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So My Kids Can Watch

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"A lot of the voice actors in this one have said things to me like, 'Finally, a show I can show my family!'"
Director's DVD Commentary for the Angelic Layer dub

An actor well known for playing characters in adult rated works decides to act in an all-ages work that they can show to their own children.

This often overlaps with Parental Bonus. Kind of contrasts with Old Shame, only most of their work becomes an Old Shame (which might apply to someone who consciously stops doing a particular type of production for good and downplays or tries to ignore what they did before). Frequently overlaps with Bleached Underpants.

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Rated G for Gangsta may be a subtrope if the performer decides to focus their career on family-friendly fare rather than the work that made them famous. If a person does work on a kid-oriented film or show, but they do not have any children of their own or their kids are older than the target demographic of the show they appeared on, that sort of role would be considered a "Sesame Street" Cred. See also Retroactive Recognition, for examples of when the kid show or film in question kicked off their acting career or was done before the celebrity was famous.

For some reason, this often gets conflated with Money, Dear Boy, despite the fact that children are in no part of the definition. While an actor might do a children's show because it pays well, it's only this trope if the actor's motivation is explicitly based on producing a work that can be enjoyed by children (usually their own). As such, Awesome, Dear Boy often has more to do with it, especially when it's a long-running children's show that holds nostalgia factor for them or a remake of a movie they grew up with. Can be the justification of WTH, Casting Agency? and Celebrity Voice Actor. At times has also been invoked in an attempt to break Typecasting. Related to Written for My Kids, where an author writes a work for their children, but there is still an important distinction: this is when the author is known for works targeting older audiences, and not written specifically with the author's child or children in mind. Compare to Promoted Fanboy, when the actor or actress partakes in a work because they were a fan of the franchise or company before getting the role.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • As mentioned in the page quote above, the anime adaptation of CLAMP's Angelic Layer allowed many of its actors to be able to show their work to their children, due to the show's lighthearted, childlike atmosphere being a significantly different direction from most of their roles in adult-oriented animation.
  • On the DVD Commentary for Princess Mononoke, Billy Bob Thornton said that he wanted to do something his kids could watch, although some wouldn't call Mononoke a kid's movie. In an interview Thornton later admitted that this move had backfired, calling Mononoke one of the "most violent things I'd ever seen."
    • Speaking of Studio Ghibli, this seems to be the reason for the involvement of much of the voice cast of the English dub for The Wind Rises. However, although it's not as inappropriate as Princess Mononoke, the film seems to be more artsy than typical Studio Ghibli fare and wouldn't appeal much to said children.
  • Azusa Sato played the role of Fuwari Midorikaze in PriPara because her two-year-old niece was a huge fan of the series.
  • Dragon Ball
    • In-universe example in Dragon Ball Super when Gohan offers to replace a stunt double who's about to film a very dangerous shot. The primary reason he's doing it is that he's Made of Iron where the actor isn't, but the other reason (and the one he gives to the Muggle director and crew) is that he wants his infant daughter Pan to be able to watch her daddy in a professional movie one day.
    • In the Latin Spanish dub of Dragon Ball, Mario Castañeda accepted the role of (adult) Goku after being convinced by his son Arturo (Mario actually had rejected the role when it was first offered by Gloria Rocha, the dub's director at the time). Two decades later, Arturo became the voice of Whis and is still proud of his father's work.
  • Japanese singer Hitomi appeared As Herself on GO-GO Tamagotchi! for her then six-year-old daughter. She also sang the opening and ending themes of the show for the same reason.
  • Patricia Acevedo directed the Latin American Spanish dub of One Piece Film: Gold since her son Rodrigo is a fan of the One Piece series. Rodrigo would go on to become the ADR scriptwriter as well as the voice of Sabo.
  • According to a segment on their show Akashiya-san Channel, manzai act FUJIWARA took a guest role in Smile Pretty Cure! because Toshifumi Fujimoto's daughter was a huge fan of the franchise and had a massive collection of merchandise, with the series in question, as well as Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and Heart Catch Pretty Cure, being her favorite series.

