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  1. Top News Stories

    • TCM Remembers Deanna Durbin (1921-2013)

    • Though her name was little-remembered by anyone under the age of 50, Deanna Durbin once saved a major Hollywood studio from bankruptcy with a winning smile, an operatic singing voice and a can-do attitude. A MGM discovery, the 13 year-old Canadian √©migr√© was dumped by the studio in favor of a young Judy Garland in one of Tinseltown's most notorious intra-office screw-ups. Taken in at Universal, Durbin was groomed as a rival to Fox's pint-sized headliner Shirley Temple. Her first picture, "Three Smart Girls" (1936), was an unexpected box office smash and a string of subsequent hits made Durbin Hollywood's highest paid female star and an honorary Academy Award winner. As her international fame grew, Durbin's fans came to include British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Holocaust diarist Anne Frank. Shrewd investments and a share in a line of trademarked merchandise made the actress independently wealthy by the time she was 18 years old. With the end of the Great Depression and America's entry into World War II, Durbin's trademark sparkle faded somewhat, eclipsed by the rising stock of Judy Garland at MGM. Unhappy in her final roles for Universal, Durbin walked out of the limelight in 1949, never to return to films despite lucrative offers from Hollywood and Broadway. Raising a family in France with her third husband, Durbin refused all but one interview over the subsequent decades, preferring peace and privacy to her lasting fame as Hollywood's "Little Miss Fix-It."

      Deanna Durbin was born Edna Mae Durbin on Dec. 12, 1921, at Grace Hospital, a Christian community medical center in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Her parents, James and Ada Durbin (nee Reed), were British immigrants who had landed in Canada with their daughter Edith from Lancashire in the United Kingdom. James Durbin worked as a machinist with the Canadian Pacific Railroad until ill health prompted him to move his family to the more forgiving climate of Southern California, where he supported his wife and two daughters through the first hard years of the Great Depression via a string of menial jobs. Enrolled at Bret Harte Junior High School in Burbank, Edna Mae enjoyed swimming, roller-skating, school dramatics and singing at church functions; it was her sister, Edith, who thought she possessed a singing voice worthy of cultivation and gambled her weekly salary as a school teacher on voice lessons. While a student at the Ralph Thomas Academy, Edna Mae received attention from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, on the hunt for a teen singer with an operatic voice to play the younger Ernestine Schumann-Heink in a proposed biography of the famed Austrian contralto.

      Brought into Metro, Edna Mae sang an aria from Luigi Arditi's "Il Bacio" for a number of studio executives and later MGM head Louis B. Mayer, for whom she auditioned via telephone. With her voice at age 13 already as refined as that of a mature soprano, Durbin won the role but the diagnosis of leukemia and subsequent death of Mrs. Schumann-Heink in 1936 finished MGM's plan for a movie biopic. Edna Mae had been given a provisional six-month studio contract and was renamed Deanna Durbin, a stage name inspired in part by her family nickname of Deedee. MGM promoted their new acquisition in the trade papers and loaned her out for singing engagements on the radio. Just before the step contract was to expire, Mayer ordered a screen test of Durbin and another young hopeful named Judy Garland to determine which of the gifted singers might be retained as MGM's answer to Shirley Temple. Produced as a short film, "Every Sunday" (1936) prompted Mayer to bark to a subordinate "Drop the fat one." He had meant Garland, but it was Durbin's contract which was allowed to expire, leaving the now 14-year-old hopeful a free agent.

      When MGM casting director Rufus LeMaire, who had played a part in Durbin's discovery at the studio, shifted his allegiance to Universal, he brought Durbin along with him. Put on a $300 weekly salary, Durbin was plugged into the ailing studio's "Three Smart Girls" (1936), as the youngest of a trio of sisters who contrive comedically to reconcile their estranged parents. While the film was in production and Universal was busy trumpeting their new star, Durbin was invited to perform on the weekly radio program of singer Eddie Cantor; after her first on-air appearance, Durbin received 4,000 fan letters. During production of the film, the Hays Office gave the script its stamp of approval, which encouraged Universal's new studio head, Charles Rogers, to upgrade the miserly $100,000 budget to nearly four times that. Produced by Joe Pasternak and directed by Henry Koster (who coached Durbin extensively through shooting), "Three Smart Girls" was a hit, earning close to $2 million at the box office and pulling Universal back from the brink of insolvency.

