John Farkis' Book: NOT THINKIN'... JUST REMEMBERIN'...

Discussion On All Aspects Of The Film.

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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rob on Tue Nov 11, 2014 7:19 pm

MUSTANG wrote:Sign me up! But, it should be on your Alamo Village book.

Yes, Rich, the ultimate Alamo Village book!...with all that has gone on there over the years, and all the historically accurate gossip you could provide :D I would definitely buy that book!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Seguin on Wed Nov 12, 2014 1:29 am

Depending upon the size font they use, it will run around 650 pages, not including the index and 120 photographs.


Wow, that´s some book! It could hardly be any longer or it would have to be split into two volumes. :D I hope it´ll be ready for HHD.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:09 am

I hope so as well. I had a ton of stuff I didn't include. Maybe for the new, revised edition in a few years. :lol: :lol:
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Seguin on Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:16 am

Right, the revised edition in two volumes and a third volume for the notes alone. :D
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:32 am

John may well have another book plan or two up his sleeve. We need to prod him (and Rich).
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Wed Nov 12, 2014 3:29 pm

Actually, there are 1,450 endnotes, each consisting of an average of almost three citations. No kidding!!!!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Seguin on Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:26 am

I think that´s great. I like being able to check out where the various information comes from. There´s nothing worse than history books without notes and sometimes without an index too.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Fargo Fenwyck on Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:41 pm

Is Rich SUPPOSEDLY writing a book? Is professional wrestling real? Am I not the handsomest guy in the world? Only one word will answer all three questions and it does not begin with "Y" :roll:
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Sun Nov 23, 2014 4:55 pm

Here is the product description that will appear on the back on my book, in advertising and on websites.

"In "Not Thinkin' . . . Just Rememberin'" . . . The Making of John Wayne's The Alamo, author John Farkis brushes back the sands of time to unearth a rare event in Hollywood history and a patriotic, inspiring tale of true Texas folklore brought to life on the big screen with John Wayne as the legendary Davy Crockett. As told in the words of those who were there, actors, actresses, crew members, extras, wranglers, and stuntmen share anecdotes and observations of their time on the sets. Drawing from published and unpublished sources, period newspapers, magazines, and over a hundred
new interviews, this richly researched and highly detailed work weaves magical memories into an exciting and informative story that finally sets the record straight on the struggles John Wayne faced: his financial issues, a murder on the set, independent financing, producing, directing, and starring in a film of historical proportions, and veteran Academy Award-winning director John Ford’s involvement.

You are there with John Wayne, Laurence Harvey and Richard Widmark amid their day to day journeys from the film’s inception in the 1940s to the mind-boggling premiere in 1960; the infamous 1961 Oscar campaign; and the 1990 discovery of the “lost” print in Toronto. This book provides not only an educational view of the filmmaking process but also offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of the epic masterpiece.

More than 600 pages, including an Introduction, 37 chapters, an Index, 8 appendices, and more than 110 illustrations of characters, behind-the-scenes filming, set construction, and cut and unused scenes."
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Alamo John UK on Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:19 pm

Really can't wait for this John.. :D
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Sun Nov 23, 2014 5:38 pm

Me too!!!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby mcgregor steph on Sun Nov 23, 2014 7:03 pm

MUSTANG wrote:Me too!!!

me three !!!!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby gh1836 on Mon Nov 24, 2014 9:44 pm

And me fourth! One thing John if this could be released before Christmas so I won't have to buy itfor myself. ..otherwise I will be sleeping on the couch for a month or two. :)
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby mrbassbone on Tue Nov 25, 2014 12:33 pm

I have a 13 hour plane ride to China. I could use some fantastic reading material.... :D :lol: :D :lol:
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby gh1836 on Thu Dec 18, 2014 1:53 am

Any news of a release date?
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Thu Dec 18, 2014 4:03 am

I spoke with the publisher and the anticipated release is now March 6, 2015. Fingers crossed. Sorry to those who wanted it out for Christmas. So did I !!!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby mrbassbone on Thu Dec 18, 2014 12:40 pm

MUSTANG wrote:I spoke with the publisher and the anticipated release is now March 6, 2015. Fingers crossed. Sorry to those who wanted it out for Christmas. So did I !!!

