in Oakland, CA Tom began taking part in high school plays. He continued to act in plays while attending California State University. Then he left the university to pursue his acting career further.

Hanks went to the city of opportunities, New York. This is when he got married to actress/producer Samantha Lewes on January 24, 1978. The marriage lasted nearly 9 years and they got divorced on March 19, 1987. Tom Hank's first break as an actor came in a low budget movie called "He Knows You're Alone" in 1980 where he was reportedly paid just $800 for the movie. After few months he moved to Los Angeles and co-starred in the TV Sitcom "Bosom Buddies" where he portrayed a man forced to dress as a woman in order to stay at a women's only hotel. The show didn't touch cord with the viewers and was shelved after only two seasons. He also worked in TV Series like "Taxi" and "Family Ties". His acting career remained silent until 1984 when he got a big break in a Disney Film's comedy called "Splash" which was about a mermaid in 1984. The movie proved to be a box office hit and the audience liked the charm and comic timing of the actor. Tom Hank was reportedly paid $70,000 for this movie.

Hanks didn't carry the success that he got after "Splash" for too long. He appeared in many comedies which went unnoticed until he starred in "Big" in 1988 where he gave a powerful performance portraying the role of a child in a grown up man's body for which he also won a Oscar nomination. He became darling to the audience's hearts and that is the reason why they ignored the flop movie "Bonfire of the Vanities" in 1990 and looked forward to his upcoming movies rather. He once again made a comeback with the movie "Penny Marshall's A League of Their Own" in 1992. The success of this movie fetched him a role in another comedy called "Sleepless in Seattle" in 1993, which was a huge hit at the box office. He also portrayed the role of a homosexual in 1993 movie "Philadelphia" for which he won an Oscar for best actor. He won an Oscar for best actor again the next year for the movie "Forrest Gump" in 1994 achieving a rare double only the second time in the history of academy awards.

The actor had a wonderful run with movies like "Apollo 13" in 1995, "Toy Story" in 1995 and "Saving Private Ryan" in 1998. His recent movies include "Toy Story 2" in 1999, "Cast Away" in 2000 for which he again won an Oscar nomination and controversial "The Da Vinci Code" in 2006. Tom Hanks is a family man married to actress Rita Wilson who he met on the sets of the movie "Volunteers" in 1985. Tom Hanks continues his professional life hosting "Saturday Night Live". Entertainment Weekly has reportedly chosen him as the only actor right now who is worth more than $20 million. Surely with the bundle of talent that this actor has and his selective approach to movies there is no match to this actor.

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Meryl Streep: A Short Bio

Born on June 22, 1949 in Summit, New Jersey Meryl Streep is said to be the greatest living actress in Hollywood today by the film fraternity and the viewers. Her birth name was Mary Louise Streep. Her father Harry Streep was an executive at a pharmaceutical company and mother Mary was a commercial artist. Her parents were unique while his father loved playing piano her mother was good at singing and she loved singing. Thus Meryl and her two younger siblings grew up listening to music. As obvious Meryl also dreamt of becoming an opera singer one day and she started taking singing lessons at the age of twelve to fulfill her dream. Meryl was raised in suburban Bernardsville where she attended Bernardsville High School. She was a cheerleader, homecoming queen and also acted in many school productions in her school where she graduated in 1967. She majored in Drama and English at Vassar College. After she graduated from Vassar College in 1971 she took admission in Yale University School of Drama in New Haven, Connecticut where she also appeared in about thirty theater productions and graduated in 1975. She studied costume design and playwriting at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Streep's professional stage debut was in the play "The Playboy of Seville" in 1971. Streep went to New York to launch her Broadway career. Her Broadway career took off with "Trelawney of the Wells" in 1975. Her critically acclaimed performance in Tennessee Williams' "+27 Wagons Full of Cotton" was also nominated for Tony Award. Streep forayed into television and made her debut with Robert Markowitz's "The Deadliest Season" in 1977. The same year she also made her silver screen debut in "Julia". The next year proved to be even better for Streep as she won an Emmy award for her role in "Holocaust" in 1978 and also got married to sculptor Don Gummer on September 15, 1978. She also starred with Robert De Niro in Michael Cimino's "The Deer Hunter" in 1978. Although she played a miniscule role in the movie, her energy and acting prowess fetched her first of many Oscar nominations she got.