      As instant a movie star as Hollywood ever minted, Deanna Durbin's weekly salary was increased to $3,000 per week to suit her celebrity standing. As her public stock rose, so did her asking price and the size of her perquisites, which included a $10,000 per-picture bonus. "Three Smart Girls" would spawn two sequels: "Three Smart Girls Grow Up" (1939) and "Hers to Hold" (1943). Durbin's name was placed above the title in the credits for her second film, "One Hundred Men and a Girl" (1937), which put her on the screen with legendary conductor Leopold Stokowski, appearing as himself. Another popular hit, the film stamped the Deanna Durbin template; part Andy Hardy, part Nancy Drew and somewhere between Shirley Temple and Jeannette McDonald, Durbin was an archetypal virginal schemer whose plans to help others - usually one or both parents - seem doomed to failure until the climactic deus ex machina brings tears of happiness and songs of joy. "Mad About Music" (1938) and the Oscar-nominated "That Certain Age" (1938) both returned significant box office receipts and solidified Durbin's standing as a top box office draw.

      In 1939, Durbin and her old MGM stable mate Mickey Rooney received Juvenile Academy Awards "for bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth." Later that same year, Durbin was given her first highly-publicized onscreen kiss later in "First Love" (1939), courtesy of a 20-year-old Robert Stack, making his film debut. During this period, Durbin attained the age of consent and weathered two short-lived marriages; the first to assistant director Vaughn Paul and the second to producer Felix Jackson. By 1940, she had seven box office hits to her credit, but Durbin was growing frustrated by Universal's refusal to allow her to graduate to mature roles. In 1941, she was put on suspension for refusing a project and 1942 came and went with no new films starring Deanna Durbin. When Universal and Durbin came to terms at last, the actress had won the power of script approval. Her first film under this new agreement, "The Amazing Mrs. Holliday" (1943), had a tortured journey to the screen, with original director Jean Renoir replaced after 49 days by producer Bruce Manning. The New York Times singled out Durbin for scorn for choosing as her adult debut a project so "slapdash contrived and crude."

      Stranger still for her fans was Durbin's appearance in "Christmas Holiday" (1943). Despite its title and the pairing of Durbin with Broadway hoofer Gene Kelly, the Robert Siodmak film was not a Yuletide-themed musical but a noir-inflected adaptation of the Somerset Maugham tale of a good woman brought down by a smooth-talking wastrel. Intimations of incest between Kelly's natty wastrel and onscreen mother Gale Sondergaard and the suggestion that Durbin's character has turned to prostitution to support herself were a bitter pill for audiences who watched "Little Miss Fix-It" grow up at the movies. "Can't Help Singing" (1944) marked Durbin's only film shot in Technicolor and remained illustrative of how her home studio was impeding her career. At MGM, Judy Garland had made the Technicolor musical "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) and was moving on to other A-list star vehicles while Durbin remained stalled in mostly juvenile roles. In 1943, Universal refused to loan Durbin to star in "Oklahoma!" on Broadway, setting the inevitable outcome in motion.

      Durbin's final films for Universal were a mixed bag for audiences and critics alike, but the comic mystery "Lady on a Train" (1945) introduced her to the man who would become her third husband, French director Charles David. Unhappy in her work, Durbin was conversely the highest paid female star in Hollywood during this period, her home a sprawling 1.5 acre estate in the Pacific Palisades. Separated from her second husband and raising their daughter alone, Durbin found herself at constant loggerheads with Universal, which kept her on salary even as they shelved or recut her films, keeping "For the Love of Mary" (1948) off the screen for a year and slashing songs from the film adaptation of the Broadway musical "Up in Central Park" (1948). In 1949, Durbin was released from her studio contract. Decamping to France, she married Charles David in 1950 and bore him a son the following year. Having severed her ties with Hollywood, Durbin spent the rest of her long life in the company of family and close friends, fending off increasingly lucrative offers to make her comeback.

      By Richard Harland Smith

    • Comment
  1. New Books

    • Elizabeth and Michael

    • By Donald Bogle

      One of the country's leading authorities on popular entertainment presents an eye-opening and unique biography of two larger-than-life legends--Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson--and their unlikely yet enduring friendship.

      From the moment Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson met, they were hooked on each other. He peered into her violet eyes and was transfixed; she, in turn, was dazzled by his talent, intrigued by his sweet-tempered childlike personality, and moved by the stories she had already heard about his troubled early life. Soon a deep friendship blossomed, unexpectedly unlike anything either had ever experienced. Through thick and thin, through their various emotional upheavals, through the peaks and valleys of their careers, through their personal traumas and heartaches, through the unending health issues and extreme physical pain that each experienced, and through the glare of the often merciless public spotlight, their bond held them together, and their love for each other endured.

