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Rod Taylor News and Site Updates

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May 17, 2017

TCM is showing the swashbuckling "Seven Seas to Calais" on Thursday afternoon, May 18 (check listings). I used this as a good excuse to update the "Seven Seas" movie page, with an emphasis on the epic off-screen romance that sparked between Anita Ekberg and Rod Taylor. Read on >>

May 14, 2017

In observation of Mother's Day, I scanned and assembled some treasures from my archives that feature Rod's mother, Mona Taylor.

Born in 1902 in the region around Hull and Grimsby in Lincolnshire, England, Mona was a proper English lady. She immigrated to Australia and, in 1928, she married Bill Taylor, a knockabout Aussie bloke. Their personalities clashed, but they were married for 55 years. Bill died in 1983, and then Mona moved to California to live near Rod. She died in 1991.

Mona Taylor (née Thompson and also known as Mona Stewart Taylor) was a writer of short stories, novels and poems. Here's one special item that she penned: "A Letter from Australia" (PDF) in the Rod-Lore fan newsletter of April 1965.




For more photos and information about Rod's mother and father, visit the following pages:

Biography // This Is Your Life
And read The Book: Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood!

May 10, 2017

The page for "Dateline: San Francisco" has been updated, after I was able to view the show via the Film and Television Archives at UCLA. It was a high-quality TV pilot and would have been a strong successor to "Hong Kong." But the fact that it wasn't picked up as a series meant that Rod had a much bigger Big Screen career.

May 5, 2017

I've added a new page to the website -- "The Golden Age of Television" -- with material courtesy of Ken Lynch, a fan in Australia who has an awesome collection of old TV recordings. Ken sent along a clip of the nostalgia show that featured an episode of "Hong Kong." The host, David Lyle, colors his commentary with both fondness and irony.

For those who may have missed it, Ken previously shared an audio recording of a "Willesee" TV show from 1975. Thanks for the great gems!


May 2, 2017

Walk the red carpet with the filmmakers and friends at the Beverly Hills Film Festival! A photo album of activities surrounding the screening "Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches" is available at my Facebook page. Feel free to Friend me while you're there!

May 1, 2017

The Rod Taylor documentary "Pulling No Punches" was a winner at the Beverly Hills Film Festival!

The film won the Audience Award for Best Documentary at the festival, which ran April 26-30, 2017.

The Rod documentary screened on Thursday evening, April 27 at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters on Hollywood Boulevard. Yes, that's the famous Grauman's Chinese movie palace!

Among the luminaries in attendance for the screening were:

  • Stephan Wellink, producer, whose steadfast appreciation for Rod Taylor had its roots in childhood and culminated in this splendid film.

  • Robert de Young, producer/director. Robert had previously done films on Australian actors Errol Flynn and Peter Finch, making his partnership with Stephan Wellink a perfect fit.

  • Simon Wellink, camera operator, sound engineer and son of Stephan Wellink.

  • Stephen Vagg, the author of "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood." He was a consultant on the film and appears on screen, bringing perspective to aspects of Rod's career.

  • Nicholas Eddy, Rod's friend and attorney in Australia, who also appears in the documentary.

  • Liz Ploger, a former MGM worker who was Rod's publicist and fan club president in the 1960s as well as a longtime Taylor family friend.

  • Diane Tomasik, yours truly, the creator and keeper of this website. I received a "special thanks" credit in the film and was thrilled to have been included in the festivities surrounding the screening.   

March 28, 2017

Big news! The documentary about Rod Taylor -- "Pulling No Punches" -- has been selected to screen at the Beverly Hills Film Festival!

The 80-minute film will be part of a block of two documentaries during a session that runs from 5 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. on April 27, 2017. It's likely that "Pulling No Punches" will be the second film, starting at approximately 6:15 p.m.

Ticket info can be found at this link, for Block 2 at Theater 2 of the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters, 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA.

The Australian-made documentary celebrates Rod's Hollywood stardom and shows how his rugged on-screen and off-screen persona created a brand of Australian masculinity. "Pulling No Punches" includes clips from Rod's films and showcases his artwork. Rod is interviewed, as are co-stars, producers and directors who reflect on his colorful life and career.

