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 Review The Night of the Tycoons
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couldron
SS novice field agent

1438 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2007 :  16:48:32  Show Profile


Thankfully this is the last of the Artemus’ less episodes.

This is another one of those mysteries of who is killing off the board members. There is only one agent Jim who is saddled with a rich spoiled son of the first victim whose father was the late chairman. We are told at the beginning who the murderer is but this is the best misdirection. It couldn’t possibly be that obvious but it was. Robert Conrad was not suppose to be doing any dangerous stunts but he had other ideas. Just after the murder of the board member at the restaurant, West runs up a flight of stairs he was suppose to duck into a door where a replacement was waiting. Cangey was afraid of heights and RC promised him that he wouldn’t let him chicken out of the fall. Conrad literally pulled him down after telling the cameraman not to stop shooting even if the director said to stop. The love interest of the brat is Joanie Sommers a singer who’s most famous song was Johnny Get Angry. A problem I had was in the bar with the seals. The patrons are told to move back and then they just disappear. There is one look of Jim’s that says something its going on but what is never shown. It is people are there and then they’re gone. It is nice to see the peril of Pauline once again. It is my favorite part of the episode. Jim and Lionel are tied to a chair and little by little we see the danger that they face. Sexist marks have been made before in the series but in such a way as a wink to the audience. The ones made in this episode is just plain offensive that is all I am going to say about it. I did wonder if the ticker tape was anachronism but it isn’t…or maybe it is

http://www.stocktickercompany.com/history.html
quote:
4. Calahan's Stock Printer
In 1867, Mr. E.A. Calahan of the American Telegraph Company invented the first stock telegraph printing instrument. It was his idea at the time that prices might be furnished through some form of telegraphy. The distinct sound of this telegraph printing instrument eventually earned it the name of "stock ticker." In this same year, on the site of the Mills Building on Broad Street, opposite the New York Stock Exchange, was an old building used for the trading of gold and stocks. Two prominent brokerage firms were located off the main hallway of this building. Young men were used as runners between the exchange and the brokerage offices. Each runner was dedicated to an active stock. The commotion, noise, and crowded quarters once resulted in Mr. Calahan literally being swept back out into the street and drenched in an April shower. By the time Mr. Calahan had produced his fourth stock ticker he had a subscription list of 100 clients via word-of-mouth alone.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ticker_tape
quote:
Stock ticker machines became obsolete in the 1960s, replaced by computer networks; none have been manufactured for use for decades. However, working reproductions of at least one model are now being manufactured for museums and collectors.

The story takes place in Denver. I am not sure it would have been available at that time.
1/2



Mary

Cindylover1969
SS novice field agent

United Kingdom
1269 Posts

Posted - 03/21/2007 :  19:38:27  Show Profile  Visit Cindylover1969's Homepage
quote:
Originally posted by couldronSexist marks have been made before in the series but in such a way as a wink to the audience. The ones made in this episode is just plain offensive that is all I am going to say about it.


Funny how we actually get to see Amelia pay the ultimate price as well (in other episodes where women are full-on evil, they usually get apprehended offscreen like Dominique in "The Night of the Watery Death" and Emma Valentine in "The Night of the Vicious Valentine" - even Astarte's date with the hangman is only indicated as an unavoidable day in the future).

"Make them both as uncomfortable as possible." - Marquis de la Mer, "The Night of the Watery Death"
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Herr Ostropolyer
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
209 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  07:47:58  Show Profile
Hey All!,

Great reviews as always! I for one really disliked TNOT Tycoons! I feel that it is an entire waste of time with a huge plot hole, many rehashes, and a poor team up for West's agent of the week. Plus, you may not say it couldron, but I will. I feel that the end tag is so sexist it is cringe worthy. There are however a few highlights, but they are few and far between to save this turkey.

The story itself is a rehash of 2nd season's Superior TNOT Tottering Tontine. The fourth season has rehashed this plot already in such episodes like TNOT Gruesome Games and TNO Bleak Island and it is getting very old now.

Other rehashes include: Animals that throw bombs, which we have seen before in TNOT Feathered Fury, a themed (circus) bar that isn't what it seems to be alla TNOT Watery Death's Mermaid's Tavern, and the giant bow and arrow trap to kill Lionel and West was already done in TNOT Green Death.

The Giant plot hole that really bothers me is why would Amelia Bronston demand that West become chairman of the board and thus protect the board that she is trying to kill off? Was she that mad that she believed that she could kill off West too? She could have simply not got West involved and get all the money. Plus, isn't the murders of businessmen a little out of West's jurisdiction? Thus, the plot twist here borders on the ridiculous!

