List of former Universal Studios Florida attractions

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For a list of the park's current attractions, see List of Universal Studios Florida attractions.
The original logo for Universal Studios Florida, used from 1990 until 1998. During this time, many of the park's now former attractions were in operation.

This is a list of former Universal Studios Florida attractions.

History[edit]

Since Universal Studios Florida's opening on June 7, 1990, a total of 35 attractions have been retired, and usually replaced or re-themed into new attractions, 16 of them being original attractions.

The original entrance to the theme park, circa 1993. It was replaced with the current entrance in 1998.

The first major attraction to be retired from the park was An American Tail Theatre in 1992, due to low attendance capacity. The show was replaced in the same year by Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue, and the Fievel's Playland attraction, also based on the film An American Tail, opened in the park's Expo Center area simultaneously,[1] and is now part of Woody Woodpecker's KidZone.

In 1996, the interactive show attraction Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre was closed due to the cancellation of the Murder, She Wrote television show on which it was based; also retired around the same time was the next door MCA Recording Studio, also an interactive show. The two attractions were replaced the following year by Hercules and Xena: Wizards of the Screen[2] and Stage 54.[3] The Hercules and Xena attraction was later closed and abandoned in 1999,[4] and Stage 54 followed in 2003, with the latter of the two replaced by "Donkey's Photo Finish", an interactive meet-and-greet.

Two further attractions were retired in November 1996. Ghostbusters Spooktacular closed on November 8[5] due to the end of a contract, and was replaced in the spring of 1998 by Twister...Ride it Out.[6] The nearby The Screen Test Home Video Adventure followed on November 11, and was replaced in the following year with the Islands of Adventure Preview Center. The preview center itself was closed following the grand opening of Islands of Adventure in 1999, and its former space was used for Universal Express distribution, and is now currently used as an extended queue area for Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride.

Other closures of minor attractions occurred throughout the 1990s . The Swamp Thing Set, used for the production of the television series Swamp Thing up until 1993, was demolished in 1994. Men in Black: Alien Attack was constructed on the previous site in 2000.[7] How to Make a Mega Movie Deal was closed due to unpopularity in 1993. In 1998, Universal attempted to revive it with the similar AT&T at the Movies attraction, which would later close in 2001, with its entrance used for Universal Express distribution. In the New York area of the park, the StreetBusters show was performed from 1991 until 1993. In 2002, an update version of the show titled Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way was brought back,[8] and was later closed in 2005 when the park did not renew their contract to the Ghostbusters characters. The Marvel Show, also located in the New York area of the park, was discontinued in the summer of 1995. The Bates Motel Set, which was used for production of Psycho IV: The Beginning, was demolished in 1995, with A Day in the Park with Barney constructed on the site in the same year.[9] Similarly, The Bates Mansion Set, also used for production of Psycho IV, was demolished in 1998, with Curious George Goes to Town constructed on the re-landscaped site.

In February 2000, the park's finale show Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular set in Universal Studios' lagoon was closed[10] due to maintenance issues. Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular began inhabiting the space in July 2006.[11]

In 2002, the park announced that The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera and Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies would both be closed by the end of the year.[12] Before that, Kongfrontation was retired in a grand closing ceremony on September 8, 2002,[13] and was replaced in May 2004 by Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride.[14] The closure of Kongfrontation has been viewed as the most park changing and notable closure in Universal Studios' history which caused a great deal of controversy among theme park fans. Following the closure of Kongfrontation, The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera closed on October 20, 2002, and was replaced in April 2003 by Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast,[15] which utilized the same ride system and technology. Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies was retired on January 3, 2003, and was replaced later in the year by Shrek 4-D, a 3-D short film.[16]

In early September 2003, The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was closed[17] due to a loss of the attraction's usual capacity. It was replaced in 2005 by Fear Factor Live, another live stunt show.[18] Two years after Wild Wests closure, the Nickelodeon Studios facility and attraction were disestablished on April 30, 2005 due to Nickelodeon moving their production facilities to Burbank, California.[19] The former space was left abandoned until it was re-designed in 2007 for the opening of Blue Man Group Sharp Aquos Theatre, an attraction in Universal CityWalk Orlando.[20]

