Frank Abagnale, Jr: Fact or Fiction?

May 15, 2019

Greenville Theatre's next spectacular production is Catch Me If You Can, a musical based on the 2002 Dreamworks movie of the same name. Closing up our season is this true story about one young man who became the world's greatest con artist when he was just 16 years old. 

 

In preparation for this unbelievable and true story we are going to play a game of 'Fact Or Fiction' on Frank Abagnale, Jr. and his remarkable story. Below are 11 trivia statements that could either be Fact or Fiction about him-it's your job to know the difference and see how many you can get right. No cheating and best of luck! 

 

1. Fact or Fiction?

After running away from home at 16, Frank Abagnale Jr. altered the age on his driving license to make himself appear 10 years older. 

 

2. Fact or Fiction? 

After overdrawing his own childhood bank account, Frank began a relationship with a female bank teller who would smuggle money out of the branch she worked at for him. 

 

3. Fact or Fiction? 

At a young age, Frank learned the power of the uniform. He figured a pilot was someone to be looked up to and would help him dazzle bank tellers while cashing checks. Frank, whose mother had taught him how to sew, constructed his own Pan Am's pilot uniform.  

 

4. Fact or Fiction? 

Pan Am estimates that between the ages of 16 and 18, Abagnale flew more than 1,000,000 miles on more than 250 flights and flew to 26 countries. 

 

5. Fact or Fiction? 

After nearly being arrested in New Orleans one day, Frank began to worry his cover would be blown. Retiring to Georgia, he filled out a rental application listing his occupation as "Doctor." After making friends with a local doctor, living in the same complex, he was offered a temporary position as a supervisor of the interns. 

 

6. Fact or Fiction? 

During his Pan Am days, Frank forged himself a Berkeley University law transcript. He attempted to pass the Louisiana Bar exam but failed multiple times, ending any chances of hire at local firms, thus ending his con attempt as a lawyer. 

 

7. Fact or Fiction?  

In 1969, Frank was arrested in Montpellier, France after being caught in an FBI ambush in an aiport. 

 

8. Fact or Fiction?  

By the end of his conning career, Frank Abagnale claimed to have created 3 identities and escaped from police custody once in Sweden. 

 

9. Fact or Fiction? 

Frank served less than 5 years of his 12 year sentence for cashing $2.5 million worth of forged checks across 26 countries. After attempting to work a few low key jobs such as a cook and clerk, he found it was hard to hold down a job due to his criminal past. 

 

10. Fact or Fiction?

Frank Abagnale's life story was adapted into a book in 1980 co-written by Abagnale and Stan Redding titled Catch Me If You Can on his early life as a con artist. Then, in 2002, a movie of the name name was released, followed by a musical of the same name in 2011. 

 

11. Fact or Fiction?  

Frank now lives in South Carolina with his wife and children. He remained good friends with Joseph Shea, the FBI agent who caught him. 

 

                                 _______________________Answers below! _________________________________

 

 

1. Fact.

This helped Frank gain more respect by increasing his license age to 26. 

 

2. Fiction.

Frank would print his bank account number on blank deposit slips and quietly add them to the pile of real deposit slips at the blank. This resulted in other people's money getting put in to this account rather than their own. 

 

3. Fiction.

Frank obtained a Pan Am pilot uniform by calling Pan Am HQ and saying he had lost his. He was then directed to a tailor who custom made him a new one and billed Pan Am for it under a fake employee ID and name. 

 

4. Fact.

After pretending to be a high school student writing a paper on pilots, he learned all he could in order to successfully pretend to be a pilot. The job allowed him to fly, stay in hotels, and eat meals all for free under the guise of a pilot. 

 

5. Fact.

For 11 months he faked his way through the gig, and never had to do much medical work as a supervisor, allowing the interns to handle the jobs. He left when he felt he was putting too many lives at risk. 

 

6. Fiction.  

Frank forged himself a Harvard University law transcript and really did pass the Louisiana Bar exam. At 19, he was recommended for a job at the State Attorney General's office. His job mainly consisted of running errands for his boss. He left after learning a fellow employee who actually attended Harvard was running a background check on him. 

 

7. Fiction.

Frank was captured in Montpellier, France after an Air France flight attendant, whom he had dated, recognized him on a wanted poster and turned him in. At the time of his arrest, 12 different countries were looking to have him extradited. 

 

8. Fiction.

Frank actually claims to have created no fewer than eight separate identities, including an airline pilot, a doctor, a prison agent, and a lawyer. He escaped police custody twice, once from a moving airplane and once from an American prison all before he was 21 years old. 

 

9. Fact.

After the smaller jobs fell through, Frank walked in a bank and made an offer that he would teach them about bank fraud, and if they didn't find his speech helpful, they owed him nothing. Otherwise, they would pay him $500 and owe him a recommendation for other banks. He started his own security firm and has been visiting banks and the FBI giving seminars as a security consultant for 35 years. 

 

10. Fact.

The 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can was directed by Steven Spielberg in 2002 and starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks as Hanratty, the FBI agent who pursued him. The Broadway musical of the same name featured Aaron Tveit as Frank and Norbert Leo Butz as Hanratty. Butz won a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical for his work. 

 

11. Fact.

Frank and his wife, Kelly Ann live in Charleston, South Carolina and have three children and three grandchildren. Joseph Shea was the head agent on Abagnale's case and had his name used falsely as a pawn in Abagnale's prison escape. After Abagnale's capture, his deep friendship with Shea lasted 30 years until Shea's death. 

 

 

 

Come see Catch Me If You Can running May 31- June 23. Tickets sales are taking off, so hurry and catch yours before it's too late! Call our box office at 864-233-6238 or click here to purchase tickets online. 

 

 

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