The team up of West and Lionel is certainly a change from the agent of the week, however a team up based upon a rivalry doesn't work here and harkens to that dreaded unmentionable Warner Brothers' movie. One simply wishes that West worked solo because his problems all occur trying to save or help Lionel, who is going to "thrash" him the first chance he gets, thus causing disbelief in the agent constantly helping Bronston. All the scenes where Lionel tries to best West are laughable. "Oh, I'll fight you when this is over West!" as if he could. There is one very funny scene however when Lionel avoids anyone seeing the black eye that he recieved from West.

I also found the end tag to be very cringe worthy where West states that the best place for Kyra, Lionel's fiance is in the kitchen. This goes above the tongue in check remarks from TNOT Red Eyed Madmen, TNOT Steel Assassin, or TNOT Firebrand. It was very surprising for a show that was ahead of its time and had female villians as well an entire episode about the equality of the sexes (TNOT Red Eyed Madmen) to say something like this to get a cheap laugh. I'd rather have had West beat Lionel into a pulp, or have Lionel apologize with his tail between his legs than the end tag we got.

On the plus side, The acting is very well done by RC, Steve Carlson, and Jo Van Fleet. Van Fleet is very belivable as the Matriarch of the board, but when she is the murderess she goes a little over the top. RC's stunt is well executed and perhaps he realized this story was a stinker and tried to save it by doing his own stunt. The creepy dummies that come to life in the drawing room are excellent. I also agree with Cindylover1969 that Amelia's death was a nice touch to the usual female villian comeupance. I'm really surprised that the censors let the show get away with it. All in all, these elements could not save this turkey. If the writers couldn't be bothered then why should we.

TNOT Tycoons gets 1 and 1/2 stars out of a possible 5 stars.

After all, it is our favorite show and an episode of our show even if it is a bad one is far better than anything shown on tv today. Plus, TNOT Tycoons is the last Artieless episode!

"Yes he does very well for himself with weighted boxing gloves." -Famous last words from Jim West that would start Jim West/ Lionel Bronston rivalry in TNOT Tycoons.
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  08:38:52  Show Profile
Without a doubt, for me the show never hit bottom deeper or harder than with this derivative, dull, stupid, chauvinist mess.

No smileys at all from me. This is an unredeemable BOMB, pitched by my own seal of grim disapproval.
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Wildfan
SS novice field agent

USA
1617 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  09:13:17  Show Profile
Whoa! Wow ccb, that is one brutal review! It's been decades since I've seen this one, now I'm not sure if I want to. I've heard a lot of negative things about the 4th season in general, but ironically, most of the recent reviews of these eps have been favorable.Excepting this one, there seem to be quite a few good ones. Am I wrong?
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MaudeB
SS novice field agent

582 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  09:49:43  Show Profile
Chauvanism is rampant in my favorite series, but that was the way it was then. i wanted to take Automotive Fundamentals in the early seventies and was told by my high school I couldn't because I'd "get dirty." Even at a speech by Marlo Thomas about the same time, she said women should be paid equally as men for equal work. The women clapped and the guys sat there in stoney silence. It was a different time, so I try to be understanding when it comes to our heroes. They didn't know better.
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kitana
SS novice field agent

1578 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  12:03:32  Show Profile
I agree with MaudeB but lets not forget that Chauvanism wasn't all bad just certian parts..

Artie, "Come one step closer and I'll misspell your name!"
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  12:53:01  Show Profile
On our time-tested principles of "Call 'em as you see 'em" and "To each her own," I'm not backing down from my review. I would add three points.

1. In addition to my list of this episode's bad points, I forgot also to mention its sloppy production values. See the teaser: West rides into town wearing his trail outfit. Quick cut to him strolling down the street in a different costume (and still no haircut). They just didn't seem to care anymore. By comparison, even in the weakest episodes of the newly released second season, you could tell they were still trying to make the most of what they had.

2. On chauvinism: Yes, I understand that Artie–facts (sorry, I couldn't resist) are children of their time. But let's also bear in mind that things were starting to change in the 60s. Bewitched bent the "Hi, Honey I'm Home" premise of sit–com domesticity by starring Liz Montgomery as a delightful woman who made fools out of idiot men. One of West's own breakthroughs was to give us strong women as villains (Cluny, Faustina, Emma Valentine, etc.). And another Emma—Mrs. Peel—was kicking serious butt on The Avengers.

