Snow White
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs character
Snow White as she appears in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
First appearanceSnow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)
Created by
Based onSnow White from the Brothers Grimm's fairy tale
Voiced by
Portrayed by
In-universe information
TitlePrincess
OccupationScullery maid
AffiliationDisney Princesses
Family
SpouseThe Prince
NationalityGerman

Snow White is a fictional character and a main character from Walt Disney Productions' first animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). She was originally voiced by Adriana Caselotti. The character of Snow White was derived from a fairy tale known from many countries in Europe with the best-known version being the 1812 tale collected by the Brothers Grimm.

Snow White is the first Disney Princess and the first fictional female character with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[3] Given the title the "Fairest One of All", she has continued to inspire similar traits in future Disney heroines, such as singing and communicating with animals.

After Caselotti, she has also been voiced by Jane Powell, Ilene Woods, Dorothy Warenskjold, June Foray, Mary Kay Bergman, Carolyn Gardner, Melissa Disney, Katie Von Til, and Pamela Ribon, and portrayed live by Mary Jo Salerno (musical) and Stephanie Bennett (Descendants). Rachel Zegler will portray a live-action version of the character in the upcoming live-action adaptation of the original 1937 film.

Appearances

In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Main article: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937 film)

Snow White first appears in the film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). In "another land, far away,"[4] "many, many years ago," about the time of fairy tales of castles, knights, fair maidens, romance, magic and witches,"[5] a mysterious and icily beautiful woman with magical powers (a 1938 promotional brochure suggests that she is able to work her witchcraft having sold "herself body and soul to the bad spirits" of Germany's Harz mountains[6]) has gained her royal position by marrying the widowed King, giving her rule over his kingdom before he died. "From that time on the cruel Queen ruled all alone, her every word was law, and all trembled in mortal fear of her anger."[7] The vain Queen owned a magical mirror with which she could look upon whatever she wished. The Magic Mirror shows a haunted, smokey face of her familiar demon[6] which replies to the Queen's requests. She regularly asks the mirror who is the fairest in the realm ("Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" which is often misquoted as "Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all"[8]), and the mirror would always reply that she is. The Queen has magical power only over her own domain, which is the castle.[9]

In the film, Snow White is initially depicted as living under her wicked, vain stepmother, the Evil Queen, who forces Snow White to engage in menial labor, fearing that one day Snow White's beauty might become greater than her own. After many years, the Queen's Magic Mirror confirms Snow White as being the "fairest of them all", which causes the Queen to cast Snow White out and send a huntsman to kill her. But when he is unable to bring himself to do so, the huntsman helps Snow White escape into the forest. Snow White stumbles upon the home of the Seven Dwarfs, who happily aid her.

The Queen discovers that Snow White has survived, so she uses magic to disguise herself as an old hag and creates a poisoned apple that will put anyone who eats it into a “Sleeping Death" from which only the kiss of true love will revive. When the dwarfs are away the hag arrives at the dwarfs’ cottage and offers Snow White the poisoned apple, unbeknownst to her that it is the Queen in disguise. Snow White bites into the apple and falls into a deep sleep. Upon discovering what had happened, the dwarfs track down the Queen; a short fight ensues and the Queen is killed. Believing her dead, too, the dwarfs build an open grave for Snow White to rest on. Time passes and the Prince comes across Snow White. Saddened by her apparent death, he kisses her, causing her to awaken. As the Seven Dwarfs dance with joy, Snow White and the Prince go off to live together happily ever after.[10]

Other appearances

Snow White at Disneyland in 2012

Actress and dancer JoAnn Dean Killingsworth became the first person to portray Snow White at Disneyland in 1955.[11][12][13][14] She was hired to play Snow White for Disneyland's opening on July 17, 1955.[13] Killingsworth's Snow White was the only Disney Princess to have own float during Disneyland's first parade down Main Street, U.S.A. on opening day.[13] Since Killingsworth's 1955 debut as Snow White, more than 100 actresses have played the character at Disneyland.[11]

