Thursday, October 10, 2019

Casey’s Musical Dustbin: Sixties Music & Trivia

This episode of Casey’s Musical Dustbin is The Sixties Music & Trivia Show. An hours worth of sixties music by the likes of The Beatles, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Simon & Garfunkel, The Ventures, Booker T. & The Mgs, The Temptations and more. Between tunes, I will be quizzing you on sixties music, movies and TV trivia. Tune in, turn on and drop out. You can listen to the show


Soul Kitchen.  The Doors

If I Needed Someone.  The Beatles
She Said, She Said.  The Beatles

Victoria.   The Kinks
Hazy Shade Of Winter.  Simon & Garfunkel

Chimes Of Freedom.   The Byrds
?      ?????***

Cloud 9.   The Temptations
She’s Like A Rainbow. Rolling Stones

Get Smart Theme.   The Ventures
Last Secret Agent.  Nancy Sinatra

King Midas In Reverse.  Hollies
?    ????!***

Time Is Tight.   Booker T & Mgs

***We cannot give the title of the song or the artist because it is the answer to a trivia question. Sorry.

Listen to the show HERE

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Saturday, October 5, 2019

Ohio Rockabilly: The Modernes Interview

The Modernes are a Rockabilly band out of Akron, Ohio. The group consists of, Bert Franco on Vocals & Guitars, Mike Snow on Vocals & Bass and Nick Frank on Drums. Although they mainly play Rockabilly, they also play Surf, R&B and Country.
They have a new self titled five song EP out that is available wherever digital music is sold. I had a chance to talk with Bert Franco, the band’s Singer and Guitarist, on my podcast. I also played songs from the new EP. You can listen to the interview HERE

—Rock N Roll Casey
    October 5, 2019
     Shangri-La, Ohio

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Casey's Five Favorite Horror Movies Of All Time

 "From ghosties and ghoulies and long leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, dear Lord, deliver us."

 --An old Scottish prayer

Tis the season to be wary. As summer recedes into fall, the days grow shorter, the nights longer and the leaves begin falling from the trees. It is only September but you can already feel the change in the air, it's almost Halloween. My favorite time of year.

Even as a kid, I loved everything about the holiday. The colors;
oranges and browns and reds and yellows. The pumpkins, the costumes, the candy, The Great Pumpkin, The Wolfman, Frankenstein and the candy. (Did I mention the candy?),

As a child, I imagine Christmas was my favorite holiday. It makes sense, if you think about it from a ten year olds point of view. A bag full of candy is nice but a bicycle next to the Christmas tree beats a handful of Smarties any day of the week. It's economics. The season of getting.

As an adult, Halloween wins hands down. There is no pressure. Just have fun. Carve the pumpkin. Go to a party. Dress up like a moron. Hand out candy. Eat more candy than you hand out. And watch a few horror movies.

I do not watch horror movies through the majority of the year. From November through August I am just not interested. But September and October are a different story. Soon after Labor Day, I begin to get the itch.

Now when I mention horror movies, most people think I am
talking about scary movies. The Exorcist. The Shining. Psycho. Friday The 13th, Paranormal Activity etc...but nothing could be further from the truth. There is a difference between a horror movie and a scary movie. There is to me anyway and the difference can be summed up in one

I like fun. Fun is good. But being terrified, for me anyway, is not fun or good. When my sons were in high school, they enjoyed trying to get me to watch scary movies because they knew it would cause me discomfort and they found my discomfort highly amusing. They probably still do. I remember watching a movie called "The Fourth Kind" about alien abductions. The scene I remember most involved a screaming woman being dragged out of bed by aliens who were shouting things in ancient arabic. I didn't sleep for a week. This was not fun.

So what type of horror movies do I like? The old ones. The black and whites. The classics. The ones that haven't scared anyone since LBJ was President. But they are still a lot of fun to watch. So that being said, here are my top five Horror movies for Halloween that won't scare you at all. In fact, when you go to bed, you'll sleep like a baby.