As others have noted, West—often with jokes delivered by Ross Martin—kidded "feminine equality." When uttered by the charming Artemus, whose ego wasn't threatened by strong women (see "The Big Blast"), I never believed it for a minute. What makes "The Tycoons" stand out for its chaunivism is its lack of irony and deadly seriousness. (West to Amelia Bronston: Never forget that it's a man's world.) That has to be one of the most impolite things the usually courteous Mr. West was made to say.

3. Is there anything I like about "The Tycoons"? Yes. With orrin, I appreciate its scenes, few in the series, where we see different angles of the varnish interior (Act II, even though all they did was adjust the camera angle and lighting, then put different actors on the same sofa).

But I still think this episode is stinkeroo.
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Bonsai
SS 1st assignment - desk job

USA
387 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  15:23:40  Show Profile
The sexist attitude does sound a bit strong on that episode, even for 40 years ago. Is it even excessive for the 1870's??

I'm afraid I pick and choose a bit on this subject. I've been known to tell a man off when subject to a blatently sexist remark, but I enjoy having a door opened for me or being complimented by some tasteful and innocent flirting.

"Mr. West, you couldn't think that of me! Why you're positively ghoulish!"--Dr. Miguelito Loveless
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Ecstasy La Joie
SS novice field agent

USA
1799 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  17:04:20  Show Profile
Well, I guess I'll jump in and give my 2 cents worth.

I find myself enjoying this episode more than not enjoying it. The connection between the Secret Service and Jupiter Corp. is plausibly explained to me. They fulfill many of the military contracts for the gov. It makes sense to me. While I also never quite got Amelia's insistence on Jim becoming chairman, I can rationalize that perhaps she finds herself in a situation she didn't expect, that one of the board members would communicate their troubles to the government and that help would be sent. I don't mind the monkey throwing the bomb. It makes as much sense as a myna bird memorizing a will (in Loveless' voice, no less).
I'm also not bothered by the so-called rivalry between Lionel and Jim. In so many eps we see Jim in charge and running up against little or no opposition. When we see opposition, as in TNOT Montezuma's Hordes, it is opposition from an equal of sorts (Slade) - someone who has done, more or less, as much living as Jim. In Tycoons, the opposition is an upstart, young brat. Maybe what people mind seeing in this isn't the opposition as such, but Jim having to take on a kid. But, a brat is a brat and it is safer for all involved if the brat learns his lesson well and soon. We also see a more serious side to Jim as he pushes Kyra to tell him what she knows. This, too, is part of his training, and it's neat to be reminded that he was taught how to interrogate someone. (oh, the information I would spill in such a situation!)

One thing that I do find each time I watch this ep is how uncomfortable Jim West is in a boardroom/business situation. He could never sit still for an actual meeting!

Things I enjoy: I love the scene with Kyra singing and Jim looking on and smiling. First, her voice is great and the song is a personal favorite. Second, I love the idea of being able to catch this wonderful man's attention in such a feminine way for such a long period of time. It makes my heart go pitty-pat! He is soooo handsome standing there. I also enjoy the conversation between Jim and Amelia over sherry. There is some sparring that occurs. We see a powerful, strong-willed woman pitted against a man's man who has respect for this woman, even as she's telling him she doesn't like him. I don't take offense at the comment about "a man's world." That's what it was, but I don't hear anything in Jim's voice or tone that suggests that he thinks a woman couldn't cut it, or that he wouldn't like women in positions of power. I think the only thing that would bother Jim about women in power would be if the power they wielded robbed them of their femininity.

As for the end, so much blame is heaped on the men for such a chauvanistic comment. What bothers me more is how willingly Kyra goes to the galley. What's wrong with the woman insisting on dinner out? There was, I believe, as much opportunity for the woman to take the high road as for the men. The comment could have been squelched by Kyra's refusal, but, lo and behold, she pads out to the kitchen without anything more than a look of disbelief. What was needed was a female writer for this scene.

Finis. In the words of Ed Norton "There, I am through."

Just for the record, I will cook or bake anything for Jim West at anytime!!
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Wildfan
SS novice field agent

USA
1617 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  18:33:43  Show Profile
Thanks, Ecstasy, for the well thought-out and funny review! It's refreshing to hear your even-handed take on the chauvunist issue. I think another point worth making is that if the WWW been held to todays' standard of political correctness, it wouldn't have lasted 4 episodes, let alone 4 seasons!
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2007 :  18:41:17  Show Profile
E. La Joie: Finis. In the words of Ed Norton "There, I am through."

For any woman with such a sense of humor, I'd gladly paddle into the galley myself and fix supper.
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Ecstasy La Joie
SS novice field agent

USA
1799 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  08:09:58  Show Profile
To ccb: Why, thank you, kind sir! We could share a no-cal pizza or some Neopolitan knockwurst.