Many thanks to Stephan Wellink, co-producer of the documentary, for bringing this passion project to life and for keeping this site up-to-date about the film's progress!

March 27, 2017

The pilot episode of "Dateline: San Francisco" aired on this date 55 years ago -- March 27, 1962. It was to be a continuation of Rod's "Hong Kong" series, transplanting newspaperman Glenn Evans from Hong Kong to San Francisco.

The pilot was not picked up, and Rod took on big movie roles instead. When asked about it in the Rod Lore fan magazine dated October 1963, Rod said, "If 'Hong Kong' had gone on for five years, things like 'The Birds,' 'A Gathering of Eagles,' 'The VIPs,' 'Sunday in New York,' etc., would never have been possible."

The page for "Dateline: San Francisco" has been updated with a new picture and an article about the show and Rod's adventures with Anita Ekberg. 

I'm hoping to be able to provide more updates in about a month after an opportunity to view the show thanks to the good folks at the UCLA Film and Television Archive!

Stay tuned!

March 11, 2017

In honor of St. Patrick's Day on March 17, let's make it a week o' the Irish for the Rod Taylor Site!

His role as Irish playwright Sean O'Casey in "Young Cassidy" may be one of the highlights of Rod's career, but it isn't his only Irish connection.

TCM is showing "Young Cassidy" on Friday (4:15 U.S. Eastern Time). In the meantime, here are some other Irish highlights, all viewable online:

  • "Murder, She Wrote": In 1995, Rod was cast in two stories set in Ireland. Angela Lansbury recalled Rod's performance in "Young Cassidy," and reached out to cast him in "Another Killing in Cork." On the strength of that performance, Rod and his Irish brogue returned the following season in "Nan's Ghost," a two-parter hailed by fans among the best installments in the long-running series.

  • "Cry of the Innocent": Rod plays an American in this 1980 movie that was made in Ireland for Irish TV.  One of his co-stars is Irish actor Cyril Cusack, and their performance together led to Rod's next role...

  • "Tales of the Unexpected:" Cyril Cusack and Rod reunited for "The Hitch-Hiker," an installment in this anthology series based on the stories of Roald Dahl. Cusack plays a "fingersmith" who hitches a ride with Rod. His supernatural pick-pocketing skills bedevil Rod into one bit of trouble after another.

One last note: In a segment taped for "This is Your Life" in 1975, Irish actor Richard Harris praised Rod's work in "Young Cassidy," saying, "It probably was one of the best performances he's ever given and a brilliant insight into the Irish playwright. ... This Irishman is very appreciative."

March 10, 2017

I made some updates to the page for "Pulling No Punches," the documentary about Rod Taylor that premiered a little over a year ago on Australian TV.

I hope to be able to announce some big news soon. in the meantime. let me just say that upon viewing the documentary, I was charmed, amused, energized and mightily entertained. Throughout my research for this site, I've seen and read a lot about Rod, but I'm impressed by all the fresh information, photos and insights provided by the film.

I also want to thank producer Stephan Wellink for his thanks in the closing credits!

March 4, 2017

Here's a roundup of recent updates to this website regarding Rod Taylor's appearances on awards shows:

Oscars: In 1962, Rod was a presenter, along with Angie Dickinson, handing out the Oscar for best film editing. Check out the Academy Awards page, with updated information, pictures and a link to Rod's segment.

Golden Globes: In 1961, Rod's TV show "Hong Kong" scored a Golden Globe for Television Achievement "for outstanding merit in the adventure field." And in 1963, he was a presenter. For more info, see the Golden Globes page.

Logies: Rod was a special guest during the annual TV Week Logie Awards in 1982. For more info about these Australian awards, see the Logie Awards page.

March 1, 2017

Three of Rod's films recently were featured on the website Trailers from Hell. Click the links below to view each installment, during which film industry professionals offer commentary as the movie trailers roll:

Dark of the Sun // The Time Machine // Hotel

January 11, 2017

Today marks the 87th anniversary of Rod Taylor's birth as well as the 16th anniversary of this website!

Today also marks a renewed commitment to posting more updates.