In September 2006, half of the Back to the Future: The Ride attraction was shut down,[21] preparing the ride for a complete closure which eventually occurred on March 30, 2007.[22] It was replaced on May 15, 2008 by The Simpsons Ride.[23] The closure of Back to the Future has been viewed as the second notable attraction closure in the park after Kongfrontation. The second attraction to be retired in 2007 was Earthquake: The Big One, on November 5,[24] with the attraction's pre-show portions already having been discontinued on September 8. The ride was replaced two months later, in January 2008, with Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring You!.[25] Similar to Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast, the attraction uses the same ride system and technology as the previous attraction, however, the queue and pre-show portions are completely different.

In 2008, The Boneyard attraction was retired, and was replaced in the spring of 2009 with The Universal Music Plaza Stage, and open-air amphitheatre used for the park's music concerts.[26]

On March 14, 2011, Universal announced that the Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast ride would begin operating on a seasonal schedule on April 1, 2011, preparing the ride for a permanent closure which eventually occurred on August 18, 2011. They confirmed on May 19, 2011 that it would be replaced with a new Despicable Me themed attraction which is among several new concepts in development for the Resort over the next few years.[27][28] Shortly after the closure of Nicktoon Blast, Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular was removed in early September 2011, to make room for Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories.[29]

On December 2, 2011, Universal Orlando announced that the Jaws attraction, as well as the surrounding Amity area of the park, would be permanently closed on January 2, 2012 to make way for a new experience.[30][31] The removal of Jaws has been viewed as the third most notable attraction closure in the park's history after Kongfrontation and Back to the Future: The Ride.

Two further shows throughout the park's history have been revamped several times. The first was StarToons which replaced The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show which closed in 1993. StarToons, located in the Production Central area, operated from 1993 until 1996. When the newest section of the park, Woody Woodpecker's KidZone, opened in 1998, the park brought back the show as StarToons Character Meet and Greet. It was revamped once again in 2008 as StarToons: 80's Rewind. The second of the two shows was Animal Actors Stage which was replaced by Animal Planet Live in 2001. When Universal's contract with Animal Planet ended in 2006, the show was revamped as Animal Actors On Location. The show is similar to the original but with updated segments.

Throughout the park's history of attraction closures, merchandise shops connected to major attractions have been closed and refurbished to fit the theming of the replacement attractions. The park's former gift shops include Nickelodeon Kiosk, Hanna-Barbera's Store, The Bates Motel Shop, Paranormal Store, Safari Outfitters Ltd., Shakin's Souvenirs, Back to the Future: The Store, Nick Stuff and Quint's Surf Shack, which have been replaced by Shrek's Ye Olde Souvenir Shoppe, Aftermath, Sahara Traders, and Kwik-E-Mart.

Three dining establishments have also been retired since the park's inception. The first of which was The Studio Stars Commisary, which was themed to the various famous movie stars. Due to modest feedback from park guests, the eatery was closed in 1991, and replaced in the same year by The Universal Studios' Classic Monsters Cafe. The second cafe to be retired was the original 1990 Hard Rock Cafe. While it was originally considered to be the world's largest Hard Rock Cafe, the company built a larger facility for the opening of Universal CityWalk Orlando in 1998, with the original Cafe closing shortly afterwards. The original building sat unoccupied in the park from 1999 until 2011, when it was completely demolished. The third dining establishment to be removed was The Midway Grill with Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs, which was closed along with the park's Amity area on January 2, 2012.