To Wildfan: You're probably right with regard to the chauvanism, but I think you would see an insistence on more physical romping. That's not a bad thought, though WWW gives just enough to make it all work.
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Wildfan
SS novice field agent

USA
1617 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  09:51:58  Show Profile
For Ecstasy; Interesting thoughts!
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kitana
SS novice field agent

1578 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  18:54:15  Show Profile
I would have walked into the galley just as Kyra did.... but then I spent the better part of my life doing a man's job in the theatre and the men who never worked with me before assumed I was the secretary for my employees... so I usually just rolled with it.... I liked showing them I could just as easially be a technical manager as well as good woman... so maybe that was what she was after to show them that she could and was willing to be both.... I see nothing wrong with the comment... (the quickest way to a man's heart is through his stomache)

Artie, "Come one step closer and I'll misspell your name!"
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SordoTheBandit
SS 1st assignment - desk job

483 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2007 :  19:33:48  Show Profile
I've always liked seals, never did trust clowns in bars though or mannequins in board rooms. It seems that many of fight scenes were written out of the script, symptomatic of the 4th season.

Hmmm....lets see, our wonderful Amelia Bronston turned out to be a would-be mass murderer and Mr. West a horrible sexist. Between the two....I'll take Mr. West.

2 STARS
5 STARS for Kyra's singing
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Ecstasy La Joie
SS novice field agent

USA
1799 Posts

Posted - 03/25/2007 :  12:33:55  Show Profile
Kitana, I'm sure I would have gone to the kitchen, too. It all has to do with the self-confidence of the woman in question. For argument's sake, yes, they could have written it differently, but in truth, many women would welcome the opportunity to show both sides of their personality, as well. I will say this. From MY kitchen, Jim would have gotten the bigger baked potato and the extra whipped cream on the pie. Lionel could smoke his cigar and dream on....
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6505 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2007 :  20:29:18  Show Profile
My favorite thing about this episode was knowing it was one of the last--and that the Night of the Inferno was on the way in a couple days with the far superior 1st season episodes coming up on the Monday thru Friday In-Order re-run schedule on TV. In other words---Hated this episode. Lionel was a dweeb/wimp/wannabe and the whole episode was a pile of wasted film.
stars
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 03/27/2007 :  09:22:17  Show Profile
Dieter Epping: My favorite thing about this episode was knowing it was one of the last--and that the Night of the Inferno was on the way in a couple days . . .

Proof positive that there's a silver lining behind every cloud.
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CharlieTobin
SS spy school graduate

USA
95 Posts

Posted - 03/28/2007 :  20:58:32  Show Profile
Okay, I'll toss my hat into the ring as well. It became obvious some time ago that this episode was in line for a trouncing, and given the track record of the fourth season, it's no surprise that things hit bottom in a big way.

Despite the numerous marks against this episode, I find myself in agreement with Ecstasy on several levels. To begin with, I also find myself liking this one more than not. I enjoy seeing the ferocity in Jim from time to time. There are some wonderfully brash moments in the series, such as TNOT Amnesiac, during the teaser ("...if you move, I'm gonna blow your head off."), during TNOT Running Death, when he throws the guy into the piano, and even the end of TNOT Cossacks, where, after dispatching Balkovich through the window at the front of the bar, he turns and shrugs to Artie with an "all in a day's work" look. This episode, with Jim clearly on his own, finds him a little cockier, perhaps a bit frustrated ("Ms. Bronston, I haven't had a very good day..."), and having to deal with the immature likes of Lionel Bronston.

The scene where he took Mr. Cangey off the balcony strikes me as an interesting move in several ways. On the one hand, it's a sort of middle finger to the censors, and it seems the result of several episodes' worth of pent-up unused real fight scenes. It's fun knowing the back story on how that came about, and how he told the cameraman to give director Mike Moder (aka Julia Roberts' father-in-law) a similar middle finger if he ordered the shoot to stop. On the other hand, it was simply camaraderie, fleshed out for everyone to see. It could be argued that Bob just wanted to break Cangey of his fear of heights, and they probably had a drink together at the Backstage Bar shortly thereafter. Two birds, one stone.

Again, there's a brashness in this episode that suggest Robert Conrad was actually really enjoying himself during this shoot. During the scene where he tells Amelia that Simon was actually murdered, it always looked and sounded to me as though he was about to start laughing. Maybe that was just because of the way he added insult to injury after easily subduing Lionel, followed by Amelia's ejective response, but nonetheless, some real enjoyment seems to be showing through. (Either that, or if Conrad felt he'd been dealt a bad hand in this ep, his exasperation may have been such that the only way to endure it was to laugh about it.)