In the last few months of 2016, it was quiet on this site for a variety of personal upheavals (and other distractions). Some things were good: My husband and I both retired! Some were sad: Caring for declining parents. And one was joyous: The birth of a great-nephew.

Here's to a new year! Look for updates and changes in the months to come.

June 24, 2016

Rod Taylor fans who love "Welcome to Woop Woop" are in for a real treat.

Author Michael Winkler has brought us an essential guide to this misunderstood movie in his recently published book, "Fahfangoolah!: The Despised and Indispensable Welcome to Woop Woop."

Little-seen and widely criticized when it was released in 1998, "Welcome To Woop Woop" has been gaining friends and a cult status.  Indeed, Winkler writes that Woop Woop has "everything a cult classic needs: top-notch casting, quotable dialogue, memorable music, crazy costumes, black humour and ... batshit crazy cameos."

Rod Taylor, of course, heads the "top-notch casting" part. The chapter titled "Rod Taylor and Johnathon Schaech" opens with this statement: "The great roaring engine that propels Welcome to Woop Woop is Daddy-O."

Rod also provides quotable dialogue: "As Daddy-O, [Taylor's] accent is not just broad Australian but wonderfully, broad 1950s Australia. The voice is right, the face is fantastic, and he even contributed his own catchphrase -- 'Fahfangoolah!'"

Winkler does a great job of capturing why "Woop Woop" is so misunderstood but yet so essential in depicting a disappearing slice of Australian life. The book also maps out the triumphs and challenges of the production, and the forces that shaped the final product.

In regard to Rod, the book contains praise for his performance and offers details about key scenes -- especially his electrifying tap-dance on the bar.

It also describes some scenes that didn't make the final cut, including:

  • A pivotal scene that would have explained why the residents of Woop Woop wear such a weird assortment of clothing. It was inspired by director Stephan Elliott's recollection of the all the "inappropriate crap" that he saw piled up following a call to aid the residents of a flooded town -- wedding dresses, designer gowns, platform shoes, etc.  The deleted scene has Daddy-O driving up in a big truck and screaming, "The rain's come down in Marble Bar," and then he empties a bunch of castoff clothing from flood relief.

  • A sub-plot that gives Daddy-O further ammunition, so to speak, for shooting Midget as he tries to escape Woop Woop.

The book offers a glimmer of hope that such scenes -- and Elliott's original vision -- may surface one day. Elliott says he'd love to raise the money and put all the footage back together. In the meantime, read all about it! 

Amazon listing

Michael Winkler's website

Book review on Urban Cinefile

March 26, 2016

Tune in Sunday evening, March 27, to hear Robert de Young, co-producer of the Rod documentary, talk about his work -- including "Rod Taylor: Pulling No Punches."

De Young is in Los Angeles and will be interviewed by Jack Marino on LA Talk Radio Sunday evening at 10 p.m. Easter Time/7 p.m. Pacific Time. The show is 50 minutes long with one commercial break.

Here's how you can listen:

Go to, and scroll down until you see Channel 1 and Channel 2.
Under Channel 2, you'll see the photo of Jack Marino, Warrior Filmmaker. Hit the "Click to Listen live" button, and you'll hear the show.

In addition to the Rod documentary, Robert de Young has made documentaries on actors Errol Flynn, Peter Finch and an upcoming one about Jerry Lewis.

Jan. 26, 2016

Save the date! Exciting news! The world premiere of the Rod Taylor documentary, "Pulling No Punches," will be 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 11, on Foxtel Arts in Australia, according to TV Tonight.

Read more about the documentary and see trailers at the "Pulling No Punches" page.

Aug. 16, 2015

Here's news about two documentaries:

(1) A second trailer is available online for "Pulling No Punches," and it makes me hope that the mid-2015 release date of the full documentary will soon come true! See Lowlands Media's Vimeo page: The new trailer is the fourth video on the page; the original trailer is the second video on the page.

(2) I've added a page for a documentary titled "Jamaican Railways: The Friendliest Line in the World," which features about 10 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the filming of "Dark of the Sun." This was an unexpected discovery, and Rod can be seen in a few of the shots.