    Comic Books 
  • Phil and Kaja Foglio of Girl Genius fame have said that XXXenophile will probably be on hiatus until at least after their kids grow up.
  • In one of the most jaw-dropping examples of all time, Garth Ennis published erf, a kids' comic about cute prehistoric animals.
  • Jim Davis made U.S. Acres so his son could read something that he wrote that was aimed at kids.
  • Subverted in Batman: White Knight as Sean Murphy did write it to be as dark as he wanted, but he also admitted that the potshots as New 52 Harley Quinn spawned from the concerns he had seeing his niece dressed as the version of Harley from Suicide Squad (2016), complete with "Property of the Joker" jacket.

    Disney 
Since Disney is a very popular company among children, there have been numerous instances of people being cast in their films and TV series because of their children:
  • Malcolm McDowell said that he played the role of Dr. Calico in Bolt so his kids could watch him act (although he has worked in family-oriented films and TV shows on numerous occasions).
  • Robert Patrick took a role in Bridge to Terabithia so his children could watch him in a film. Let it be noted that it's one of the few roles where he's playing a kind (though still stern) character.
  • Edward James Olmos played Chiccharon in Coco for his five grandkids. He also played King Pescoro in Elena of Avalor for the same reason.
  • Tom Cavanaugh took two roles in Disney Junior productions for his then 4-year-old son James in 2013: a jack-in-the-box on Doc McStuffins and a toy turtle in the special Lucky Duck.
  • Scott Foley played Prince Charming in Goldie & Bear for his sons Keller and Konrad, who were 4 and 2 at the time the episode aired.
  • Finding Nemo franchise:
    • Eric Bana played Anchor in the first movie for his kids Sophia and Claus, who were 2 and 4 in 2003.
    • Idris Elba starred in the sequel Finding Dory as Fluke so that his son Winston could watch something with him in it. The same thing could be said about his Zootopia role.
  • One of the reasons Idina Menzel starred in Frozen as Elsa was so that her son Walker could hear her voice in a movie.
  • While much of the adults in the Disney Channel or Nickelodeon series casts could be described as such, the one that sticks out is Wilmer Valderrama, who currently voices the lead character on Handy Manny on the Disney Junior block so his younger brother could watch something he was involved in (apparently, the younger brother would be too young to have known he played Fez on That '70s Show).
  • Larry David guest-starred in an episode of Hannah Montana along with his daughters, because they're fans of the show.
  • James Woods wanted to play Hades in Disney's Hercules... and all incarnations in any outlets thereafter... to make his children happy and so they can watch their daddy in something appropriate. Same with Danny De Vito as Phil, in the same film, quoted in the 'Art Of' book as saying, "If my kids could watch it and say, 'Daddy was in this movie', that would be pretty cool, ya know?"
  • According to this article from Cracked, this was the reason why Stuart Gordon and Brian Yuzna, makers of the Cult Classic schlock-horror films Re-Animator, From Beyond, and Dolls, ended up writing Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. Gordon was originally set to direct it as well but had to drop out because he got sick.
  • Inside Out:
    • Like George Carlin above, Lewis Black, a comedian mostly known for stand up involving a lot of crude humor and lots of swearing, played the role of Anger so he'd have at least one kid-friendly role on his resume that wasn't a holiday special (he had previously done The Happy Elf, which was considered one). He would later land another child-friendly role with the airing of SpaceBob MerryPants.
    • Despite starring in several Pixar movies beforehand and playing Tom in Tom and Jerry: The Movie, Richard Kind played the role of Bing Bong so his kids could watch the film. This worked, as he reported that after a test screening, his twelve-year-old daughter hugged him after his final scene because she loved it so much.
  • Tiffani Thiessen played Misty the Wonderful Witch on Jake And The Neverland Pirates so her then two-year-old daughter Harper could watch something she was in.
    • Another celebrity, Brett Dalton, took a role as a parrot in the show for his then three-year-old daughter Sylvia. This may also explain him playing Brick in Milo Murphy's Law.
    • This could also explain Leigh Allyn Baker's role as Queen Coralie, as she had a four-year-old son named Griffin at the time who was a big Disney Junior fan. She also took the role of Queen Delightful in The 7D, as well as several minor roles in Mickey and the Roadster Racers, for the same reason.
  • Chazz Palminteri stated this was why he did his VA role in Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure.
  • Matthew Broderick said this was pretty much the reason, despite the fact that he thought he was playing Kimba, that he did The Lion King (1994). He even admitted it on Entertainment Weekly. This was also the reason he did Godzilla (1998) — a decision that will haunt him to his grave.
    • Though he's never actually said it, it's hard not to look at Jeremy Irons's pre-Lion King resume and not think he did it to be in something his then 9-year old son Max could watch.
    • James Earl Jones has actually said he did it for his son because his son loves animation.
  • Cheech Marin did voices for Oliver & Company and The Lion King (1994) for this reason. He also suggested that his friend Tommy Chong be Shenzi; unfortunately, he was unable to get a hold of him. Given "Be Prepared", said children must have been traumatised.
    • Speaking of Oliver and Company, Billy Joel voiced Dodger in that movie (his only animated role to date), specifically because his daughter was recently born and he wanted to be in a film she could relate to.
      • Bette Midler took a role in the same movie because she wanted to be in a movie her daughter Sophie could see. This may have also been why she did Hocus Pocus.
  • As soon as Luke Perry learned that he was having a daughter, he took on a guest role in an episode of Pepper Ann.
  • Geoffrey Rush says he did the Pirates of the Caribbean films for this very reason. This was before the movies became Darker and Edgier fare that wasn't quite the most kid-friendly material.
  • Patton Oswalt's role in Ratatouille. He actually has a routine about how much the movie has affected his day-to-day life, and how jarring it is to realize that he now has child fans.
  • Katey Sagal starred as Flo Spinelli in Recess for her kids Jackson and Sarah.
  • After her son Oliver was born, Ginnifer Goodwin took the role of Gwen in the Sofia the First episode "Gizmo Gwen". She also happens to be a very big Disney fan, so it was a win-win situation.
    • Isla Fisher played a recurring role of a sprite for her daughters, who were big fans of the show.
    • Viola Davis starred as Helen Henshaw, leader of the Buttercups, for her then 3-year-old daughter Genesis, who would later star in The Angry Birds Movie 2.
  • Megan Hilty jumped at the chance to voice KC The Koala on T.O.T.S. because of her daughter.
  • Real headline: "Cindy Crawford: ‘Wizards of Waverly Place Made Me Famous With My Kids’".
  • One of the reasons why Jason Bateman was really excited about voicing Nick Wilde in Zootopia? "These are the only films I see now because of my kids."
  • He's never actually said this, but it's easy to assume that John C. Reilly at least partially went into Wreck-It Ralph with his young sons in mind.
    • During a promotional appearance for Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, he revealed that he thought of them when doing that movie, and pondered if he could show it to them despite its relatively dark (but still PG-13) subject matter - he said he would, adding "It depends on what parents think their kids can handle." (He may have had this same mindset when he did 9 the same year.)
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    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • This goes as far back as the genesis of the show. William Hartnell, the First Doctor, took the part so his Grandkids could watch and because he wanted to get away from his typecasting as military types.
    • Whilst not actually having children himself, Christopher Eccleston accepted the role of the Ninth Doctor in the new series partly because he wanted a chance to spread his wings and do something light-hearted and fun that kids could watch after being known for his largely dark, brooding roles. Even then, his Doctor was pretty much the darkest and most brooding one yet. He went on record saying what touched him the most was the responses he got from children who watched him.
    • Likewise, Peter Capaldi might not have taken the role of the Twelfth Doctor because of his trope (his daughter being a bit too old for it to apply), but it did allow him to appear in something family-friendly after a career best known for edgy productions such as the F-bomb-filled The Thick of It. Since becoming the Doctor, Capaldi has generally stuck to appearing in family-friendly fare when not filming the show, such as Paddington and its sequel.