5. The Ghost And Mr. Chicken 
    Directer: Alan Rafkin
    Cast: Don Knotts, Joan Haley, Dick Sargent, Liam Redmond
    Release Date: January 26, 1966  

Don Knotts plays Luther Hedges, a typesetter at a small town newspaper, who aspires to be a reporter. He agrees to spend the night at an alleged haunted house and write a story on the house for the paper. Hilarity ensues.

Yes, "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken" is a comedy. There is nothing even slightly scary in this movie, even by 1966 standards. But if you like the sort of slapstick humor Knotts sometimes did on the "Andy Griffith Show" you will enjoy this movie.

Weird & Interesting Facts

--There are a lot of connections between this movie and "The Andy Griffith Show".  The idea for the plot came from an episode of "The Andy Griffith Show" called "The Haunted House".  In addition to Don Knotts, three other actors from Mayberry appear in the show including Hal Smith (Otis Campbell), Hope Summers (Clara Edwards) and Burt Muslin (Judd Fletcher). The movie's director, Alan Rafkin, directed 27 episodes of the "Andy Griffith " while the screenwriting team of Everette Greenbaum and Jim Fitzell wrote 29 episodes of "Andy" along with the "The Ghost And Mr. Chicken" script.

--A slew of other sixties and seventies TV stars appear in the movie including Dick Sargent (the second Darren in Bewitched), Sandra Gold (the second Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched), Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton) and Charles Lane and James Millhollin (two names you probably don't recognize but who appeared in dozens of TV shows in the sixties and seventies.)

The Old Simmons Mansion
--The old Simmons Mansion, where Don Knotts spends the night, is located on Colonial Street on the Universal Studios lot in California.  The house has also been filmed as the Dowd house in the 1950 Jimmy Stewart movie "Harvey" and as the home of Gabrielle Solis in "Desperate Housewives". The Munster house sits next door.

--Joan Staley, who plays Alma Parker, Don Knotts love interest, was Playboy's Miss November in a 1958 issue of the magazine. Normally a blonde, she wore a brunette wig in the movie to make her look more wholesome and less sexy.

--The musical score was written by Vic Mizzy who scored many TV shows in the sixties and seventies. He also wrote the theme songs for both The Adams Family and Green Acres.

--"The Ghost And Mr. Chicken' was shown at many theatres and drive-ins as a double feature with "Munsters Go Home".

4. The House On Haunted Hill 
Director: William Castle
Cast: Vincent Price, Richard Long, Carol Ohmart
Release Date: February 17, 1959

Vincent Price plays Frederick Loren an eccentric millionaire who invites five people to a haunted house party. The "party" takes place at an old abandoned mansion. Anyone who can spend the whole night at the house will be awarded $10,000. Though a B grade horror movie, it was probably fairly scary for 1959 but it is pretty corny and amusing by today's standards.  The film contains a giant vat of acid in the cellar, a falling chandelier, a human head inside a suitcase, party favors that consist of  loaded pistols in tiny coffins, two creepy servants named Mr. and Mrs. Slydes, a hanging, blood dripping from the ceiling, an organ that plays by itself, a homicidal skeleton and more. It is a fun movie and it wraps up in less than an hour and a half.

Weird & Interesting Facts

--The movie was directed by William Castle. Castle was known as "King Of The Gimmicks" because he always had some sort of gimmick or publicity stunt to help sell his movies. In the 1958 film "Macabre" he gave each movie goer a certificate for a $1000 life insurance policy from Lloyd's Of London in case they should die from fright while watching the movie. He also stationed women dressed like nurses in the lobby and parked hearses outside of the theatre. For "House On Haunted Hill" he had theatres rig up glow in the dark plastic skeletons to pulleys that would fly over the head of the audiences at the same time the skeleton appeared on screen. He called this effect Emergo and it worked, audiences loved it.

--Carolyn Craig plays Nora Manning, a young woman invited to stay overnight at the house for a chance to win the $10,000. Nora spends the entire movie terrified and helpless and screams so much through out the movie I couldn't help laughing each time she started to scream.  On a sad note, Carolyn Craig died of a self inflicted gun shot wound in 1970. She was only 34 years old.