Dang...and I was hoping for a proof copy to read on the plane...LOL
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Alamo John UK on Thu Dec 18, 2014 6:03 pm

If you couldn't get it out before Xmas, I can't think of a better date. :D
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Doc on Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:15 am

There is indeed a certain symmetry about that release date. Unfortunately, I am forced to modify my personal habits to last just a few months longer in order to achieve it. No more cocaine, angel dust, Lone Star, PCP, Wild Irish Rose, glue sniffing or Amiels for another three months. My beloved wife for 43 years and immediate next of kin may want to name John as co-conspirator for delay of inheritance.

If I don't order the book, brace yourself, and expext to duck process servers for the rest of Your life.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Sat Jan 03, 2015 9:55 pm

Here is Part I of an interview with John Farkis on his upcoming book.

You wrote a first book on Alamo Village. Why did you decide to do a second book on the film itself?

As you may know, my first book resulted from an expansion on a spec article I was writing about movie construction techniques. Targeted to a niche audience, I planned to use Alamo Village as a case study. However, the more research I did, the more information I obtained that had absolutely nothing to do with the article I was writing. After fifteen or twenty or so extremely interesting interviews, most of which I couldn't use, I decided that there might be another book there. The anecdotes they shared were very entertaining and I thought others might be as interested as I in their stories. In many cases, my interview with the various individuals was the very first time anyone ever had asked them any questions about their time on the set. So, I decided to write another book about the making of Wayne's film, but told in the words of those who were there.

Your initial plan was to focus just on the prep work and filming of The Alamo itself, yet it's become a John Wayne bio of sorts. What made it grow?

You can't really separate Wayne from his film, and I found it necessary to develop a back story on his efforts to bring the project to fruition. Although the film addressed Texas's fight for independence from Mexico, Wayne used it as a means to share a message of freedom and liberty with the world. A staunch conservative, Duke was concerned about potential Communist domination and wanted to let people know that once there was a time when men fought, and yes, died, in the pursuit of liberty. Those men sacrificed their lives so others could be free.

Who's the very first person you interviewed for this?

I really don't recall, but I would imagine it would have been members of the extended Alamo family, including Ken Pruitt, Ashley Ward and Rich Curilla. That was more for background than anything. Probably Rudy Robbins or Jim Brewer were the first individuals I spoke with who actually were involved with the film.

People involved in the production (actors, actresses, extras, stuntmen, etc.) -- how did you manage to contact them initially?

The names and contacts came from a variety of sources. Sometimes, people I interviewed asked if I had spoken to someone already, and if I hadn't, they shared contact information. Some (contacts) were blind calls: names I tracked down through the Internet. At times, I used local San Antonio/Brackettville phone books to find numbers and addresses. Rich Curilla was instrumental in sharing names of extras and castmembers who had visited Alamo Village. I was able to track down numerous individuals through Facebook. I also have literally thousands of copies of newspaper articles written at the time, and they were a gold mine of names of individuals associated with the film. It was a simple matter to call names in the phone book to see if they were the correct person. But I probably received most of my contacts from previously-conducted interviews.


(Additional questions and answers from the Farkis interview will be forthcoming between now and the book's March 6 publication date)
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Seguin on Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:22 am

Interesting interview! I look forward to part two.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Sun Jan 04, 2015 5:53 pm

And the funny thing is, not only were the questions made up. So were the answers. LOL! Not really.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Seguin on Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:03 am

Hahaha...well, whatever works, works. :D
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby alamobill on Mon Jan 05, 2015 3:41 am

Good stuff, John. Kind of a "teaser" until the book is published.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Wed Jan 07, 2015 4:17 am

Part 1 and a half:

You've interviewed both Linda Cristal and Joan O'Brien. Describe the way(s) you contacted each, how they responded to you, and what your interviews with them were like.

