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When The Stars Were Big And Bright

In 1952 at the age of five years old, Lion Leatherton is told that his mother has passed away. A few days after the funeral, Lion discovers that his brother Sid was killed in a car accident under suspicious circumstances, leaving him to live alone with Henry, his abusive father.

On the day Lion returns home from overseas, he is stunned to learn that Sid is alive. Sid tells him that their uncle Billy Ray was responsible for his accident and how he is proudly using semi-famous reputation for being a pimp and a sheriff to publish his life story. Sid enlightens Lion how Billy Ray threatened their parents for years because they refused to sign over the deed to several blocks of the historical Fort Worth Stockyards, which is worth millions of dollars.

With his family secrets behind him, Lion graduates from college. After a few years, Lion discovers that he has a serious illness. With nothing to lose, he moves in with Sid and becomes an actor. Unfortunately, Billy Ray is represented by the same theatrical agent who is trying to sell his screen rights.

Unexpectedly, Lion meets Annie , the love of his life. To his surprise, he begins to make a name for himself as an actor and becomes friends with a few powerful Hollywood insiders. After constantly being harassed by Billy Ray, Lion is forced to physically express his anger. Billy Ray promises revenge.

During the next few years, Billy Ray makes an appearance on the set each time Lion works on a project. Lion becomes tired of being preoccupied with Annie's safety and breaks off their engagement. Realizing he is mentally exhausted, he makes a vow never to audition again after a life-changing meeting in Los Angeles, and he accepts an entry-level position at a television network affiliate.

--Frederick Warrick Crawford

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