Feb. 1, 2015

Want to hear an hour-long discussion about Rod Taylor's life and career from experts on the topic? Then have a listen to the second half of a recent broadcast of an Australian Radio show, Film Buff's Forecast, from Jan. 31, 2015.

Start at the 56:00 mark for the segment, which features a conversation with Steven Vagg, the author of "Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood" and Mark Hartley, an Australian filmmaker and director who interviewed Rod for the "Pulling No Punches" documentary.

I want to thank Stephen for telling the listeners about the "awesome" and "lovely" webmaster of this site at the end of the broadcast! I appreciate the sentiments and the shout-out.

Jan. 29, 2015

Don't forget: Turner Classic Movies has scheduled a five-film tribute to Rod Taylor on Jan. 29, starting at 8 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. The featured films will be The Time Machine, The Birds, Sunday in New York, Young Cassidy and The Glass Bottom Boat.

Join me on Twitter @RodTaylorSite and tweet tonight using #RodTCM.

Jan. 13, 2015

Here's a little brightness amid the sad news: A documentary about Rod that has been in development for a few years is getting closer to being released. An article from the SBS in Australia states that the documentary will be released this year! For more info, read the "Pulling No Punches" page and the article at SBS.

Jan. 11, 2015

Today would have been Rod's 85th birthday.  The world has been celebrating his life and career this week upon the news of his passing.

Rod died at home on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, surrounded by his family and friends.

I want to thank all the fans who have left such lovely messages in the guestbook, and I encourage everyone to continue posting comments: Sign/read the guestbook.

I also will be posting "highlights" of online obits and tributes to Rod from major media outlets. It is so heartening to see the outpouring of love and appreciation for his talents, versatility and all-around goodness.

My favorite tribute so far is Rod Taylor: An Appreciation of the Under-Appreciated by Rhett Bartlett at the Hollywood Reporter site. Here are some excerpts, with some good news:

Draw a circle around Taylor's career from 1955-65, and you justifiably can rate that period with the heydays of any Australian actor, before or since. His work during this time spanned almost every genre: sci-fi ... horror ... animation ... drama ... breezy romantic comedies ... and biopics.

Two months ago, I submitted his name to the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts — which celebrates our country's greatest achievements in film and television — for its lifetime achievement award. Because Rod Taylor was rarely mentioned in Australia when we spoke of success stories. Because he was the son of a steelworker who forged his way to Hollywood. Because he started his career near the sprockets of a movie frame, then ended up front and center.

Click here for more obits and tributes. I will continue to add images and links to this page.

Jan. 8, 2015

The saddest of news to report: Rod Taylor has died.

Liz Ploger, an assistant to Rod in the 1960s, wrote to me today that Rod fell down about two weeks ago and was hospitalized. He was able to return home, and he subsequently had a heart attack and died in his own bed.

Rod died at home on Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015, surrounded by his family and friends.

His daughter, Felicia said in a statement: "My dad loved his work. Being an actor was his passion – calling it an honorable art and something he couldn’t live without."

Sunday, Jan. 11, would have been Rod's 85th birthday. This site usually encourages birthday greetings in the guestbook. This year, I encourage everyone to share special memories to celebrate the life of this wonderful actor and lovely man.

Sign/read the guestbook

TCM has scheduled a five-film tribute to Rod Taylor on Jan. 29, starting at 8 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time. The featured films will be The Time Machine, The Birds, Sunday in New York, Young Cassidy and The Glass Bottom Boat.


Nov. 23, 2014

I was lucky enough catch a night-long salute to Rod Taylor on TCM on Friday, Nov. 20. It featured The Birds, The Time Machine, Dark of the Sun, Sunday in New York and Hotel all in a row!

Also on the TCM site is a blog item titled Ten Things You Might Not Know about Rod Taylor, by Kimberly Lindbergs, citing things she'd learned by reading Stephen Vagg's biography of Rod. In his commentary between movies on Friday, TCM host Ben Mankiewicz called Rod "rugged and underappreciated." So, it's good to see some appreciation!

Feb. 3, 2014

Rod Taylor participated in a rare autograph signing session on Jan. 31, 2014.

The OC Dugout, also known as Orange County Sportscards, held a private autograph signing session with Rod, and the results are posted at the ocsportscard store on eBay. The items are pricey but beautiful! Below is one of the photos they took of Rod during his signing.

