Sunday, March 24, 2013

Catch Me If You Can

These days, everything is digital.

Photos, music, video.

Digital copies of digital copies of digital copies are just as perfect as the original, no matter how many times they are reproduced.

But, back in the day, copies of such things were made by photocopy or magnetic tape. With each copy of a copy, the quality declined a bit. Until a copy of a copy of a copy was an imperfect, blurry shadow of the original.

This afternoon, Mrs. Blog and I went up to The Pantages in Hollywood to see the musical production of "Catch Me If You Can."

And, for all of the show's energetic, candy colored exuberance, The PC's mind kept wandering to the "copy of a copy" analogy.

But, let me back up to the beginning, of sorts...

At a certain age, every kid, (every boy, anyway,) tends to favor the outlaws over the heroes.

Pirates, old west train robbers, original gangsters and such.

While his friends were into Blackbeard, Jesse James and Al Capone and Bonnie and Clyde, the young Bloggling didn't really care.

The argument could be made that The Batman was an outlaw. And, The PC has always been fascinated by The Joker.

But, his real interest in the flip side of the law wasn't sparked until 1973, at the age of fourteen, when his grandmother (aka: Nanny) took him to see "The Sting."

Henry Gondorff and Johnny Hooker.

They didn't shoot people. They didn't break and enter. They didn't hold up trains or pillage ships and villages.

They didn't even carry guns.

They were just wayyyy smarter than their "marks."

While his friends got off on violent, bloody battles...

The young PC was into "The Long Con."

During that time, The PC sublimated his interest in the con by delving into a world where the con was legitimized and people actually paid to be conned.

He became a magician.

That is a story for another day.

But, in 1977, when he was 17 or 18, he was watching, as he did every afternoon, the TV game show "To Tell the Truth."

And it was there that he was introduced to a real life Henry Gondorff, Frank W. Abignale, Jr.

Rather than lay out his story here, allow me to direct you to a YouTube clip of the very show I'm talking about.

Watch it here.

Illegality, immorality and ethical bankruptcy aside, The young Blog concluded that this guy was the coolest!

Frank W. Abignale, Jr. was The young Blog's own, personal outlaw.

It wasn't until the year 2000 that Abignale finally published his autobiography, "Catch Me If You Can: The True Story of a Real Fake."

As with any memoir, especially one written by an outlaw, you can bet that no matter how accurate the telling, the author will work hard to make himself the protagonist. And, Frank's book did that well. The PC recommends it.

Returning to the "copy of a copy" theme, the book is, no matter how true, very likely an imperfect reproduction of the original life.

Two years later, no less than Steven Spielberg directed the movie version, starring Leo DiCaprio as Frank and Tom Hanks as FBI Agent Carl Hanratty.

A great film. But, much of the darker stuff in Abignale's book was glossed over, in favor of making the film something of a "cat and mouse," buddy comedy.

A less perfect copy of a copy.

(Do you see what The Blog is doing here?)

Which brings us to "Catch Me If You Can: The Musical."

Entertaining for about two hours.

But, in the end, a copy of a copy of a copy.

Real life people rendered as broad cartoon caricatures.

A real life, nail-biter of a story reduced to high camp silliness.

Certainly, The Blog had more fun this afternoon than he had last month at "Jekyll & Hyde."

But, unlike "J&H," which, at least, made enough of an impression to disturb his sleep for nights afterward, "Catch Me..." was little more than chewing gum for the eyes and ears, discarded and mostly forgotten as soon as it lost its favor.

Bottom line...

If you are looking for a fun, frivolous afternoon or evening, by all means, go see this show when it comes to your town.

As for The Blog...

He's going to re-read the book and reconnect with the better quality copy.

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