Production Central[edit]

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show[edit]

The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle Show opened in the summer of 1992.[32] The attraction was a live stage show featuring many characters from the television series of the same name including Rocky, Bullwinkle, Boris, Natasha and Snidley Whiplash.[33] The 16-minute show was removed in 1993 to make way for StarToons.[citation needed]

Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies[edit]

Alfred Hitchcock: The Art of Making Movies was a part-3-D film, part-live action show at Universal Studios Florida, and one of the theme park's original attractions.[34] The attraction featured attacks from birds similar to Hitchcock's film The Birds in the pre-show area, and featured the shower scene from Psycho in the main show with narration by Anthony Perkins who played the part of Norman Bates in Psycho.[35] It closed on January 3, 2003, and was replaced by Shrek 4-D in mid-2003.[36]

The Boneyard[edit]

The Boneyard was an outdoor attraction which opened with the park on June 7, 1990.[37] The attraction featured a variety of props from Universal Pictures films and TV programs including Jurassic Park, Waterworld, Back to the Future and Ben Hur.[37][38] The area also housed special events such as Halloween Horror Nights and concerts. It was removed on September 8, 2008, to make way for The Universal Music Plaza Stage.[citation needed]

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera[edit]

The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera was a motion simulator ride with characters created by Hanna-Barbera including Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons and Dick Dastardly and Muttley.[39] The attraction was presented in two parts; a pre-show which established the attraction's storyline, and a main ride experience which utilized multiple motion simulation based cars manufactured by Intamin. It opened with the park in 1990 and closed on October 20, 2002, and was replaced by Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast in 2003.replaced by minion mayhem 2013

Hercules and Xena: Wizards of the Screen[edit]

Hercules and Xena: Wizards of the Screen opened in the summer of 1997,[40][41] replacing Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre.[2] The attraction was a live show demonstrating production on the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess series.[40] The live-action show[42] also featured members of the audience fighting stunt performers.[43] It was similar to the Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre which had previously occupied the attraction's soundstage building.[2] The final performance was on February 20, 2000.[44] It was replaced by Transformers: The Ride, which opened in 2013.

Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast[edit]

Jimmy Neutron's Nicktoon Blast was a motion simulator ride featuring various Nickelodeon characters, including Jimmy Neutron, Hey Arnold!, the Rugrats, The Fairly OddParents and SpongeBob SquarePants. The ride's experience featured park guests pursuing the villain Ooblar in a rocket chase through the worlds and soundstages of the Nicktoons. It opened on April 11, 2003, replacing The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, and was permanently closed on August 18, 2011. It was replaced by Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem on July 2, 2012.

MCA Recording Studio[edit]

MCA Recording Studio was an attraction that opened with Universal Studios Florida on June 7, 1990.[citation needed] The attraction was a small interactive exhibit which allowed visitors to experiment with various sound and recording effects, which are used during post-production of a movie, television show, commercial, or music video. Guests could also sing along to their favorite songs and purchase a recording of their performance.[3] It was removed in 1996 and replaced by Stage 54.[3]

Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre[edit]

Murder, She Wrote Mystery Theatre was an interactive show that opened with Universal Studios Florida on June 7, 1990.[45] In the show, guests were selected to be executive producers on a new episode of the Murder, She Wrote television show. The 25-minute show focused on the production of a variety of effects including makeup, sound and visual effects before showcasing the editing process.[2][46] Following the cancellation of the Murder, She Wrote TV show,[47] the attraction was closed in 1996 and was replaced by Hercules and Xena: Wizards of the Screen the following year.[2]

Nickelodeon Studios[edit]

Main article: Nickelodeon Studios

Nickelodeon Studios was a television studio and attraction that opened with the park on June 7, 1990. The 40-minute attraction allowed guests to take a tour of Nickelodeon's studio facility followed by an interactive live show which featured games based on Nickelodeon shows of the time. It was closed and disestablished on April 30, 2005, and was replaced by Blue Man Group Sharp Aquos Theatre which opened at Universal CityWalk Orlando on June 6, 2007.[20]

Production Studio Tour[edit]