    • John Simm, whilst noted and having achieved critical acclaim for his serious dramatic work, accepted his role as the Master in order to impress his son. There's also a suspicion that he rather enjoyed the chance to ham it up in the process. This is a recurring theme for many British thespians who have appeared on the show, many (almost ruefully) noting that whilst they may be up there with the great Hamlets of the age, their appearance on Doctor Who is the only role their kids are interested in.
      • Simm's episodes were so filled with scares that he (reputedly) ended up forbidding his son from watching. His son likely got some idea of what happened in the episodes, given he got a lot of attention from his schoolmates because his dad was the Master.
    • Ben Browder signed on for "A Town Called Mercy" in part because his kids watched the show.
    • Example with a less famous actor in the classic series: Mary Peach appeared in "The Enemy of the World" because her kids wouldn't believe she was a real actress until she'd been on Doctor Who. Another actor in a Hartnell/Troughton-era story said pretty much the same thing.
    • Although it may not have been intended, British actress Charity Wakefield created this scenario over a one-month period between December 2016 and January 2017 when she acted in two adults-only miniseries engaging in nude sex scenes in Close To The Enemy and The Halcyon, but exactly midway between those broadcasts she took a guest-starring role in the decidedly family-friendly episode "The Return of Doctor Mysterio." Her co-star in the episode, Justin Chatwin, has a similar adults-only history, being best known for co-starring in the raunchy US cable series Shameless (US), and er... something else.
    • Emmy-winning writer Richard Curtis admitted that he wrote the episode "Vincent and the Doctor" for this exact reason.
    • Ben Wheatley directed Peter Capaldi's first two episodes because his son's a fan and he wanted to make something his son could see.
    • In a kind of related example, many of the actors appearing in the new series also come on the show because they used to religiously watch the show as kids and the chance to fulfill an old childhood ambition was just too good to pass up. Most notably, David Tennant — the Tenth Doctor — has publicly remarked that the entire reason he got into acting was so that he could one day play the Doctor. If Andy Bigstar wasn't a fan when he grew up, then his kid is now. It's kind of a win-win for the producers.
      • When Tennant appeared on Top Gear as Star in a Reasonably Priced Car, Clarkson asked if it really was true that David went into acting because as a child he wanted to be the Doctor, Tennant simply answered by asking, "Didn't everyone?" To which the audience erupted in loud cheering, naturally.
    • Olivia Colman has said in interviews that she took her role in "The Eleventh Hour" partially so that her children (who were young at the time) could watch her on screen; this backfired when she forgot about the monstrous CGI teeth they had added in post, and had to shut off the episode almost immediately when the kids panicked to see mummy as a monster.
  • Fred Astaire proactively asked for a guest appearance on the original Battlestar Galactica TV series for this very reason, which is ironic given nearly every film he ever made (save perhaps a couple of dramatic roles like The Towering Inferno) was G-rated. As it was, producer Glen Larson was delighted to create an entire episode to feature him.
  • Jackie Earle Haley—whose recent roles have included a pedophile in Little Children, Rorschach in Watchmen, and Freddy Krueger in the rebooted A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010)—has said that he enjoys his role on Human Target because it's something his daughter can watch. He later returned to more adult roles such as playing the villain Ruvik in the M-rated horror video game The Evil Within.
  • Frank Langella appeared in the opening three-parter of season 2 of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine because his kids were fans. Indeed, he even asked to be uncredited so people wouldn't think he was doing it for money.
    • He also played Skeletor in the live-action He-Man film for this reason. Of course, that was for more than just his kids; Langella has often identified Skeletor as his favorite role he's ever played, relishing the unique opportunities it offered.
  • Jon Stewart laments on The Daily Show about trying to get on his kids' favorite TV show. Because the negotiations often take months, the kids aren't interested in the show anymore by the time he makes a guest appearance.
  • Jason David Frank claimed that one of the reasons he returned in Power Rangers Dino Thunder was so that his still not-yet-born daughter could watch him later.
  • Joshua Malina took a guest role on iCarly, including a bikini dog food fight, for this reason.
    • May have been the reason for Jane Lynch's appearance as Pam Puckett, Sam's mom.
      • Jane Lynch's reason was sweeter and more awesome at the same time. In her wedding vows, she promised her partner to try and get tickets for the show for their kids. The show doesn't have a studio audience, so tickets were an impossibility. However, when the producer heard that, he was so flattered he decided to find a role for her so she could bring them. Up until that point, he had never planned to show Sam's mom on-screen, because he could never find an actress good enough. But when he thought about it, he realized Jane Lynch would be perfect for the role, and wrote the episode for her.
  • Otto Preminger played Mr. Freeze in one episode of Batman (1966) for the sake of his six-year-old twins.
    • This is also the reason why Eli Wallach chose to play Mr. Freeze in the same series.
  • Inverted with Sota Fukushi, lead actor of Kamen Rider Fourze: He got the role to please family members who are fans of the Kamen Rider franchise... those family members being in fact his parents.
  • Though it isn't a kids' show, Danny DeVito asked if he could have a part on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia because his kids liked the show.
  • Joan Collins' story at the Star Trek 30th Anniversary of how she got the part in "The City on the Edge of Forever":
    In 1967, when my two children finally entered school, I decided I wanted to go back to acting, and soon afterwards, my agent Tom Corman called to say I'd been offered a great part in a Star Trek episode.
    "Star what?" I said?
    "It's a huge new cult show," said Tom. "Obviously you haven't been reading the trades."
    "No, I've been too busy reading Mother and Child Care by Doctor Spock."
    "Forget Doctor Spock," he said. "Start thinking Mister Spock."
    "Ah, yes!" I said. "Mister Spock, the one the ears? The children love that show!"
    "Right, then you'd better do it. You'll probably be queen of the universe, possess intergalactic powers, wear tight, revealing costumes. Trust me, I'm your agent."
    A week later I was cast as Edith Keeler, a saintly Earthling, who works as a social worker in a 1930s mission for down-and-out bums in New York's Bowery. Thanks, Tom.
  • Even before HBO took over production, Sesame Street often saw actors from decidedly adults-only productions appear in cameos while said shows were still on the air because they had kids who liked the show. Examples include Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones and Emmy Rossum of Shameless (US). Doubles as Parental Bonus since only parents would likely recognize these people and register why they're popular enough to appear on Sesame Street. It also doubles as an Awesome, Dear Boy moment since just about everyone born after 1960 has watched Sesame Street at some point. In fact, this sort of thing is a trope all to itself.
  • Todd Haberkorn played Mr. Knickerbocker in the Barney home video "Let's Make Music!" the year after his son was born.
  • Anthony Bourdain starred in episodes of Yo Gabba Gabba! and Sanjay and Craig so his daughter Ariane could watch something he was in.
    • Lina Cardellini also took roles on Sanjay And Craig after the birth of her daughter Lilah-Rose.
    • Bill Hader also starred on Yo Gabba Gabba for his daughter, since it was her favorite show. This wound up backfiring when she revealed that she was actually embarassed by her dad appearing on the show.
  • After Bill Irwin's son Patrick was born, he starred in an episode of Sesame Street and stayed as a part of the cast even after his son had outgrown the show, most notably playing Mr. Noodle in Elmo's World. He also appeared on an episode of The Adventures of Pete & Pete and in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas! for the same reason.
  • According to an obituary of veteran Canadian actor Sean McCann, he took on the role of Noah Tomten on The Noddy Shop not only because the character was a perfect match for him, but because he was about to become a grandfather himself at the time of production. (This makes perfect sense considering that one of the show's core themes is intergenerational relationships, with much of the promotional material encouraging grandparents to watch it with their grandchildren.) This could also explain his roles in Little Bear and George Shrinks.
    • This might be one of the reasons Gregory Cross took a role as Ed Caruso: at the time Noddy was airing, his son Adam was young enough to be in its target demographic.
  • Niecy Nash appeared in That's So Raven and The Mighty B! for her daughter Dia.
  • Kevin Dobson of Days of Our Lives fame took a role on Captain Kangaroo for his children.