Jan. 30, 2014

I have added a page for an old show but a new discovery: "Here's Hollywood." IMDb recently added a credit for Rod, who appeared in this interview show in August 1961. I added a little further research, and now I have another addition not only to the website, but to my wishlist!

Nov. 6, 2013

A rare treasure has surfaced Down Under: A 13-minute interview with Rod Taylor from 1975, just after his appearance on "This is Your Life."

Click here to read about -- and more importantly -- listen to Rod's interview with Mike Willesee!

This gem came to light recently when Australian fan Ken Lynch found a box of reel-to-reel audio tapes of recordings he had made off TV during the 1970s. He is converting the tapes to mp3 files, and in the process, he discovered this Rod Taylor interview and sent it along for sharing. Thank you, Ken!

Sept. 1, 2013

I was Googling for some news about the Rod Taylor documentary in development, "Pulling No Punches," and found a trailer for it! The video will have you grinning from start to finish:

View trailer at Vimeo video site

May 18, 2013

I've updated the page of one of my most-wanted shows -- Rod's appearance on "Bus Stop." I want it even more after reading the description from from an Australian Women's Weekly magazine from 1962:

"There is no doubt he has sex appeal, but in case we females didn't realise it, Mr. Taylor was photographed whenever possible stripped to the waist, in bed, wearing short shorts and tight muscle-revealing shirts on the tennis courts, or having revealing rub-downs in the massage rooms."

May 1, 2013

I have added another page -- John Newcombe's Australian Stars in the States -- and would add another, but I really haven't found enough information.

Perhaps any fans in Europe could help with this: IMDb lists Rod as making an appearance on the German show "Gottschalk Late Night" on Dec. 3, 1994. I haven't been able to confirm this, however. There a several clips of Thomas Gottschalk's late night show on YouTube, but Rod is not in any of them.

Does anyone out there have any info to shed light on the matter? Please contact me at with any leads you may have.

By the way, two items on Rod's IMDb page should not be there: The Rack and Gulliver's Travels. Rod has said he never did "The Rack," and I have watched "Gulliver's Travels" and the "uncredited" voice is not his.

One last stray credit. TV listings for April 30, 1964, had Rod making appearance on the game show "Password," but he did not appear. Jack Jones was on in his place.

April 28, 2013

The site updates are progressing and include some new pages. Here are some of the latest highlights and additions:

April 16, 2013

The site update has progressed through the "R" titles. A lot of this site had been built during dial-up days, with small images and a general lack of multimedia. So many page revisions involve adding links to film clips, trailers and even full movies on YouTube -- in addition to fresh screen captures and additional information about various titles.

Here are some of the pages with notable upgrades:

March 31, 2013

I've been making steady progress on updating the site, mostly working my way alphabetically through the various pages. (I finished with the H's last night! )

I thought I'd point you toward some of the more notable recent updates:

So, click around and have fun. There's still a lot to update, including an eventual re-working of the galleries. I also am finding I'll need to make a second pass through the site with additions of things I missed the first time around. On the Internet, nothing is ever "finished"!

March 2013

I happened to be over on Veronica Cartwright's Web page, checking links, and lo and behold -- on the front was a photo of her, Tippi Hedren and Rod Taylor taken this year at Rod's house!

The caption says "Tippi Hedren, Veronica and Rod Tayler do an interview for a documentary on Rod Taylor's life -- 'Pulling No Punches: Rod Taylor' -- scheduled for release next year."

The documentary is being made by Lowland Media Pty Ltd, with Robert De Young, Stephan Wellink producers and Mark Hartley, director. A synopsis says, "Pulling No Punches profiles the career and legacy of rugged Australian actor Rod Taylor."

Is it next year yet?!?

March 10, 2013

As you can see, I have begun a gradual update of the Rod Taylor Site! As time permits, I will be revising pages, pictures and features of the site. Please forgive any oddities along the way, such as broken links and wonky pictures. This project will take weeks, if not months, but I hope you will enjoy the ride -- and the result.