Snow White's Scary Adventures is a dark ride dedicated to the princess and her story at the Disneyland, Tokyo Disneyland, and Disneyland Paris theme parks. Located in Fantasyland, it is one of the few remaining attractions operational on Disneyland's opening day in 1955. The ride was closed in Disney World in May 2012 as part of the New Fantasyland expansion.[15]

She also makes appearances at Cinderella's Royal Table in Magic Kingdom and at the Akershus Restaurant and Germany Pavilion in Epcot. In California, Snow White can be found at the Princess Royal Hall in Fantasyland at Disneyland Park, on Main Street U.S.A., or by the Wishing Well next to the Sleeping Beauty Castle. She was also one of the meetable characters at Ariel's Grotto in California Adventure until it closed in January 2018. In Disneyland Paris, Snow White can often be at the Princess Pavilion in Fantasyland or at Auberge de Cendrillon in Disneyland Park. In Hong Kong, she is often up by the Wishing Well. In Tokyo, Snow White appears often in Fantasyland or World Bazaar. On Disney Cruise Line, Snow White sometimes appears, depending on a sailing.[16]

Snow White is an official member of the Disney Princess line, a prominent franchise directed at young girls. The franchise covers a wide variety of merchandise, including but not limited to magazines, music albums, toys, clothes, and stationery.[17]

Aside from appearing in video games related to the Disney Princess franchise media as well as appearances on the television series House of Mouse, Snow White also appears in the popular Kingdom Hearts series as one of the Seven Princesses of Heart.[18] She first appears in the first Kingdom Hearts as a Princess of Heart captured by Maleficent.[19] She reprises her role from the film in the video game Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.[20] Snow White also appears in the video game Disney Magical World which includes multiple furniture and costume items related to the character, and is also a playable character in Disney Magic Kingdoms.[21]

Mary Jo Salerno originated the role of Snow White in the 1970s musical adaptation. Video recordings were shown on television in early 1980s.

In a season six episode of the sitcom series Full House known as The House Meets The Mouse Parts 1 & 2, Snow White appeared in Part 2. Snow White also had cameos in the films Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) where she appears in the Toontown scene and at the end of the film with the toons and The Lion King 1½ (2004) where she, Seven Dwarfs, and other Disney characters came to rewatch the film with Timon and Pumbaa. In 2014, Snow White made a guest appearance on Sofia the First, in "The Enchanted Feast". She tells Sofia about how her stepmother tricked her by assuming a disguise, helping Sofia to determine that a visiting sorceress is actually an old foe, Miss Nettle. Snow White, alongside other Disney Princesses, appeared in the film Ralph Breaks the Internet.[22] She, along with the other Princesses, are portrayed in what The Washington Post described as a parody of the "Disney Princess Industrial Complex", and are later seen wearing modern outfits inspired by their respective backstories.[23]

In the ABC television series Once Upon a Time, an alternative version of Snow White is the daughter of King Leopold and Queen Eva and later stepdaughter of the Evil Queen (Regina Mills).[24][25] She is the true love of Prince Charming, mother of Emma Swan and Prince Neal, and grandmother of Emma's son Henry. In Storybrooke, she appears as Mary Margaret Blanchard, Henry Mills' teacher at Storybrooke Elementary School.[24]

In the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants, Snow White appears as a news reporter who reports activities in Auradon.

Snow White appears as one of the main characters in Lego's animated special Lego Disney Princess: The Castle Quest, released on Disney+ on August 18, 2023.[26]

She is set to be played by Rachel Zegler in Disney's upcoming live-action adaptation of the animated film.[27]

Books

The Fairest of All: A Tale of the Wicked Queen

Snow White is present in the first book of the Disney Villains series by Serena Valentino. In Fairest of All, Snow White plays a minor role, as the story is more focused on her stepmother. In the story, Snow and the Queen have a very good relationship before the Odd Sisters enchant the Magic Mirror to cause the Queen's jealousy and hatred of Snow. At the end of the novel Snow obtains the mirror and her stepmother becomes the spirit inside.