      Donald Bogle skillfully recreates the moving narrative of Taylor and Jackson's experiences together and their intense emotional connection, without shying away from the controversies that swirled around them. Through interviews with friends and acquaintances of the two stars, as well as anonymous but credible sources, Elizabeth and Michael emerges as a tender, intimate look at this famous "odd couple" and a treasure to their millions of fans.

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    • Robert Wagner's I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses

    • By Robert Wagner and Scott Eyman

      In a career that has spanned over sixty years, Robert Wagner has witnessed the twilight of the Golden Age of Hollywood and the rise of television, becoming a beloved star in both film and TV. During this time, he became acquainted, both professionally and socially, with many of the greatest female screen personalities of all time. I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES: Memories of Hollywood's Legendary Actresses (On-sale: 11/15/16) by Robert Wagner, with co-author Scott Eyman, provides an intimate and revealing account of the charisma of these women on film, why they became stars, and how their specific emotional and dramatic chemistries affected the choices they made both as actresses and as women.

      I LOVED HER IN THE MOVIES offers a privileged look behind the scenes at some of the most well-known women in show business. Among Wagner's subjects are Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Gloria Swanson, Norma Shearer, Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, Irene Dunne, Rosalind Russell, Dorothy Lamour, Debra Paget, Jean Peters, Linda Darnell, Betty Hutton, Raquel Welch, Glenn Close, and the two actresses whom he ultimately married, Natalie Wood and Jill St. John. In addition to offering perceptive commentary on these women, Wagner examines topics like the strange alchemy of the camera--how it can transform the attractive into the stunning, and vice-versa--and how the introduction of color brought a new erotic charge to movies--one that enabled these actresses to become aggressively sexual beings in a way that that black and white films had only hinted at.

      Robert Wagner is the star of such films as A Kiss Before Dying, The Longest Day, The Pink Panther, and most recently, the Austin Powers franchise. On television, he starred in It Takes a Thief (with Fred Astaire), Switch (with Eddie Albert and Sharon Gless), and Hart to Hart (with Stefanie Powers). He has recently appeared on Two and a Half Men and NCIS. He is married to actress Jill St. John.

      Scott Eyman is the author of eleven books about the movies, including Lion of Hollywood: The Life of Louis B. Mayer (which the Wall Street Journal called one of the five best books ever written about Hollywood), Empire of Dreams: The Epic Life of Cecil B. DeMille, and more recently, John Wayne: The Life and Legend.

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    • King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue

    • King of Jazz: Paul Whiteman's Technicolor Revue tells the story of the making, release, and restoration of Universal's 1930 Technicolor extravaganza King of Jazz. Authors James Layton and David Pierce have uncovered original artwork, studio production files, behind-the-scenes photographs, personal papers, unpublished interviews, and a host of other previously unseen documentation. The book offers a richly illustrated narrative with broader context on the film's diverse musical and theatrical influences. The story concludes with an in-depth look at the challenges Universal overcame in restoring the film in 2016. Additionally, the book's appendix provides a comprehensive guide to all of the film's performers, music, alternate versions, and deleted scenes.

      King of Jazz was one of the most ambitious films ever to emerge from Hollywood. Just as movie musicals were being invented in 1929, Universal Pictures brought together Paul Whiteman, leader of the country's top dance orchestra; John Murray Anderson, director of spectacular Broadway revues; a top ensemble of dancers and singers; early Technicolor; and a near unlimited budget. The film's highlights include a dazzling interpretation of George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," which Whiteman had introduced to the public in 1924; Walter Lantz's "A Fable in Jazz," the first cartoon in Technicolor; and Anderson's grand finale "The Melting Pot of Music," a visualization of popular music's many influences and styles. The film is not only a unique document of Anderson's theatrical vision and Whiteman's band at its peak, but also of several of America's leading performers of the late 1920s, including Bing Crosby in his first screen appearance, and the Russell Markert Dancers, who would soon become Radio City Music Hall's famous Rockettes.

      James Layton is Manager of the Museum of Modern Art's Celeste Bartos Film Preservation Center. Prior to this he worked at George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, where he curated two gallery exhibitions and the website Technicolor 100. Layton has also acted as Cataloguer and Workflow Coordinator at the East Anglian Film Archive in Norwich, UK, and is co-author of the Image Permanence Institute's informational poster Knowing and Protecting Motion Picture Film (2009).