--Lance Schroeder, the suave young bachelor, is played by Richard Long. He was a very successful actor through the early seventies starring in "77 Sunset Strip", "Big Valley" and "The Nanny And The Professor".  Long also died young. He passed away at the age of 47 in 1974 following a heart attack.

--The main reason to watch this movie is the performance of the great Vincent Price.  The Merchant Of Menace plays Frederick Loren, the diabolical millionaire who puts this party together. As always, Price plays the part with grace, class and style and pronounces the word party as "pah-tee" throughout the movie, which is kind of cool.

--The exterior shots of the house were filmed at Ennis House located in Los Feliz, California. The house has been used in a number of movies and TV shows including "Blade Runner" and was filmed in several episodes of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer".

3. "Frankenstein"
      Director: James Whale
      Cast:  Colin Clive, Mae Clark, Boris Karloff
      Release: November 21, 1931

A mad scientist decides to create a human being out of the parts of a dead human being. Very bad idea.  Mayhem ensues. This is one of Universal's greatest horror flicks and it still holds up today. The sets and locations where the movie was filmed perfectly set up the gothic atmosphere. Boris Karloff, remarkably, makes the monster seem human. The scene where the father carrys his dead daughter into the village still gives me goose bumps.

Weird & Interesting Facts

--The movie is based on the 19th century novel written by eighteen year old Mary Shelley. It is considered by many to be the first science fiction novel.

--Director James Whale also directed the sequel, "Bride Of Frankenstein" and a number of other classic horror movies including, "The Old Dark House", "The Invisible Man" and "Dracula's Daughter".

--Boris Karoff's role as the monster was very physically demanding. The costume was bulky and difficult to move in and the boots were four inches high and weighed eleven pounds. He reprised the role of the monster in the sequal, "Bride Of Frankenstein" .

--Bela Lugosi was originally going to play the part of
Frankenstein 's monster but after several unsuccessful make up tests he quit the project. He would later play the monster in "Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman".

--Colin Clive, who played Dr. Victor Frankenstein, died at the age of 37 from tuberculosis. A chronic alcoholic, Clive was often intoxicated during filming.  He was often seen napping on set and was sometimes so drunk that he had to be held upright for over the shoulder shots.
Dwight Frye As Fritz

--Dwight Frye played Victor Frankenstein's hunchbacked assistant Fritz. Frye acted in many horror films including, " Bride Of Frankenstein ", "Dracula", "The Invisible Man", "The Vampire Bat", "Son Of Frankenstein" and " Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman".  Around Hollywood, he was known as, The Man With The Thousand Watt Stare and The Man Of A Thousand Deaths. Alice Cooper recorded a tribute to him called, " The Ballad of Dwight Fry".

--Other than the opening and final credits and a scene where a band plays, there is no musical soundtrack in the movie.

--The character of Frankenstein 's Monster has appeared in over sixty films, in addition to this one. The first was the 1910 silent era film, "Frankenstein" starring Charles Ogle as the monster and the latest was 2018s computer animated "Hotel Transylvania 3: Summer Vacation". Kevin James was the voice of the monster. In addition to Boris Karloff, the monster has been played by Bela Lugosi (" Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman"), Lon Chaney Jr. ("The Ghost Of Frankenstein"), Peter Boyle ( "Young Frankenstein"), Robert De Niro ( "The Creation") and Randy Quaid
( "Frankenstein" , a 1992 TV adaptation of the novel).

2. "The Wolfman"
      Directed by Curt Siodmak
      Cast: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Raines, Evelyn Ankers
      December 12, 1941

 "Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night, can become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. "

I was first introduced to this movie as a kid growing up in Cleveland, Ohio.  Every Friday night, the CBS affiliate had a local late night movie program called, "Hoolihan & Big Chuck".  Hoolihan and Big Chuck were a couple of local TV personalities who hosted the show. In addition, to comedy skits and other local content, they always featured a full length movie and they often showed some of the old Universal classics, including this one.