The Production Studio Tour was an attraction that toured the studio and production facilities of Universal Studios Florida.[48] Inspired by Universal Studios Hollywood's Studio Tour, the Production Studio Tour opened with the park on June 7, 1990.[48] Guests would board a tram in front of soundstage 19 (which was located next to Nickelodeon Studios) or in the middle of two of the soundstages in the park's production facilities. From there they would be taken on a 15-minute journey into and around various sound stages as well as being taken on a general tour around the park. Upon the completion of the tour, guests would exit into The Universal Studios Store where they could purchase a variety of merchandise. The tour was closed in 1995, yet The Universal Studios Store remains open to this day.[49]

Stage 54[edit]

Stage 54 was an attraction which opened at the park in 1997, replacing the MCA Recording Studio.[3] The attraction was located within soundstage 54 of Universal Studios Florida.[3] Throughout the years, the attraction was constantly updated to feature displays and props from Universal Pictures films of the time[3] including The Lost World: Jurassic Park,[50] Babe,[51] Babe: Pig in the City,[52] Small Soldiers[50] and The Mummy.[53] On January 24, 2003, the attraction was closed and replaced with Donkey's Photo Finish, a meet and greet attraction related to the park's Shrek 4-D attraction.

Star Toons[edit]

Star Toons was a live stage show featuring Hanna-Barbera characters Fred Flintstone, George Jetson, Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear, and Boo-Boo.[54] It opened in 1993 and closed in 1996.

New York[edit]

Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way[edit]

Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way was an updated version of the park's previous StreetBusters show, with a slightly different plot and music. It opened on October 1, 2002[55] and was discontinued on February 25, 2005.

Ghostbusters Spooktacular[edit]

Ghostbusters Spooktacular was a 20-minute, Ghostbusters-themed stage show that opened with Universal Studios Florida in 1990.[56] The original version of the show was hosted by a production assistant and based upon events and ghosts in the films. The second version was hosted by Louis Tully and featured a pre-show. It was closed on November 8, 1996,[57] to make way for Twister...Ride it Out which opened in 1998.[58][59]

Islands of Adventure Preview Center[edit]

Islands of Adventure Preview Center was a preview center which operated during the construction of Islands of Adventure from 1997 to 1999. It replaced The Screen Test Home Video Adventure. The Preview Center was designed to give guests a sneak peek at some of the themes and attractions for Islands of Adventure. In the attraction, guests would walk through various rooms themed to the various "Islands" in the new park. The final room stated when the Islands of Adventure park would open, and showed guests Universal's future plans for the Universal Orlando Resort. The Preview Center was closed shortly after the opening of Islands of Adventure.[60]

Kongfrontation[edit]

Main article: Kongfrontation

Kongfrontation was an attraction that opened with Universal Studios Florida on June 7, 1990, based on the 1976 remake of King Kong. The ride experience allowed guests to encounter an audio-animatronic King Kong while on a New York cable car. The ride was considered to be the flagship attraction of the New York area at the time as well as the landmark attraction of the park.[61] It closed on September 8, 2002 and was replaced by Revenge of the Mummy: The Ride which opened on May 21, 2004.

The Marvel Show[edit]

The Marvel Show was a seasonal outdoor show that went on in front of and on the building to the left of the Firehouse facade for Ghostbusters Spooktacular and featured multiple Marvel Comics characters, such as Spider-Man, Storm, Iron Man, and Wolverine.[62] It opened in the summer of 1993 and closed in 1995.

The Screen Test Home Video Adventure[edit]

The Screen Test Home Video Adventure was an interactive, upcharge experience which opened in March 1991. Guests were given the opportunity to star in one of two 10-minute films: Your Day at Universal Studios or The Star Trek Adventure. They would dress in costumes before being filmed in front of a blue screen. The final video could then be purchased by the guests for $29.95 plus tax.[63][64][65] It was closed November 11, 1996, and replaced by The Islands of Adventure Preview Center the following year.[66]

StreetBusters[edit]

StreetBusters was a seasonal show that opened in early 1991.[63] The plot of the show featured the Ghostbusters attempting to catch their biggest foe, Beetlejuice.[63] It was closed in 1993[citation needed] and later replaced with Extreme Ghostbusters: The Great Fright Way.[55]

San Francisco/Amity[edit]

On January 2, 2012, the Amity themed portion of this area was permanently removed to allow for the construction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.[67] This move also resulted in the closure of the Jaws attraction as well as the removal of multiple shopping and dining establishments in the section such as The Midway Grill and Quint's Surf Shack.