Streep's next movie was "Manhattan" in 1979 in which she portrayed the role of a ruthless lesbian and ex-wife of Woody Allen. She also starred in "Southern Mistress" the same year. But one of the best breaks in her life came with the movie "Kramer vs. Kramer" in 1979 where her blistering interpretation of the scarred and torn Joanne Kramer won her the Best Supporting Actress Award in 1980. She won many other awards for portraying the same role. Streep continued rising to the top with variety of roles specially her double role in the movie "The French Lieutenant' Woman" in 1981and her stellar performance in the holocaust movie "Sophie's Choice" in 1982 for which she won an Oscar for Best Actress. Many of her notable movies also include "Silkwood" and "Out of Africa" in 1985 winning her Oscar nomination again for best actress. With her powerful roles in the movies she did, she raised the quality of work so much so that expectations also became tremendously high. One of the reasons why the actress was not able to sustain well in the 1990's, the other reason being the genre of the movies didn't suit her style any more.

Of recently Streep starred in "Adaptation" and "The Hours" in 2002, the former also earned her an Oscar nomination again. Streep also won an Emmy in 2004 for a mini-series "Angels in America". The actress continues to do quality work in movies and television programs even to this day and gives viewers opportunity to witness a true talent and perfection which is very rare these days.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger: A Short Bio

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger born in Austria is a very versatile actor along with being a great bodybuilder and now a politician and the Governor of California. He was the second son of his parents. His father being a police officer taught him great values and brought him up in a very strict and disciplined environment.

Arnold had a great sports personality like his father. He had an ambition to be a body builder from his childhood and thus he began bodybuilding at the age of fifteen when he joined the soccer team of Austria. At the age of eighteen, in 1965 he joined the army and that's when he became serious about his body and started taking a strict diet. While in the army he took part in the Mr. Junior Europe contest in 1965 and won the competition. From then on there was no looking back for him. He won enormous number of professional titles after which he went to take part in the 1968 Mr. Universe competition. He won that one too and also became the youngest winner, at the age of twenty. He even won the Mr. Olympia titles consecutively for six years but lost to Sergio Oliva when he competed for the first time. He was given the nickname "The Austrian Oak" for his great body. He then left the competition saying that he wanted to give a chance to other talents too. George Butler made a documentary on Arnold's body building training named Pumping Iron. Besides body building being his ultimate dream, he entered Hollywood with his first movie "Hercules Goes to New York" in the year 1970. He won the Golden Globe Award for best new actor for his performance in the movie Stay Hungry, in 1976. His character in "Conan" movie required him to train vigorously and all the horse riding, sword training and running made him so strong that he required only eight weeks training for the competition. This time too, he won it. But it led to a controversy that the competition didn't support talent but popularity.

Arnold's movies didn't click at the box office until he did "Terminator" in 1984, which was followed by other hits like "Twins", "Total Recall", "Commando" and "Kindergarten Cop". He started a construction firm whose profits were used to fund another small business of mail order of fitness material such as books and videocassettes. He even got a degree in business and international economics from the Wisconsin University to take his business to a further higher level. Within few years was living a luxurious life. He even wrote articles for body building magazines, Muscle & Fitness, and Flex. After being appointed as the governor he was promoted as the executive editor of both the magazines.

His first affair was with Barbara Outland Baker who was an English teacher but they split in 1974. After that Arnold dated Maria Shriver, niece of former president John F. Kennedy for eight years and then got married to her in 1986 and they live together ever since then and the couple have four children. In August 2003 he announced his decision to stand for the elections of Governor of California. He was elected on October 7, 2003 and he replaced Gary Davis with nearly 3.4 million votes in his favor. He was re-elected again in November 2006. He is a republican. He was ranked among the top hundred people who shaped the world by time. He continues to perform his duty as the Governor of California and is being lauded for bringing in many reforms.

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Cary Grant: A Short Bio

One of the greatest actors that Hollywood has ever seen Cary Grant was born on January 18, 1904 in Horfield, Bristol, U. K. His original birth name was Archibald Alexander Leach. Cary Grant was a tall, handsome and Charismatic person. No wonder why everyone during that era wanted to be like him. The actors had an average lower middle class childhood. It got even tougher after his mother was sent to a mental institution after she fell mentally ill when he was only 9 years old. But this fact had not been told to him until he reached his late twenties. He dropped out from school at the age of fourteen to join Bob Pender's troupe of comedians by lying about his age and forging the signature of his father on the letter he submitted to join the troupe.