      David Pierce is an independent film historian and archivist. He was formerly the Head of Preservation and Curator of the National Film and Television Archive at the British Film Institute. His articles have appeared in numerous journals, and his report on the survival of American silent feature films was published by the Library of Congress in 2013. He founded the Media History Digital Library, providing free online access to millions of pages of motion picture magazines and books.

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    • THE ESSENTIALS: 52 Must-See Movies and Why They Matter

    • By Jeremy Arnold
      Forward by Robert Osborne

      Since its inception on Turner Classic Movies in 2001, The Essentials has become the ultimate for movie lovers to expand their knowledge of must-see cinema and discover or revisit landmark films that have had a lasting impact on audiences everywhere.

      Based on the hit series, THE ESSENTIALS by Jeremy Arnold showcases 52 must-see movies from the silent era to modern times. Readers can enjoy one film per week, like on the show, for a year of great viewing, or indulge in a movie-watching binge-fest. Each film is profiled with entertaining discourse on why it's an Essential, and running commentary is provided by TCM's Robert Osborne and Essentials guest hosts past and present: Sally Field, Drew Barrymore, Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, Carrie Fisher, Molly Haskell, Peter Bogdanovich, Sydney Pollack, and Rob Reiner.

      Featuring full-color and black-and-white photography of the greatest stars in movie history throughout, THE ESSENTIALS is the ultimate curated guide to 52 films that define the meaning of the word "classic."

      Jeremy Arnold, a writer and film historian, is the author of Lawrence of Arabia: The 50th Anniversary, a coffee-table book companion to that film's Blu-ray release. In addition to his work for numerous film trade publications, he has written over five hundred programming articles for the Turner Classic Movies website and contributed audio commentaries and historical essays to the DVD and Blu-ray releases of classic films.

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  1. DVD Reviews

    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller Explore THE ASPHALT JUNGLE!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER EXPLORE "THE ASPHALT JUNGLE": Producer/host Dick Dinman welcomes back the "Czar of Noir" himself Eddie Muller as both celebrate the Criterion Collection's pristine release on Blu-ray of John Huston's THE ASPHALT JUNGLE which remains conceivably the greatest "heist/noir" masterwork ever committed to celluloid. (It's early in the year but its difficult to conceive that any home video outfit in the ensuing year will be able to top the astonishing "special features" included on this sensational disc.)

      PLUS: Show opener "Dick's Picks" salutes the Criterion Collection's recent Blu-ray releases of Robert Altman's McCABE & MRS. MILLER, Marlon Brando's ONE EYED JACKS and Howard Hawks' HIS GIRL FRIDAY.


      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to or

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    • Dick Dinman Salutes Air Hero Jimmy Stewart!

    • DICK DINMAN SALUTES WW2 AIR HERO JIMMY STEWART: The dual releases of Olive Films stunning Blu-ray incarnation of the James Stewart air power classic STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND as well as author Robert Matzen's awe inspiring book MISSION: JIMMY STEWART AND THE FIGHT FOR EUROPE, which for the first time ever reveals the truth about Stewart's dangerous bombing missions over Germany, give producer/host Dick Dinman ample motivation to salute the spectacular military career of screen icon Stewart and Dick is joined by returning guest Robert Matzen as they marvel at the courage, skill and fortitude of this certifiable American hero.

      The opening DICK'S PICKS segment salutes Olive Films and their latest Blu-ray releases of not only STRATEGIC AIR COMMAND but Orson Welles' MACBETH (two versions!), HOUDINI, THE PRIVATE AFFAIRS OF BEL AMI, VILLA RIDES. ONE OF OUR AIRCRAFT IS MISSING and two new 4k releases of THE QUIET MAN and JOHNNY GUITAR (first time in original widescreen format on home video!).

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to or

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    • Dick Dinman & Eddie Muller Salute Ultra-Rare Noir Classics!

    • DICK DINMAN & EDDIE MULLER SALUTE ULTRA-RARE NOIR CLASSICS: Producer/host Dick Dinman and Film Noir Foundation's Czar of Noir Eddie Muller wax poetic about the first-rate Blu-ray releases of three rarely seen film noir gems: Flicker Alley's dark and deadly duo of two heretofore thought virtually lost noir thrillers TOO LATE FOR TEARS and WOMAN ON THE RUN and KL Studio Classics 99 RIVER STREET about which Dick and Eddie have a rare major disagreement regarding the validity of what some consider the most memorable two scenes in the film.