Like "Frankenstein" , "The Wolfman" has great sets and loads of atmosphere. The woods and the fog, the Gypsy camp, Talbot Castle, the village. There is also a B-movie quality to a lot of the acting, the special effects are pretty dated and parts of the story don't make sense (The action seems to take place in Eastern Europe but some of the villagers have a strong British accent while some have an American accent and, other than the Gypsies, nobody has an Eastern European accent)

But it's fun to see Lon Chaney and Bela Lugosi in the same movie. Claude Raines is great and Maria  Ouspenskaya steals the show as the Gypsy fortune teller.

Weird & Interesting Facts

--The poem that is recited throughout the movie ("Even a man who is pure of heart... ") was thought for many years  to be an old ancient rhyme but was actually an invention of the screenwriter. When my kids were little, I would recite the poem anytime we were out in the woods or walking at night. It got to the point where all I would have to say were the first three words, "Even a man... " and they would freak out.

--Lon Chaney Jr. starred as The Wolf Man. Legend has that it took five to six hours to apply his make up and an hour to remove it.  He reprised the role of The Wolf Man in four more films. Chaney  was the only actor to play all four Universal monsters; The Wolfman, Frankenstein, Dracula and The Mummy.
Bela The Gypsy

--Bela Lugosi wanted to play the part of The Wolf Man but didn't get the role. He did however play the Gypsy fortune teller's son, Bela, who turns into a wolf and bites Lon Chaney. That is some kind of revenge, anyway.

--In a deleted scene, Lon Chaney wrestled a six hundred pound bear.  The bear was kept chained to a pole on the set and once broke free and went after actress Evelyn Ankers who climbed up a ladder and was pulled up to a scaffold by an electrician. The bear was eventually subdued.

1. "The Tingler"
       Director: William Castle
       Cast: Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn, Daryl Hickman
       Release: July 29, 1959

Have you ever felt a tingling up your spine when you're very nervous or afraid? What causes that sensation? Is it simply your nerve endings or is it something more sinister?

That is the premise of this B-movie masterpiece. When I say masterpiece this movie has everything a great B horror movie should; a ludicrous plot, bad dialouge, lots of over-acting, a mad scientist and a cheesy looking monster (the tingler looks like a giant centipede). The most fun you will ever have watching a horror movie.

Best Line In The Movie: 
"This silly pistol can make a hole in you the size of a medium grapefruit".
        --Dr. Warren Chapin
           (Vincent Price)

Weird & Interesting Facts

--Almost all of William Castle's movies had a gimmick and "The Tingler" is no exception. "Percepto" was a gimmick where Castle attached buzzers underneath several theatre seats. At different times during the movie, the buzzer would be activated giving the person sitting in the seat a tingling feeling. He also paid a movie goer to stand up, scream and faint and then be taken away on a stretcher. The highlight of the movie is when the action on the screen stops and Vincent Price addresses the audience directly and says,  "Ladies and Gentlemen, the tingler is loose in the theatre! Scream, scream for your lives!" at which point The tingler is shown crawling across the screen.  Then, just as abruptly, you hear Vincent Price's voice inform everyone that the tingler is gone and the movie returns to the story. This is fun to watch on your TV set at home but imagine how much fun it was to watch in a movie theatre. It must have been total bedlam.

--"The Tingler" is the first major motion picture to depict an acid trip. Vincent Price's character is shown reading a book called, "LSD: Fight Effects Induced by Injection of Lysergic Acid LSD25". Later In the movie, he injects a dose and does not have a good trip. Robb White, the screenwriter, had experimented with acid at UCLA. At the time LSD was still legal.
The Tingler

--Daryl Hickman played Price's lab assistant in the movie. He had been a child actor appearing in many TV shows and movies including, "Our Gang", "The Grapes Of Wrath" and "The Many Lives Of Dobie Gillis". He later married his co-star Pamela Lincoln who, incidentially, played his girlfriend in "The Tingler".

--As always, Vincent Price does a great job of rising above the material. You have to wonder what Price really thought of some of these crazy B horror movies he made.  He seemed to be having fun making this one. Besides, it beats working for a living.