The troupe enabled him to learn many skills including pantomime and acrobatics. He toured many English counties with the Pender Troupe. The destiny beckoned him and he was selected to go to the U. S. along with seven other Pender Troupe boys. Cary performed in the show called Good Times on Broadway, which ran for good 456 performances. This gave him enough opportunity to show his talent and to get used to the country. Then he left the Troupe and gave a screen test at Paramount Pictures in 1931. This is when he changed his name to Cary Grant from Archibald Alexander Leach.

Cary Grant debuted in Hollywood in "This is the Night" which was released in 1932. After this movie Cary Grant was the automatic choice for Mae West in her movies "I'm no Angel" and "She done him wrong", both releasing in the year 1933. But the real break came to him in the movie "Sylvia Scarlett" in the year 1935 with the actress Katharine Hepburn, the actress who happened to be his co-star in many of his forthcoming movies. It is with the help of this movie that Grant proved his mettle and was looked at as an actor to look forward to and tipped as the next Hollywood star. After his contract with Paramount Pictures came to an end in 1937 he decided not to join any Studio, which was standard at that time, and work independently by choosing his own scripts to work for. The move resulted in Grant giving some of the finest and most memorable comedies ever. Some of his famous comedies include "Bringing up Baby" and "Holiday", both released in the year 1938 with none other actress Katharine Hepburn; "My Favorite Wife" and "The Awful Truth" in the year 1940 with Iren Dunne; "Gunga Din in 1939 with Victor McLagen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.; "His Girl Friday" in 1940 with Rosalind Russell and "The Philadelphia Story" in 1940 with Jimmy Stewart and Katharine Hepbum again.

Grant retired at the age of 62 from movies to take his new role of a father. Grant had a rocky married life. He was married five times. All his marriages ended in divorce except his last when he was survived by his wife after his death in 1986. He had only 1 child, a daughter from his fourth wife Dyan Cannon. He had a very close friendship with Randolph Scott for which many doubted him as a homosexual, which apparently he wasn't. According to some of the people who were close to him say that he shared a brotherly relationship with him and thus should not be doubted as something sexual. Grant was nominated twice for the best actor in Oscar but never won any award. But he was honored with a special Oscar in 1969. Though Grant died due to a stroke in November 29, 1986 he left behind a legacy of comedy movies behind for generations to come. The Empire Magazine of U. K. ranked Cary Grant the 7th most popular movie stars of all time, which he truly deserves.


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The Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are being hosted on an annual basis to honor best music talent in the record industry and is considered equivalent to Academy Awards. Originally called as the Gramophone Awards it was started by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Usually held in February, it constitutes nearly twenty genres of music with hundred and eight categories. The categories can be broadly described as Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Artist of the Year to name a few. Regular members of the voting committee are Jon Bon Jovi, Beyonce Knowles, Prince and Paul Simon. The Recording Academy and record companies choose the works of artist who are really talented. Over hundred and fifty members review this selection and assign the works to their proper category. The members of each category who are experts in their respective fields reviews them and votes for the nominees. Deloitte Touche, who are the major independent accounting firm, then tabulates the ballots. The works, which have been produced in a time limit of past twelve months, are considered, starting from October 1.

For many years the venue for the Grammy Awards was The Shrine Auditorium, Los Angeles, California that was also the home of the Oscars. But once the categories began expanding, the venue was shifted to the Staple Center, Los Angeles, California. The nominees and other non-presenting attendees are expected to pay for the ticket to attend the ceremony. In 2007, the entree fee for the members was $750, which later went up to $2500. To attend the official post party, additional $250 should be paid. All the attendees get a gift bag with lots of goodies in it like perfumes, jewelry, CDs and gift certificates with the Grammy award seal.

The ceremony is telecast live on television and there are several live performances by renowned artists. The first Grammy Awards was aired on ABC channel in 1971. Presently it is being aired on CBS channel. On February 10, 2008, the fiftieth Annual Grammy Awards will be celebrated at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

From time to time, the Grammy Awards have been blamed that they consider only the mainstream music and do not take alternative groups into consideration. The rumor was further heightened by criticism that the big record companies are influencing Grammy Awards. Many even say that Grammy Awards doesn't honor the artist's talent; rather it's just held to promote the music industry as a whole and never understood the sentiments of the common people. The critics also blame the Grammy Awards to use this platform for advertising the recording industry. Many also question the nominating and the voting process from time to time.