    Music 
  • They Might Be Giants released four albums of children's music (three of which are educational) after becoming known for their adult-focused work. Not surprisingly, their adult fans enjoy them too, to the point where kid song "No!" ended up on their "Best Of"-style Dial-A-Song compliations.
  • Akon stated Michael Jackson's cancelled "This Is It" tour was partially made for his kids to finally see dad performing on stage.
  • Allegedly, Courtney Love walked into the recording studio and said that she wanted to write a song that she could sing to her daughter. This is Kurt Cobain's wife, with similar musical aesthetics. What came out of the recording session was the delightfully candy-coated "Heaven Tonight".
  • John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival once appeared on a Christmas video with The Wiggles because his daughter was a big fan of theirs.
  • Andrew Lloyd Webber wrote the musical Starlight Express with his two kids in mind.
  • MC Chris has released one album "Marshmallow Playground", specifically so he can share some of his music with his niece and nephews.
  • Will Smith stated this was why he always has clean lyrics in his music.
  • The exact reason why Bobby Womack came out of retirement to sing on Stylo by Gorillaz (his daughter specifically nudged him to work with Albarn). The song revitalized public interest in Womack, leading to his first album in 18 years.
  • Mads Mikkelsen initially didn't know who Rihanna was, but agreed to appear as the villain in the music video for "Bitch Better Have My Money" because his kids are huge fans.