Casey Redmond
September 28, 2019
Shangri-La, Ohio

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Thursday, September 12, 2019

Weird & Interesting Album Facts: The Monkees' Pieces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd. (1967)

1967 was an amazing year in pop music. Not only did The Beatles’ release “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” but it was also the year of  The Moody Blues’ “Days Of Future Past”, The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and Pink Floyd’s ever weird “Piper At The Gates Of Dawn”. The same year that all these groundbreaking albums were hitting the stores, The Monkees released, “Pieces, Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones LTD”. Okay, so it’s not on the same level as the aforementioned releases but it is one of The Monkees’ more eccentric and interesting records and it definitely is a reflection of the time from which it came.

Interesting & Weird Album Facts

—The album was produced by Chip Douglas who had also produced The Monkees’ previous album, “Headquarters”.  Douglas had been a member of the Turtles and had played bass and arranged their mega hit, “Happy Together ". He was asked to become The Monkees producer by Michael Nesmith at The Whiskey A Go Go following the Turtles performance there. Douglas had no previous experience as a producer.

—The big hit off of PAC&J was “Pleasant Valley Sunday”. The song was written by Carole King and Gerry Goffin and went to number two on the charts. The very cool opening guitar lick was written by Chip Douglas and played by Michael Nesmith. Micky Dolenz was the lead vocalist.

—Speaking of Nesmith, he is lead vocalist on five of the cuts while Micky Dolenz and Davy Jones have three a piece and poor Peter Tork is the lead voice on only the very strange, “Peter Percival Patterson's Pet Pig Porky”. Nez had a huge hand in the making of the album as many of the songs were written by members of his pre-Monkees bands including, Craig Vincent Smith (“Salesman”), Michael Martin Murphy and Owen Castleman (“What Am I Doing Hanginn ‘Round) and John London (“Don’t Call On Me”).

--According to author Eric Lefcowitz in his book, "Monkee Business", Peter Tork only sang (actually. talked) on the one cut because he had worked for months on a would-be Magnus Opus called "Lady's Baby" that never came together. Legend has it that studio engineers with microphones, at Tork's request, followed a baby around the studio trying to record its babbling. When the song didn't come to fruition, Peter pretty much withdrew from the sessions.

--"Daydream Believer" was recorded during the PAC&J sessions but did not appear on the album. (It would  appear on their next release, "The Birds And The Bees And The Monkees") The song was written by John Stewart of Kingston Trio fame. (Stewart would go on to have a huge solo hit in the late seventies with his
song "Gold"). All four Monkees played on the recording and Peter Tork came up with the now iconic piano intro. The song was going to be on the B-side of the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil song, "Love Is Only Sleeping". But for some reason, and there are different versions on why this happened, the record company decided to scrap "Love Is Only Sleeping" and release "Daydream Believer" as the A-side and "Goin' Down" as the B-side. Reportedly the song had been turned down by several other bands including the We Five and Spanky & Our Gang and Davy Jones, who sang the lead vocal, supposedly hated it. Needless to say, it was the right choice to release it on the A-side.  "Daydream Believer" topped the charts for four weeks in December of '67. It was the last Monkees' song to hit number one.

—As mentioned, “What Am I Doing Hangin’ Round” was written by Michael Martin Murphey
and Owen Castleman. Michael Martin Murphey would go on to have a giant hit in the mid-seventies with “Wildfire”. He later became known as a western singer recording albums of cowboy songs. Owen Castleman, better known as Boomer Castleman, would go on to become a successful Nashville session musician playing on records by George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Roy Clark, Kenny Rogers and Linda Ronstadt. It’s weird to think these guys ever wrote a song for the Monkees.

—One of the best cuts on the album, “Cuddly Toy” was written by Harry Nilsson. It should have been released as a single, it could have been a hit. I imagine the suggestive nature of the lyrics prohibited the song from being released as a single. "Cuddly Toy" is The Monkees at their bubble gum best. Chip Douglas introduced Nilsson to the group and helped get the song on the album. He takes credit for giving Harry his big break.