If you can believe it, Linda contacted me! Somehow, back in March 2007, I obtained Linda's home address and wrote a letter inviting her to a proposed showing of The Alamo at the Woodlawn in San Antonio on Oct. 6, 2007. As you may know, the showing never materialized but a few weeks later, imagine my surprise when she called me on my car phone! That began a long and entertaining relationship. Initially, we discussed her career in films, naturally focusing on her time on The Alamo. But very quickly, the conversations and letters went beyond that to warm, friendly conversations about life in general, politics, the economy, her grandchildren, etc. We very quickly became good friends and both corresponded and spoke on a regular basis.

As for Joan, she was a bit more difficult to track down. I have a network of contacts in Hollywood, and back in January 2008, I called a few producers, agents and SAG personnel to see if anyone could help me. Nine months later, one individual gave me a different last name (for her), but suggested I give the number a call. Joan answered and was immediately suspicious when I asked if she was the former Joan O'Brien. But after I told her who I was and what I was doing, it seemed to break the ice. In fact, our first interview lasted over two hours, of which only thirty minutes or so were devoted to The Alamo. Much of the time she spoke of her film and singing career, Duke, Pilar and Aissa, her marriage and children, etc. Very open; in fact, amazingly open to someone who she had just spoken to for the first time. We had several subsequent conversations; I can't call them interviews for, as with Linda, we just talked about numerous topics, many times unrelated to films at all. In fact, she would even call me just to chat.

Both Linda and Joan are very warm and gracious ladies, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time chatting with them. More like old friends than people you just met. Sometimes, there is just that immediate connection, and I felt lucky to have that with both of them. And their voices! Oh, my! They haven't changed at all! And Joan even sang for me over the phone!!!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Thu Jan 08, 2015 4:18 pm

Thanks for making me sound semi-intelligent! LOL!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Thu Jan 08, 2015 5:45 pm

MUSTANG wrote:Thanks for making me sound semi-intelligent! LOL!

I deleted all the profanity, too, especially the goodness graciouses and golly gees. ;)

P.S. Not sure if anybody's seeing this, so, should I post more of the Q & A now, wait a bit, or call it off?
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby NefariousNed on Thu Jan 08, 2015 6:34 pm

The night (and day) has a thousand eyes, Rick.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby DocWylie on Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:18 pm

Let's see some MORE!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:01 am

Part II

How far into the writing did you start hating your computer?

Actually, I never came to hate it; "despise" is a better word. Really, though, there were times when it was difficult to put pen to paper, so to speak. The format, content and direction of the book changed so much while I was writing it that I found it necessary to go back and revisit chapters I thought were already finished. Extremely necessary and frustrating.


Describe a typical work day. Laptop? Desktop? Writing location? Inspiration? Music? Describe the atmosphere.

I don't believe I have a typical day; I've written in planes and trains, while on vacation and in the office, on both laptop and desktop. Most frequently, though, if I can, I start late morning to early afternoon and stop after midnight or one in the morning. Of course, a great portion of that time is also spent doing obligatory research. I have quite an extensive library and virtually all the books, newspaper and magazine articles quoted in my book reside in my filing cabinets and book shelves. The vast majority of interviews conducted here have also been transcribed for easy access, along with taped interviews from historical societies, universities and film collections. Most frequently I work in our great room and usually bounce ideas, questions and clarifications off of my wife, Jean. When she can no longer take it and heads off for bed, I usually turn the sound off the TV and continue to work, no doubt with a Western or action film playing in the background.


Rich Curilla is your friend and is a gold mine of information on The Alamo. What do you know about him that the rest of us don't?