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A variant: Shawn Michaels apparently did the SummerSlam 2002 Street Fight match with Triple H in order to show his son (who was 2 at the time) what his dad used to do before he was born (up to that point Shawn had been retired from ring action due to a serious back injury suffered at the 1998 Royal Rumble). You can see him wave into the camera as he enters the ring, presumably to his son who was watching from home. It was intended to be a one-off but afterwards, he found his back was able to handle the rigors of wrestling once more and continued his career all the way up to 2010's WrestleMania XXV
  • Goldberg's 2016 return was so his wife and son could watch him wrestle. (He hadn't married or had his son until after his first retirement in 2004.)
  • Kevin Steen signing with WWE was partially for the money, but moreso for his son Owen, a huge fan of the promotion, to see him wrestle. Steen took the name Kevin Owens in honour of his son and his namesake, Owen Hart
  • CHIKARA 2014: Invoked and crossed with Action Dad. In the final Ashes video, "Workin'", assailANT, who had debuted in 2012 as part of GEKIDO, a group of Psycho Rangers to five of CHIKARA's top tecnicosnote , showed Green Ant a picture of his son on his phone and explained that he was the reason for his change of heart and why he cut his ties with GEKIDO, that he didn't want his son to see a man "consumed with anger, jealousy or rage." This led to assailANT being reintroduced at the return show, You Only Live Twice on May 25, 2014, as Worker Ant, having taken up the mantle of the original who retired due to injuries in 2009.