Mistress of All Evil: A Tale of the Dark Fairy

Snow White reappears as an older Queen in the fourth book of the Villains series. In the story, she is a queen, is still happily married to her Prince whom she has had children with. She also meets Circe for the first time and helps her uncover secrets about her past. It is revealed as well that Maleficent was assigned Snow White as a charge during her wish granting fairy test, and in order to help Snow White destroyed the mirror that contained Grimhilde's father's wicked spirit to free Grimhilde from her misery and allow her to return to the loving stepmother Snow White knew.

Mother Knows Best: A Tale of the Old Witch

Queen Snow White appears alongside Circe. She alongside Circe follows Gothel's journey in the storybook kept by the Odd Sisters.

The Odd Sisters: A Villain's Novel

Snow White features prominently in the sixth book in the Villains series. Alongside Circe the two of them set out to discover the truth about the Odd Sisters' origins as well as set to rights the trouble and chaos they caused. Along the way they encounter several previous characters in the novels. It isn't until they go to the Dead Woods and encounter Primrose and Hazel that they discover the truth of the Odd Sisters, that they were split into three individual witches by Manea's mother, Nestis, a powerful witch. The babies were taken by Jacob, Manea's former lover and now undead servant, to be given to the White family, where they were raised. A one on one encounter with the Odd Sisters results in the pulling of Grimhilde's spirit from the mirror, where she shatters and dies in front of Snow White. A shaken Snow White then watches as Circe kills herself in front of the Odd Sisters, dying in Snow White's arms despite her pleas.

Mirror Mirror: A Twisted Tale

In the fifth novel of the series, the question is asked What if the Evil Queen poisoned the Prince? In this retelling, Snow White becomes a warrior princess determined to overthrow her tyrannical stepmother, who poisons Prince Charming to lure her out of hiding.[28]

International versions

Upon the 1937 movie's original release, Disney Character Voices International had it dubbed into nine other languages aside from English. Walt Disney expressed to Tatiana Angelini, the Swedish voice, that she was his favorite foreign voice of the character.[29] Over the years, many other dubs were made; and eventually all the 1938 dubs of the film were re-dubbed in years to come.