Sir Georg Solti received the largest number of Grammy awards in a year. He was the conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and he received a total of thirty-one Grammys. U2 is the band, which received the most number of Grammys, a total of twenty-two. In a single night Rick Rubin won the maximum awards. He received five awards at the 49th Annual Grammy Awards. Grammy Awards have even faced fraud when the reality of the pop group Milli Vanilli came to light. The group just lip-synced the song sung by someone else, which resulted in their Grammies being taken back from them instantly. But the awards still go on attracting people from all walks of life.

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History of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The California based Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation formed after the merger of two companies Fox Film Corporation and Twentieth Century Pictures in 1935. Darryl F. Zanuck, Raymond Griffith, William Goetz and Joseph Schenck started the Twentieth Century Pictures in 1933 and the Fox Film Corporation's founder was William Fox who founded it in the year 1915.

William Fox built many theaters and created many legends in his impressive career. Sound Fox bought the rights of a German film sound processing technique and Fox was able to produce movies with music and effect track in 1926. The company was growing and more land was required for expanding. He bought around three hundred acre of land in Beverly Hills where he built the Movietone City. After the death of his rival, Marcus Loew, William thought of buying Loew's Inc. It had nearly two hundred theaters and also MGM studios under it. The deal was made and the companies were officially merged in 1929. But the owner of MGM studios, Louis B. Mayer, wasn't happy with this idea and he revolted by calling on the Justice Department's anti-trust unit and using political influence. Luck wasn't on William's side and he was injured in a car crash and by the time he was back to normal again the stock market crashed and he was totally bankrupt. He lost all his fortune and was even had to go to jail. The only way out was to merge with another larger company. This is when the merger of Twentieth Century and Fox took place. Fox had nearly two hundred theaters under its belt, but at that time the Twentieth Century was in better financial condition, so the name of the new company was Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, which began functioning on May 31, 1935. Schenck became the chief executive and Zanuck was the head of production. The leading actor of this company Will Rogers was killed in a plane crash and the leading actress Janet Gaynor also began losing popularity. Zanuck then decided to sign up new artists with some fresh talent. That was when Tyrone Power, Betty Grable, Henry Fonda, Sonja Henie, and Don Ameche became a part of the Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation. They made many musical-dramas and movies on famous biographies, which became huge hit with the audiences.

The fortune of the company was rising rapidly and it became the third profitable studio of America, by overtaking RKO and MGM. During the World War II, Zanuck went to serve the country and his partner William Goetz took over the company. He made many lighthearted movies. But after Zanuck returned from the war, he wanted to produce some serious entertainment and made movies like "Gentleman's Agreement", "Pinky", "Wilson" and "Boomerang" which also fell into adult films category.

After the World War, public were more attracted to television. Fox started experimenting on new ideas so as to bring the crowd back to the theater. With the help of three projectors the movie was projected on a huge concave curve, which created the illusion of three-dimensional character. The effect was achieved without polarized glasses with the help of French anamorphic projection, and this feature was named Cinemascope. They made other theater owners to switch to this technology and also bore the conversion costs. "The Robe" and "How to Marry a Millionaire" were the first experimental films using this technology. After seeing their success other rival studios also adopted this technique. Although this attracted audiences for a while the numbers started to diminish again by 1956. The same year Zanuck announced his resignation.

Buddy Adler fitted into the shoes of Darryl Zanuck but he also died after a year. Others who followed couldn't do anything to bring success to the company. Producer Walter Wagner convinced Elizabeth Taylor to star in "Cleopatra" and the movie proved to be a hit. Actress Marilyn Monroe was also roped in to work in "Something's Got to Give". But due to her untimely death the film was left uncompleted. Other movies were also rushed and Spyros Skouras the successor of Buddy Adler wasn't able to manage the company properly. Zanuck returned back again and somehow made the directors to take him back. He made his son Richard Zanuck the president. At first Zanuck was able to give big hits like "The Sound of Music" but his credential were questioned again there string of flops after that. Eventually he was removed from the company and president Dennis Stanfill and production head Alan Ladd, Jr. pulled the company back. Many investors joined the bandwagon and great hits were produced ever after that.

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