    Radio 
  • A particularly tragic example occurred when comedian Lou Costello, of Abbott and Costello fame, lost his son, Lou Jr., to accidentally drowning in the family pool. The evening of the death was going to be the first time Lou Jr. would be allowed to stay up and listen to his father's radio show. Instead of cancelling the show, Lou insisted The Show Must Go On, saying "Wherever he is tonight, I want him to hear me."

    Theatre 
  • Frank Wildhorn, who composed the songs for Death Note: The Musical, admits he hadn't even heard of the original manga or anime when he was offered the job. He was convinced by his teenage son, who said it'd be "the coolest thing he'd ever done."

    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • This is why Key/Visual Arts made CLANNAD an all-ages VN, contrasted with the eroge the company was previously known for.

    Web Original 
  • In Tobuscus' earlier YouTube videos, he was unkempt, frequently unshaven, and inclined to profanity; clearly going for a "bad boy" vibe. Since 2010, however, he has become almost entirely comedic, never swears, and is otherwise squeaky clean, save for his habitually tousled hair. Not coincidentally, this is about the time when his teenage niece Ciara started appearing in his videos.
  • Brentalfloss records G-rated versions of his "Video game songs With Lyrics" albums so that his nephews can listen to his work. These albums have become popular with fans as well because they use more wordplay/unexpected humor than his regular songs.
  • Likewise, Sky Does Minecraft's videos became more squeaky clean (notably, profanity was lessened and/or censored) around the time he had his son Mason. After separating from his ex-girlfriend Alicia, he's since reverted back.


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