Snow White's dubbers worldwide[30]
Year of dub Language Voice
1975 Arabic فاطمة مظهر (Fatma Mazhar) [ar] (speaking)
رتيبة الحفني (Ratiba Al-Hefny) [ar] (singing)
2015 نهى قيس (Noha Qais)
2023 شهد عز (Shahd Ezz)
2001 Bulgarian Венцислава Стоилова (Ventsislava Stoilova)
1995 Cantonese 林司聰 ("Agnes Lam" Lam Si-Cung) [zh] (speaking)
徐慧 (Ceoi Wai) (singing)
2009 Chinese (China) 吴晓蕾 (Wú Xiǎo-Lěi) (speaking)
陳秀珠 (Chén Xiù-Zhū "Judy Chen") (singing - Chinese of Taiwan dub)
Chinese (Taiwan) 李直平 (Lǐ Zhí-Píng "Corisa Lee") [zh] (speaking)
陳秀珠 (Chén Xiù-Zhū "Judy Chen") (singing)
Croatian Hana Hegedušić
1938 Czech Ella Rixová
1970 Klára Jerneková (speaking)
Marie Sikulová (singing)
1938 Danish Annie Jessen [da]
1982 Tove Hyldgaard [da]
1938 Dutch Cecilia "Cilly" Bach (speaking)
Frieda van Hessen (singing)
1984 Bernadette
1937 English Adriana Caselotti
1962 Finnish Eeva-Kaarina Volanen (speaking)
Tatjana Angelini [sv] (singing - Swedish 1938 dub)
1982 Jaana Oravisto [fi] (speaking)
Johanna Nurmimaa (singing)
1994 Riikka Timonen [fi] (speaking)
Kukka-Maaria Rajalin [fi] (singing)
1938 French Christiane Tourneur (speaking)
Beatrice Hagen (singing)
1962 Lucie Dolène
2001 Valérie Siclay (speaking)
Rachel Pignot [fr] (singing)
1938 German Hortense Raky (speaking)
Cläre Eiselmeier (singing)
1966 Uschi Wolff [de] (speaking)
Susanne Tremper [de] (singing)
1994 Manja Doering [de] (speaking)
Alexandra Wilcke [de] (singing)
1974 Greek Ματίνα Καρρά (Matína Karrá) [el] (speaking)
Μήτσα Ρούτη (Mítsa Roúti) (singing)
1992 Hebrew אורית ירון (Orit Yaron) (speaking)
לימור שפירא (Limor Shapira) [de] (singing)
2005 Hindi Marianne D'Cruz Aiman
1962 Hungarian Hédi Váradi (speaking)
Erzsébet Házy (singing)
2001 Oroszlán Szonja [hu]
Icelandic Vigdís Hrefna Pálsdóttir [is]
2013 Indonesian Apriliana Suci Ariesta (speaking)
Justina Penina (singing)
1938 Italian Rosetta Calavetta (speaking)
Lina Pagliughi (singing)
1972 Melina Martello [it] (speaking)
Gianna Spagnulo [it] (singing)
1957 Japanese 富沢志満 (Tomizawa Shima) [ja]
1980 小鳩くるみ (Kobato Kurumi)
2015 Kazakh Назерке Серікболова (Nazerke Serıkbolova) (speaking)
Жанаргуль Жаныаманова (Janargul Janyamanova) (singing)
1994 Korean 김수경 (Kim Su-gyeong) (speaking)
이윤선 (Lee Yun-seon) (singing)
2013 Malay 劉紓妤 (Suki Low)
1983 Norwegian Unn Vibeke Ho [no] (speaking)
Anne Lise Gjøstøl (singing)
1994 Unn Vibeke Ho [no] (speaking)
Anne Aartun (singing)
1938 Polish Maria Modzelewska [pl]
2009 Edyta Krzemień
1938 Portuguese (Brazil) Dalva de Oliveira (speaking)
Maria Clara Tati Jacome (singing)
1965 Maria Alice Barreto [pt] (speaking)
Cybele Freire (singing)
2001 Portuguese (Portugal) Sandra de Castro
2009 Romanian Mediana Vlad
2001 Russian Евгения Игумнова (Yevgeniya Igumnova) [ru] (speaking)
Елена Ушакова (Yelena Ushakova) (singing)
2019 Serbian Ирина Арсенијевић (Irina Arsenijević) [sr]
1970 Slovak Darina Chmurová [sk] (speaking)
Cecília Lévaiová (singing)
1938 Spanish (Latin America) Thelma Boardman (speaking)
Diana Castillo (singing)
1964 Amparo Garrido [es] (speaking)
Guadalupe Pérez Arias [es] (singing)
2001 Maggie Vera & Diana Santos (speaking)
Vikina Michel (singing)
Spanish (Spain) Mar Bordallo (speaking)
Yolanda de las Heras (singing)
1938 Swedish Tatjana Angelini [sv]
1972 Anna-Lotta Larsson
1994 Thai มาริสา สุโกศล หนุนภักดี (Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi)
2001 เนตรนภา หาญโรจนวุฒิ (Netnapha Hanrotchanawut) (speaking)
ใจรัตน์ พิทักษ์เจริญ (Chairat Phithakcharoen) (singing)
2009 Turkish Aliye Mutlu
2010 Ukrainian Савченко Анжеліка Віталіївна (Anzhelika Savchenko) [uk]

Characteristics

Snow White is a princess,[31] described by her stepmother's Magic Mirror as having "hair as black as ebony, lips as red as the rose, skin as white as snow."[32] Though she is first seen in rags at the film's beginning, Snow White is most well known for her iconic dress with a blue bodice, puffy red and blue striped sleeves, an ankle-length yellow skirt with a self-sewn white petticoat and a high white collar, along with yellow shoes, a brown cape with a red interior, and a red bow in her hair.

Snow White is innocent, kind, gentle, sweet, and cheerful.[33] Her generous, trusting[33] and helpful nature can cause her trouble, as other people might take advantage of it, such as her vain and evil stepmother.[32] Although she is sensitive and soft-spoken, she can be energetic, stern and sarcastic to a degree,[34] such as when she told the Dwarfs to wash their hands or when she scolded the birds for "frightening the poor old lady [the Queen disguised as an old peddler woman]".[32] Snow White is motherly, compassionate and delights in keeping house for the lovable Seven Dwarfs while she waits to meet her beloved prince again.[33] With her kindness and ethereal beauty, Snow White charms every creature in the kingdom except the Queen.[35] She also shows great resilience and an inner strength against adversity.