An American Tail Theatre[edit]

An American Tail Theatre was a live stage show based on the animated film An American Tail: Fievel Goes West.[68] The show opened with the park in 1990 and was closed and removed in 1992 to make way for Beetlejuice's Rock and Roll Graveyard Revue.

The theme would shift to Fievel's Playland, a mini water park that is now part of Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone.

Earthquake: The Big One[edit]

Earthquake: The Big One was an attraction that opened with the park on June 7, 1990[69] The 20-minute experience allowed guests to experience an 8.3 magnitude earthquake from the comfort of their Subway Train.[59] Two versions of the ride operated. The first version ran from the park's opening in 1990 through to 2002. It was solely based on the film Earthquake.[59] From 2002 until the attraction's closure in 2007, the attraction was based on several films including E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, U-571 and Earthquake. Earthquake: The Big One only operated for short periods during the 5 months after opening due to a series of problems in the design of the ride. Fellow Universal Studios Florida attractions including Jaws and Kongfrontation also faced similar problems resulting in a lawsuit against Ride & Show Engineering Inc.[69][70][71][72] Earthquake: The Big One was permanently closed on November 5, 2007, to make way for Disaster!: A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring You! which opened in January 2008.[59][73]

Jaws[edit]

Main article: Jaws (attraction)

Jaws was a special effects water ride which opened with the park on June 7, 1990, and was based on the 1975 film of the same name. The attraction placed guests aboard tour boats for what should be a leisurely tour of Amity Harbor, but instead became a harrowing chase between the craft and a very determined great white shark. Jaws experienced massive mechanical difficulties following the opening of the park, as did fellow attractions such as Kongfrontation and Earthquake: The Big One, which resulted in a large re-construction of the attraction's original ride system as well as a lawsuit against Ride & Show Engineering, Inc.[74] Jaws was permanently removed on January 2, 2012, along with the Amity themed area of the park.

The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show[edit]

The Wild Wild Wild West Stunt Show was a live stunt show based upon a wide variety of Universal's Western films. Opening on July 4, 1991, in the Amity section of the park, the show featured several cowboy themed actors surviving death defying stunts, shootings and explosions.[63][65][75][76] The show closed on September 1, 2003, and was replaced by Fear Factor Live which opened on June 3, 2005.[77][78][79]

World Expo[edit]

Back to the Future: The Ride[edit]

Back to the Future: The Ride was a simulator ride based on and inspired by the Back to the Future trilogy that opened on May 2, 1991.[80] The ride story centered on a first-person adventure through time, in pursuit of Biff Tannen, the trilogy's villain. It was closed on March 30, 2007 and replaced on May 15, 2008 by The Simpsons Ride.[80][81]

The Swamp Thing Set[edit]

The Swamp Thing Set was a set of theatrical property that were built for the filming of the television series Swamp Thing.[82] Opening with the park on June 7, 1990,[82] the sets were featured as part of the park's Production Studio Tour. The sets were demolished in 1994, following the cancellation of the TV series one year prior. In 2000, the area which formerly held the Swamp Thing sets became the home of Men in Black: Alien Attack.[83]

Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone[edit]

Animal Actors Stage[edit]

Animal Actors Stage was a live stage show which opened with the park in 1990 and featured Universal's animal actors performing amazing stunts and tricks. It was later closed in 2001 and was replaced by Animal Planet Live.

Animal Planet Live[edit]

Animal Planet Live was a live stage show inspired by the TV channel Animal Planet, and featured multiple animals performing stunts and tricks. It replaced Animal Actors Stage when it opened at the park in 2001, and was closed in 2006 and replaced with Animal Actors on Location.