First, let's clarify this. LOL! Rich is a very good friend and I value all his input on my project. He fulfilled the thankless job of copy editor on my first book as you are now doing. I can't thank you both enough for all your sacrifice, hard work and effort. If it wasn't for the two of you, neither book would have ever seen the light of day. The initial drafts of my first book were poorly written, full of historical, grammatical and punctuation errors. But, as I've said all along, they wouldn't have put the keys on the keyboard if they didn't want you to use them! You both have tried to patiently, and sometimes with great resistance on my part, steer me down the correct path.

So, to answer your question, the best way I can describe Rich is to say if you ask him the time, he'll tell you how to build a watch -- which is exactly what I love about him! Discussing film techniques, procedures, terminology, etc., with Rich is like getting a graduate course in film studies. I'm anal. Everyone knows that. I love the research and minutia. And Rich feeds my hunger.


Researching the book has required how many trips to Alamo Village? Where else have you been to on research trips?

I can't even begin to count the number of times I've been to the Village. The first time was in 1996 ;) and, unfortunately, it occurred on the day of Happy Shahan's funeral. Obviously, I wasn't able to enter at that time but I made a promise to myself that as soon as I could, I'd return. I believe about six months later I did, and I've never stopped going back. I've made numerous trips to Texas while writing this book and visited San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Austin, Cuero, Sabinal, Brackettville, Uvalde, Del Rio, Spofford and on and on. Research has also been conducted in Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Chicago, Denver, Tulsa, Oklahoma City, New York, London, Toronto, Montreal and Rome. Sometimes by myself, at other times through research assistants.
Last edited by Rick on Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby RLC-GTT on Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:27 am

The first time was in 1997 and, unfortunately, it occurred on the day of Happy Shahan's funeral.

I'm STILL editing his copy! Happy died January 30, 1996. :roll: :lol:
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby MUSTANG on Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:05 pm

That is correct. LOL!! I made the date mistake in the interview but corrected it in my book's introduction.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby RLC-GTT on Wed Jan 14, 2015 10:14 pm

And here I thought you were just testing to see if I were awake. :lol:
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Fri Jan 16, 2015 4:04 am

Part II.V

If you could've interviewed John Wayne and John Ford for this book, what would you have most wanted to ask each? Give us two examples.

Now, that's not a fair question. To be given the opportunity to chat with legends such as Wayne, Ford and the others, and only allowed to ask two questions! Why, that's criminal! Given the opportunity, I could spend weeks with these individuals. No doubt the questions would have to be open-ended to allow them the chance to expand on the topic. However, I'd ask Wayne, "Given all the time and effort, all the heartache, all the money you spent on the film -- was it worth it? Did you achieve what you wanted and were the results what you expected? What would you have done differently?"

As for Ford, now there's a horse of a different color. Pappy was notorious for lying, or at least tweaking the truth, until it bore no semblance to reality. Short one-word answers, prolonged periods of silence -- it would be difficult to obtain any real information. A directorial genius, he would refuse to answer unless the mood struck him. But if he was willing to be totally open and brutally honest, I would've loved to explore the relationship between he and Wayne. If I was confined to asking about The Alamo, naturally, I would ask exactly how large a role did he play in directing the film.

Let's assume Rich Currilla has secretly invented time travel and has offered you the chance -- as a young adult (and budding Alamo nut), for example -- to transport yourself back to the film location in the fall of 1959. Which scene(s) would you have wanted to be an extra in? Be specific and tell us why.

I was only 10 years old in 1959, so going back to visit the set would've been extremely cool. Imagine -- cowboys, soldiers, cannon, horses and explosions . . . does it get any better than that? Given that I was so young, there were only a few scenes in which kids appear. Maybe the birthday party scene. At least we could eat cake!