Description

In the original film, Snow White is depicted with black bobbed hair, brown eyes and skin as white as snow. She wears subtle make-up and rouge. The red color of her lips and cheeks resembles the red color of the apple which sends her into a deep sleep.[36] She is not yet an adult woman, but a girl in her puberty years. Her plump face is a characteristic typically associated with good health and kindness.[36]

Snow White's clothing is traditionally feminine, and rather prudish in covering as much skin as possible. Her main costume is a long dress, with a white collar, blue and puffy sleeves with red slashing, a yellow skirt, and a laced petticoat. She also wears a brown cape with a red interior, high-heeled shoes with a bow-like ribbon on each of them, and a red ribbon on her hair.[36]

Development

Early sketches of Snow White

Animators' initial sketches for Snow White's character, some of which bore a resemblance to Betty Boop, did not meet Walt Disney's expectations, as they were too cartoonish.[37][38] Hamilton Luske, whom Disney had selected as the supervising animator for Snow White's character, was tasked with the challenge of making Snow White more believably human and realistic than any of the Disney studio's previous animated characters. This was a challenge Luske and co-animator Les Clark had previously been asked to explore while developing the character of Persephone for the Silly Symphonies animated short The Goddess of Spring. Of that project, Les Clark later remarked, "I'm sure Walt was thinking ahead to Snow White." Though the Persephone character ended up appearing somewhat lifeless and devoid of personality, that experiment in imitating realistic human movement and anatomy was continued and its lessons were applied in the development of Snow White's animation techniques.[39] Snow White and the Queen were refined by Grim Natwick and Norm Ferguson, who would often override Walt Disney's instructions as well as Charlie Thorson.[40][41]

The relatively new technique of using live-action footage as a reference for character movements was used extensively to bring Snow White's character to life. A young dancer named Marge Champion (nicknamed Margie Bell) served as the live-action model for Snow White. (Margie Bell, daughter of animator Ernest Belcher, also later modeled for the Blue Fairy character in Disney's 1940 film Pinocchio.) Hamilton Luske directed her through the filming of numerous movement sequences, and then the animators studied and copied the footage to enhance the realism of Snow White's animated movements. Animator Ollie Johnston later recalled, "Ham's careful planning and shooting of the live-action footage, always with the idea in mind of how it would be used in animation, resulted in a very convincing character."[42]

Originally, Disney could not find what they thought was a suitable voice for Snow White. Around 150 girls auditioned for the role of Snow White,[43] including well-known actresses such as Deanna Durbin,[44] whose voice seemed too old to Disney.[45] One assistant to Disney called music teacher Guido Caselotti, complaining that Hollywood had no singing girls. Caselotti wanted to offer to send their best to listen to the students, but it turned out that his 20-year-old daughter Adriana Caselotti overheard a conversation on another phone in the house, and she began to sing in a young girl's voice.[46] Her father was confused and told his daughter to get away from the phone, but the casting director liked her voice and invited her to audition. After Walt Disney heard her, he immediately gave her the role.[47][48][49] The studio signed a multi-page contract with Adriana Caselotti: she was forbidden to sing in a movie or on the radio before or after the movie premiered because Walt Disney did not want the voice of Snow White to be heard anywhere else. Instead, she received $970 (now worth approximately $20,559).[44]

Setting

While the film never states the location of its story, "the dwarfs’ home is decorated with carved wooden furniture and instruments". This home is surrounded by mountains and an extensive forest. These details suggest a location within the Black Forest of Germany, where there is a tradition of wood carving.[50]

BuzzFeed views Snow White as a German woman, and suggests that a "historically accurate" Snow White would have been raised within the "austere and religious" culture of the Holy Roman Empire in the 16th century.[50]