—PAC&J is a weird mix of Bubble Gum Pop, Country Rock and Psychedelia. It could only have been produced in the sixties. Two of the trippiest tunes are Nesmith’s “Daily Nightly " and King and Goffin’s “Star Collector”. Both make use of the Moog synthesiser. It is believed The Monkees were the first pop act to employ the instrument on a record. Micky Dolenz plays the Moog on “Star Collector” and his solo sounds like eighties synth pop. Way ahead of it’s time.***

—A couple of people who contributed to the album would go on to become casualties of the sixties drug culture. Craig Vincent Smith and Eddie Hoh.

Smith was a former bandmate of Michael Nesmith and wrote the lead-off track “Salesman”. A musician, songwriter and actor, he bounced around L.A writing songs for Andy Williams and starring in the pilot of a TV show called, “The Happenings”. In the
Fast Eddie Hoh
late sixties, he traveled extensively falling farther and farther into drug abuse. Years of odd and destructive behavior ensued  including, declaring himself a prophet and savior (there seemed to be a lot of people doing this in the sixties), challenging people to machete fights and being charged with attempted murder after assaulting his mother. He spent time in prison and mental health facilities and was often homeless. He died in 2012.

Fast Eddie Hoh played drums on a number of cuts on PAC&J including "Pleasant Valley Sunday". He was an up and coming session and touring drummer having played with Donovan, The Mamas & The Papas, Charlie Musselwhite and The Flying Burrito Brothers. He also was the drummer on the infamous "Super Sessions" album with Al Kooper, Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. He reportedly had some sort of drug related breakdown in 1970 and completely disappeared. Most people thought he was dead but was found to be living in an Illinois nursing home in 2015. He died not long after at the age of seventy-one.

--Do to the huge sales of Pieces Aquarius, Capricorn And Jones LTD, along with the proceeds from "Headquarters" which was released earlier in the year, The Monkees were the best selling pop group of 1967. Bigger than The Beatles. They would never reach such heights again.

***CORRECTION: Paul Beaver played the Moog on "Star Collector". Micky Dolenz played the Moog on "Daily Nightly". My mistake. Thanks to Tony September for the correction.

Written by Casey Redmond
September 12, 2019
Shangri-La, Ohio

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Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Casey’s Interviews

Over the past few years, I have been lucky enough to interview some very interesting people for my blog, Casey’s Rock N Roll Gazette and my podcast, Casey’s Musical Dustbin. Some of those people include, an Ohio ghost hunter, a Canadian street musician, the leader of a KISS tribute band, a minor league baseball announcer, an internet horror movie host and a one man punk band. Here is a list and links to those  interviews and more.

Ohio Rockabilly Band; The Modernes 10/2019

Singer/Songwriter Michael Shelley 04/2019

Dale Kay Remembers Ron “The Ghoul” Sweed 04/2019

Baseball Broadcaster Shawn Tiemann 05/2019

MR. SPEED: Kiss Tribute Band 04/2019

Tim Giles: Seeking Michael Stanley 03/2019

The Surfin’ Lungs: British Beat Music 03/2019

The Concussions; Midwestern Surf Band. 02/2019

Derek Koch Of Monster Kid Radio 10/2018

Christina Watson: Ohio Ghost Hunter 09/2018

Ghostwriter: One Man Band 08/2018

Delyn Christian: Columbus Music Man 02/2018

Dale Kay: Horror Host A Go Go 02/2018

Dave Harris: One Man Busker. 02/2018

By Rock N Roll Casey

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Piano Works—Logan, Ohio

I will be playing Saturday night at the Piano Works in downtown Logan from 6-8pm. A celebration of all things sixties, I will be playing music from that decade. Plus a display of vintage era album covers will be on display along with other memorabilia and we will be doing sixties trivia. Stop by and tune in, turn on and drop out, at least until 8.

Valparaiso, Indiana

While driving back from a gig in Michigan, I stopped in Valparaiso, Indiana.  Valparaiso is known for its great college basketball program but is also the birthplace of Orville Redenbacher.  After the popcorn King's death, the town erected this statue in honor of his contributions to the world.  I stopped by to pay my respects.  Before leaving, I thanked Orville for the damage his product has done to my cholesterol and colon.  He offered no response.

Rock N Roll Casey

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