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anything that's completely loaded will be in the user's cache so it does not have to reload from your server to the user.
however, if you're loading something that you don't want to display set its _alpha to zero, and execute a targetMC.stop() (after loading is complete) where targetMC is the loadMovie() target movieclip. or, if you have control of the external swf insert an empty keyframe in the first frame and place a stop() there. when you're ready to play the loaded movie execute a targetMC.play().
I was using the loader component, which threw me off. I inserted a blank movie and user loadmovie() to load it was the progress bar. The external movie got loaded to a blank instance. I inserted a stop frame in the first frame of the external movie. Spanned the blank instance over the three frames and then in the third frame just put in a targetMC.play() command. Works like a charm. Thanks for the great advice.