      PLUS: A preview of KL Studio Classics upcoming noir Blu-ray release CRY OF THE CITY.

      The award-winning DICK DINMAN'S DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR is the only show devoted to Golden Age Movie Classics as they become available on DVD and Blu-ray. Your producer/host Dick Dinman includes a generous selection of classic scenes, classic film music and one-on-one interviews with stars, producers, and directors. To hear these as well as other DVD CLASSICS CORNER ON THE AIR shows please go to or

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  1. Press Release

    • TCM Remembers Robert Osborne - 3/18-19

    • Turner Classic Movies will dedicate two entire days to honor the legacy of longtime host Robert Osborne. Airing all day on Saturday, March 18 and Sunday, March 19, the 48-hour tribute will feature an extensive collection of the long-form interviews Osborne conducted during his 23 year tenure with the network, including:
      -Memorable installments of Private Screenings and Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival.
      -Special edition of Private Screenings where actor Alec Baldwin interviewed Osborne on the host's 20th anniversary at the network
      -Robert's first-film introduction for the network of Gone with the Wind
      -Among the Private Screenings specials featured during TCM's tribute to Osborne are his interviews with such legendary stars as Debbie Reynolds, Liza Minnelli, Betty Hutton and Ernest Borgnine.
      -Installments of TCM's annual Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival featured will include Robert's intimate interviews with screen legends such as Peter O'Toole, Eva Marie Saint, Kim Novak, Alan Arkin and Luise Rainer, who was 101 at the time of the interview and without her hearing aids, a situation Osborne graciously worked around by writing each question out on a noteptad for her to read.

      TCM's loving tribute to Osborne will showcase the qualities expressed in a message from TCM General Manager Jennifer Dorian, who wrote, "Robert was embraced by devoted fans who saw him as a trusted expert and friend. His calming presence, gentlemanly style, encyclopedic knowledge of film history, fervent support for film preservation and highly personal interviewing style all combined to make him a truly world-class host."

      The complete schedule for TCM's tribute to Robert Osborne is included below:

      TCM Remembers Robert Osborne

      Saturday, March 18
      6 a.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      7:30 a.m. - Private Screenings: Norman Jewison
      9 a.m. - Robert Osborne's 20th Anniversary Tribute
      10:15 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Alan Arkin
      11:30 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer
      12:15 p.m. - Private Screeniings: Liza Minnnelli
      1:30 p.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      3 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Eva Marie Saint
      4:15 p.m. - Robert Osborne's 20th Anniversary Tribute
      5:30 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Peter O'Toole
      6:45 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Kim Novak
      8 p.m. - Robert Osborne introduces Gone with the Wind in his first-ever on-air appearance as TCM's host
      8:05 p.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      9:30 p.m. - Private Screenings: Debbie Reynolds
      10:30 p.m. - Private Screenings: Betty Hutton
      11:45 p.m. - Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli
      12:45 a.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      2:15 a.m. - Private Screenings: Norman Jewison
      3:30 a.m. - Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine
      4:45 a.m. - Robert Osborne's 20th Anniversary Tribute

      Sunday, March 19
      6 a.m. - Private Screenings: Liza Minnnelli
      7 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Eva Marie Saint
      8:15 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Kim Novak
      9:15 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Peter O'Toole
      10:30 a.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      Noon - Robert Osborne's 20th Anniversary Tribute
      1 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Alan Arkin
      2:15 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer
      3 p.m. - Private Screenings: Ernest Borgnine
      4:15 p.m. - Private Screenings: Norman Jewison
      5:30 p.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      7 p.m. - Private Screenings: Liza Minnelli
      8 p.m. - Robert Osborne's 20th Anniversary Tribute
      9 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Eva Marie Saint
      10:15 p.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer
      11 p.m. - Robert Osborne's 20th Anniversary Tribute
      Midnight - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Peter O'Toole
      1:15 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Kim Novak
      2:30 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Alan Arkin
      3:45 a.m. - Private Screenings: Robert Osborne
      5:15 a.m. - Live From the TCM Classic Film Festival: Luise Rainer

      (All times Eastern)

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The Egg and I DVD
was $14.98
Westward The Women DVD
was $19.99
The Graduate (Criterion Collection) DVD
was $29.95


  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca
  • Wednesday, March 20, 2011

  • Removed: 10:00pm Springfield Rifle
    12:00pm Casablanca
    Added: 1:00pm Virginia City
    12:15pm Casablanca