Reception

Critical reception

Critical reception towards the character of Snow White has been polarized. TV Guide described Snow White as iconic, unique and incomparable, writing, "never again would Walt's heroine have such a fantasy singing voice, and for that reason, she's the favorite heroine of many animation auteurs."[51] Calling Snow White a "fairy-tale princess," Otis Ferguson of The New Republic simply described the character as "just what you would have her."[52] Variety's John C. Flinn deemed Snow White "the embodiment of girlish sweetness and kindness, exemplified in her love for the birds and the small animals of the woods that are her friends and, as it subsequently develops, her rescuers."[53]

Contemporary critics felt that Snow White "lack[s] nerve, unlike many later Disney heroines,"[54] while her relationship with the Prince is void of chemistry.[55] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times felt that had "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ... been primarily about Snow White, it might have been forgotten soon after its 1937 premiere, and treasured today only for historical reasons." Ebert continued, "Snow White is, truth to tell, a bit of a bore, not a character who acts but one whose mere existence inspires others to act," describing Disney's tendency to "confuse the titles of his movies with their subjects" as a "mistake" as the film is more about the dwarfs and the Evil Queen than Snow White.[56] The Washington Post's Desson Howe wrote, "the spirit in the mirror is dead wrong: The Wicked Queen ... is the fairest in the land" while Snow White lacks "real estate."[57] Time Out opined, "Snow White herself might be felt to be almost unbearably winsome."[58]

Awards

Snow White's big role is in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs where she plays a young princess who tries and escape her evil stepmother. The character won many awards for her role like the Grand Biennale Art Trophy from the Venice Film Festival, the New York Film Critics Circle, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.[citation needed] There was also an honorary custom-made Academy Award with the standard Oscar statuette and seven small statuettes that represented the seven dwarfs.[59] Snow White is one of the few fictional characters with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[3]

Trademark

On June 18, 2013, the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted the trademark application of Disney Enterprises, Inc. (filed November 19, 2008), for the name "Snow White" that covers all live and recorded movie, television, radio, stage, computer, Internet, news, and photographic entertainment uses, except literature works of fiction and nonfiction.[60]

Cultural impact and significance

Snow White in the trailer of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White is the first Disney Princess ever and is also the pioneer of the Disney Princess franchise. Her character provided the basis for later heroines in Disney fairy tales to come. Widely referred as the “fairest one of all”, Film Magazine hailed Snow White as the Best Disney Princess ever, saying: “Snow White is the pioneer of the Disney Princess, and she is probably the most memorable. She embodies everything you think of when you think of a princess, pure innocence, beauty, kindness and grace.”[61] San Antonio Express-News listed her as one of the most famous fictional princesses of all time.[62] MTV ranked Snow White as the 3rd Best Disney Princess of all time.[63] Teen Vogue also included her on their list of Top 10 Best Disney Princesses of All Time, saying: “Snow White showed us that you can make friends in unlikely places and that you should never let go of your optimism.”[64]

Snow White's star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

In 1987, Snow White became the first female fictional character to receive a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame.[65] She was voted as the Most popular Disney Princess in Nevada,[66] and was also voted as Great Britain's most loved Princess in 2018.[67] Time Magazine ranked her as the 3rd Most Popular Disney Princess (in terms of the amount they've earned on eBay since May 2013).[68] Furthermore, Snow White is also the most successful Disney Princess in terms of office revenue.[69]

Fashion

Art historian Carmenita Higginbotham explains how Walt Disney's Snow White became a reflection of American women during the Great Depression saying: “Snow White is the perfect embodiment of 1930s culture.”[70] National News also discussed how cartoon characters like Snow White influenced fashion.[71] A Cartier charm bracelet, originally created in 1937 to commemorate Disney's first animated film, earned more than five times the high-end of its pre-sale estimate.[72]

In 2014, Valentino released an entire Snow White-inspired collection “Red Valentino”, a diffusion line aimed to attract youth culture.[71] In 2018, Coach released their third collaboration with Disney called “A Dark Fairytale Collection”, which features iconography from both "Sleeping Beauty" and "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs."[73] Stylist included Snow White's dark bob and pale skin as an “ideal” on their list of Best Beauty Looks in Disney.[74] Sennet Frères released a bridalwear collection in collaboration with Disney, inspired by Snow White, Cinderella and Belle.[75]

References

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