Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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My father, a part-time casino gambler, once told the story of a blackjack player holding two tens and an ace who asked for another card. The moral, I believe, was that sometimes it's best to leave well enough alone. Case in point, sequels to classics. Other than Henry IV, Part Two and Second Corinthians, I'm hard put to find one that's worked. But given encouragement, there are always those players who can't resist a chance to do the best one better. According to Michael Walsh, he was doing lunch at a trendy restaurant in midtown Manhattan with a publisher one day when, out of the blue, she asked if he'd be interested in writing a sequel to Casablanca. Not a screenplay but a novel, on the order of the romantic potboiler a few years back that told Margaret Mitchell fans what happened to Scarlett O'Hara after Rhett said he didn't give a damn.

Odd, I thought, that a writer whose literary oeuvre included such heart-thumpers as The First One-Hundred Years of Carnegie Hall should get the call to embellish one of my generation's most cherished classics. Why not me? Envy, yes. If anyone is to get the chance to fail at a Casablanca sequel, why not someone who lived through the era and knows the characters and their story first-hand? To judge from his dust jacket photo, the blow-dried author of As Time Goes By acquired his interest in Rick and Ilsa by osmosis, at one of those with-it Harvard gatherings in the 60's, where the likes of Todd Gitlin and Al Gore bonded at the Brattle Theatre each year to celebrate Bogart Week. No real feel for the material. Like Linda Ronstadt's rendering of Cole Porter, the words and music may be there, but absent the know what...