I also agree with Kyra's singing scene, to the tune of "Greensleeves". Beautiful voice, and as Ecstasy mentioned, a wonderful opportunity to catch Jim in a transfixed moment. She's totally unaware of the effect she's having on him as she continues to play and sing next to the fire.

Amelia's fatal plunge at the end of the show is a bit shocking--it certainly was for me as a 12-year-old, seeing it for the first time...even though you can see it coming, from the moment the elevator starts to ascend. Come to think of it, there were quite a few falling deaths in these last few episodes: Clarence in Sabatini Death, Sir Nigel in Bleak Island, Amelia in Tycoons, and Carl (Red West) in the upcoming TNOT Plague. I remember being interested in what the effects might be of the "mercury phosphorous grenade" she produced just before her demise.

As for the sexist comment made at the end of the episode, it was indeed perhaps the most severe comment of that nature uttered on this show. However, I remember a letter to the editor, published in Issue #4 of the Millennium Comics' "The Night of the Iron Tyrant", in which a reader was offended by a "white males" comment made in Issue #2, and accused Millennium of injecting their own "liberal political philosophy" into their comics, as he perceived to be the case with other comic companies.

The editor shot back with several examples of human rights incidents, one of which referenced this episode:

"Were the producers of the TV show putting forth propaganda when Artemus made a disparaging remark about educating women in "The Night of the Steel Assassin"?

Or when West ordered a bride-to-be to start practicing for wifehood by getting to the kitchen and preparing a meal at the conclusion of "The Night of the Tycoons"?

We don't think so. Instead the remarks were intended to reflect the prevalent attitudes toward women in the 19h century."


This isn't to say that what Jim said wasn't offensive. Quite the contrary--I actually used this clip in a Sociology class in high school, when we were talking about functional families versus conflict-based families, and it left most of the people in the class with their jaws on the table. But it was fairly representative of the period, and I appreciated that the show was willing to be realistic in this regard, even if it didn't translate well to audiences in the 1960s and beyond. Situations like these are what forced the racial humor to be present in the awful 1999 thing by casting Will Smith as James West...something which, I felt, only added to an already unpleasant experience.

So, TNOT Tycoons...certainly not at the top of the list, but also not without its redeeming qualities. At the end of the day, it's one I enjoy. And, after this, we get our favorite man in disguise back! I'll drink to that.

1/2

"Eyes aren't enough these days!"
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ccb
SS Quizmaster Emeritus

3799 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  14:22:01  Show Profile
Reading this thread again gives me renewed appreciation for this site. How many forums on the web would you find where people can express feeling so differently about something they commonly love, without resorting to insult, dismissivness, and cruelty?

To the best of my knowledge I've never met a one of you, yet love ya all.
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Ecstasy La Joie
SS novice field agent

USA
1799 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  17:56:51  Show Profile
I'm with you, Quizmaster! I'm not a joiner. When I finally decided to sign up on this forum, and it took me awhile to decide, I mentioned to my sister-in-law that I was going to, and that my name was going to be Ecstasy La Joie. She immediately smiled and asked just what kind of forum this is, anyway. We laughed about that and had a few jokes, but I can say without a moment's hesitation that I have never regretted becoming a part of this wonderful group. You people are aces!! Thanks.
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Dieter Epping
SS senior field agent

USA
6505 Posts

Posted - 03/29/2007 :  21:14:06  Show Profile
It was a few episodes after this one that Wild Wild West was killed off for "Too much violence". Imagine our favorite show being on CBS now between all 3 CSI shows and all other far more violent shows the way they are now! So mild in comparison! It just blows my mind how network television has evolved over the years. WWW could have lasted to over 200 episodes as long as the stunts didn't cripple them eventually. I think a 5th season and beyond with Ross Martin in it all the way would have been great for this series to have a long life. The 4th season was mostly messed up due to him not being there.
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kitana
SS novice field agent

1578 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2007 :  04:31:41  Show Profile
I agree with Ecstacy and ccb, you people are the tops.... I so love it here...

Artie, "Come one step closer and I'll misspell your name!"
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MaudeB
SS novice field agent

582 Posts

Posted - 03/30/2007 :  07:52:56  Show Profile
quote:
Originally posted by kitana

I agree with Ecstacy and ccb, you people are the tops.... I so love it here...



I agree with you all - this is the only forum I participate in. Why go anywhere else when this is the best!
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