The Bates Mansion Set[edit]

The Bates Mansion Set was a set of theatrical property which recreated the set of The Bates Mansion from Psycho. Like The Bates Motel Set, it was also used to film Psycho IV: The Beginning. It opened with the park on June 7, 1990, and was later closed and demolished in 1998, and was replaced in the same year by Curious George Goes to Town.

The Bates Motel Set[edit]

The Bates Motel Set was a set of theatrical property which recreated the set of The Bates Motel from Psycho, and was built for the filming of Psycho IV: The Beginning. It was later used to house the haunted house The Psycho Path Maze for several years during Halloween Horror Nights at the park. It opened in 1990 and was closed and demolished in 1995 to make way for A Day in the Park with Barney which opened on July 10, 1995.

StarToons Character Meet and Greet[edit]

StarToons Character Meet and Greet was a live show where Universal Studios' cartoon characters would briefly sing and dance, followed by them posing for autographs and pictures with park guests. It was the second of four versions of the StarToons show to be featured at the park, the former being StarToons which operated in the Production Central area from 1993 until 1996. It opened in 1998 and was re-themed in 2008 as StarToons: 80's Rewind.

Hollywood[edit]

AT&T at the Movies[edit]

AT&T at the Movies was an interactive attraction that included various AT&T-based technologies presented in a movie style. It replaced How to Make a Mega Movie Deal when it opened at the park in 1998, and was closed in 2001.[84]

How to Make a Mega Movie Deal[edit]

How to Make a Mega Movie Deal opened a year after the park, in 1991,[64][85] and was closed in 1993 to make way for AT&T at the Movies which opened 5 years later.

Lagoon[edit]

Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular[edit]

Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular was an attraction that opened with Universal Studios Florida on June 7, 1990. The attraction was a live stunt show themed to Miami Vice located on the Lagoon in the center of the park. The show featured pyrotechnics and explosions, mixed with live actors on jet skis.[86][87][88] The 20-minute show was always performed during the final hour of the park before its closing for the day. It closed on February 17, 2000, almost 10 years of performances. Many of the props and sets in the show still remained in place until 2006, when the show was replaced by Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular.

Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular[edit]

Universal 360: A Cinesphere Spectacular was a nighttime show attraction located at Universal Studios Florida. It featured famous scenes from Universal Pictures' films projected onto four large inflated domes in the middle of a lagoon, while various fireworks, flame effects, lasers, lights and water effects are set off. The show generally took place at the hour of the park's closing. The show opened at the park on July 1, 2006, replacing Dynamite Nights Stunt Spectacular, and was removed in September 2011. It was replaced by Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular: 100 Years of Movie Memories on May 8, 2012.[29]

Former services[edit]

The former Hard Rock Cafe at Universal Studios Florida in what is now the Woody Woodpecker's Kidzone area. It was closed in 1998 for the opening of Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster, and was demolished in October 2011.

Below is a list of retail and dining establishments that have been closed since the park's inception, grouped by the section of the park in which they were formerly located.

Production Central

New York

San Francisco/Amity

  • Shaiken's Souvenirs (Earthquake: The Big One) (1990–2008)
  • Quint's Surf Shack (Jaws) (1990 – January 2, 2012)
  • Jaws Gift Stall (Jaws) (1990 – January 2, 2012)
  • The Midway Grill (1990 – January 2, 2012)
  • Boardwalk Snacks (1990 – January 2, 2012)

World Expo

  • Back to the Future: The Store (Back to the Future: The Ride) (December 1990 – May 2007) now Kwik-E-Mart (The Simpsons Ride)
  • International Food and Film Festival (1990 - November 13, 2012) now Fast Food Boulevard (Springfield)

Woody Woodpecker's KidZone

  • Hard Rock Cafe (original location) (1990–1998)
  • Universal Studios Cartoon Store (1999–2012) now SpongeBob StorePants

Hollywood

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