However, if I went back at the age I am now, well, that's a different story. Working with Rich Curilla has given me an immense, though certainly incomplete, appreciation of what it takes to make a movie. I would just love to be behind the camera, watching how scenes are developed. Set dressing, costumes, lighting, rehearsals, etc. How the gags are prepared for the stuntmen. Being present during filming of the final assault and, of course, the explosion of the powder magazine. As for a specific scene . . . anything John Ford was involved in. I would've loved to watch him direct Duke. I also think the nighttime script revision sessions would've been extremely informative.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby RLC-GTT on Fri Jan 16, 2015 6:08 am

John's coming along nicely. ;)
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Sun Jan 25, 2015 4:46 pm

More:

Doubtless, you gleaned from your personal interviews more information than you could ever put in the book, which means you had hard choices to make. Just how tough were some of the decisions on what to use/what not to use? Give a few general examples.

The hardest decisions were those where I had conflicting information. Choosing what to believe or what seemed reasonable was no easy task. In some cases, I've presented both sides of the story, as it were, and let the readers make up their own minds. A few stories were quite saucy and not fit for the general readership. So, obviously, those were not included. Also, despite what some might feel, I've toned down the language a bit from some of the interviews. The stuntmen were a rough and rowdy, no-holds-barred group of men, and their language was just as rough. Generally, if an anecdote didn't add to the color of the book, it wasn't included. My analysis of John Ford's involvement was also quite different as it ran contrary to most accepted views. However, I felt the facts as presented supported my conclusions.

Was there anything you found in your research or were told in your interviews that totally blew you away? If so, can you give us an example or two or 10?

I guess I felt surprised at the animosity some actors felt toward each other. I realize that cast and crew can't always be one big happy family while on location, but I was taken aback by the severity of some comments. Almost everyone was highly complimentary toward Wayne. Even Widmark admired his skill and effort even though they didn't get along. All except one crewmember: I chose not to include his remarks in the book as I felt for some reason he had a bone to pick.

I was impressed at the pace of filming. Only 83 days to film such a massive epic. Wayne's work pace was astounding. While I already knew it, I was amazed to hear from the participants that most scenes were filmed in one or two takes.

As for other examples, you're just going to have to read the book.

Who's tougher to deal with, nit-picky copy editors or totally insane newspaper brass who want to overcharge you for using material they printed 50 years ago?

Having dealt with only two copy editors in my life -- three, if you count my wife -- I find them to be relatively reasonable with their comments and ideas. I'll admit, I haven't always followed their suggestions. But when it comes to punctuation and grammatical corrections, well, they wouldn't give you all the letters on the keyboard if they didn't expect you to use them.

As for newspapers, I've been lucky so far in that we've been able to resolve our differences. Most of them have eventually granted permission to use material. However, publishers' copyright permission departments for previously published books have been a real pain. Although I should say that while difficult, most have been extremely cooperative.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby TexianAtHeartII on Tue Jan 27, 2015 5:57 am

"most scenes were filmed in one or two takes"
Sounds like Wayne was trying to use the same method as his mentor, John Ford.
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Seguin on Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:02 am

A few stories were quite saucy and not fit for the general readership.


It can never get too saucy. Saucy sells books. ;) :D
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby Rick on Fri Jan 30, 2015 12:53 am

A tad more (whether it's saucy or not depends).

Frankie Avalon has expressed no interest in being interviewed for the book while others have proven hard to reach. Even at this late date, is there anyone you'd absolutely loved to have talked to?

Roy Estrada and Carol Baxter. And I know there are probably dozens of other extras and crew members who would've added significantly to the quality of this book.

Your research material has included all sorts of stuff. Are there any bits of material (Harvey's home movies, for instance) that you'd absolutely be willing to forfeit your replica version of Smitty's skunkskin cap for to obtain? If so, give us a few examples.

The final, revised version of the Master Shooting schedule as well as the Daily PA (Production Assistant) reports. They would've really nailed down when the various scenes were filmed.

How many ink cartridges has your printer gone through?

Countless!
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Re: John Farkis' New Book

Postby RLC-GTT on Sat Jan 31, 2015 5:29 am

More like how many computers has he gone through. I've gone through two just LISTENING to him!!!!! :lol:
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