Some examples of updated pages include pictures for "Cheyenne" and "Tales of the Unexpected" and various additions and changes to the Rod Taylor, artist page as well as "Bearcats!" On the latter, you will see a change: I will include a "Viewer's Guide" section on each page rather than the separate "Buyer's Guide" page that was hard to keep updated.

And that brings me to some news for today. The box art for the "Bearcats!" DVD release coming up on May 14th!

Feb. 18, 2013

For many years, Rod Taylor fans  have been searching for five "missing" episodes of "Hong Kong." The series has never been released officially on VHS or DVD, and the same 21 episodes have been circulating among tape traders and on eBay.

Then, yesterday, I stumbled upon the motherlode on YouTube. The five episodes (and other complete episodes) are online and can be viewed here:

1.2 Murder Royal // 1.13 When Strangers Meet // 1.15 Lesson in Fear
1.19 Lady Godiva // 1.20 The Hunted

Dec. 8, 2012

The Dec. 14 issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived yesterday, bearing a surprise: A DVD "Cult Classic" review of Dark of the Sun, giving it an "A" and raving about  the "rollicking red-meat adventure." The item has special praise for "terrific Rod Taylor" who "oozes sweaty, 100-proof charisma." What a joy to see this praise in a major, mass-audience publication!

A scan of the review is below for your reading enjoyment:

Oct. 29, 2012

Canadian Derek Redmond recently shared a page related to "Hong Kong" that he added to his website, The CJ3B Page, which deals with Jeeps of the 1950s-60s.

The Web page -- The Gold Jeeps of 1961 and the TV series Hong Kong -- includes discussion of the use of Jeeps in "Hong Kong," which was sponsored by Willys Motors and its parent company, Kaiser Industries.

I discovered another mention of Kaiser Industries in a March 11, 1962, column in the Torrance Herald in California. Columnist Terence O'Flaherty noted that the series "attracted the eye of sponsor Henry Kaiser," who was a major industrialist, shipbuilder and philanthropist. "He and Taylor hit if off right away," O'Flaherty wrote. "They call each other 'Dad' and 'Son.' No other actor I know enjoys this kind of friendship with a former sponsor."

Read on for new information about the ill-fated follow-up to "Hong Kong" -- "Dateline: San Francisco."

Oct. 27, 2012

Many thanks also go to Arthur Tashiro for sending along the following account of the screening of "Darker Than Amber" Oct. 22 at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco.

The print of the movie was like new. A pleasure to look at. The print is basically the same cut I saw at a theater back in the late 1970s. The movie, as you know, was withdrawn from circulation for a while and re-edited to remove its R rating. I think this is the re-edited version -- longer than what you might see on TV but shorter than what originally went out to theaters. The story is coherent, so I think the cuts took out some moments of violence and perhaps nudity.

Rod does well in it. I think he's let down by the script, a little. The emotional core of the movie ought to be his accidental but real relationship with Suzy Kendall -- that's what motivates the story, which otherwise has him bulling his way around Florida like any other action hero. Both he and Kendall play their parts well, but there's something heavy-handed and rushed about the way their scenes are constructed. Instead of letting the audience see a connection between them grow, the movie gives viewers a set of illustrations: now they're mad at each other, now they're tender, now some other thing. To believe, you have to bring a certain amount of goodwill to the show and stick with the actors' sense of reality.

So the movie is welcome but frustrating.

I enjoyed Arthur's comments about the relationship between the characters. Not only are they insightful, but it's refreshing to see a review that isn't dwelling on the famous fight scene.

Oct. 12, 2012

Mark Hartley, the Australian writer/director of "Not Quite Hollywood," was in Los Angeles in September to start work on new documentary. The topic this time... Rod Taylor!

Deadline Hollywood reports that the documentary is tentatively titled "Pulling No Punches," and is being produced by Robert de Young, who wrote and produced films about Peter Finch and Errol Flynn.

In further good news, a book on the making of "The Birds" will be published in 2013 to celebrate the film's 50th anniversary. The author is Tony Lee Moral, who also wrote a book about the making of "Marnie." More info >>

March 28, 2012

Here's a link to a blog post from an Australian radio station in which the author, Jim Schembri, praises his top six Rod Taylor flicks. I highly recommend this snappy, deliciously descriptive commentary.