A popular musical of the 1950s was ‘Damn Yankees’ which was made into a film.
The leading character is a middle-aged man – Joe Boyd – who from childhood has dreamed of becoming a famous baseball player.
And then it happens – one night a mysterious character, a Mr Applegate, walks into Joe’s life and tells him that he has the power to make Joe’s dream a reality.
Mr Applegate can turn middle aged Joe Boyd into Joe Hardy, a young athletic and gifted baseball player who will transform the team and take them to dizzy new heights.
The question, of course, in Joe’s mind is “Who is this enigmatic Applegate person?”
Well, as you may have guessed, the mysterious Mr Applegate is none other than the Devil himself in human form.
It’s then that Joe learns that there’s a catch to all this. In exchange for stardom, he must sell his soul to the devil.
Joe finds the offer impossible to refuse. He agrees to it, but on one condition – that he can back out of the agreement, if he wishes, just before the team has secured the championship.
The devil, believing that once Joe has tasted success, he’ll never want to give it up, agrees.
So Joe writes a short note, kisses his sleeping wife good-bye, and leaves home to begin his new life.
And what a life! He becomes an overnight sensation. Fans cheer him wildly, youngsters idolise him, and older people think of him as the son or grandson they had always wanted to have.
It’s an unbelievable experience, and Joe relishes every moment of it.
But, as the story progresses, something unexpected happens to Joe. Gradually, all the fame and fortune begin to grow stale. Deep down inside him, there’s an emptiness that he can’t quite explain.
Finally, the deadline date with the devil arrives. The prospect of major success for the team is there….but, after much soul-searching, Joe invokes the escape clause in his deal with the devil, and gives it all up.
“What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits himself?”
Joe disappears from the baseball scene as mysteriously as he arrived.
A few days later, he turns up at his home again, kisses his wife, and goes back to being Joe Boyd again, the middle aged man who once dreamed of being a baseball star.