Celebrity Then And Now
Publication: Albany Daily News. Posted by Lexi Schwartz
Celebrity Then And Now
Posted by Lexi Schwartz
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Throughout the 1990’s, “Seinfeld” was the biggest show on television. The sitcom starring Jerry Seinfeld had another co-creator that you didn’t see on screen (though you heard him as the voice of George Steinbrenner). That man is Larry David, and he heard the pleas of fans to keep that kind of humor going after “Seinfeld” came to a close in 1998.
The solution came two years later in the form of a more adult version of “Seinfeld” starring David himself called “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. The show allowed for this kind of content since it aired on HBO where you can pretty much get away with anything. In of the episodes (“The Car Pool Lane”), David’s character (also named Larry) scores tickets to a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game.
David picks up a prostitute (played by Kym Whitley) after running late to the game. He doesn’t have any ill intentions from picking her up, he simply needs a passenger to get to the game in time for the first pitch. It was a hilarious situation that you can actually see someone doing if they are desperate and wealthy enough, and it played out perfectly on television. Not only was it great for audiences, but there was one person that appeared on camera that was very grateful for David and crew being at the game.
The episode showed the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves in August 2003. A man named Juan Catalan, 24, was being charged for murder months after the game was played. Catalan remembered back to the night of Martha Puebla’s murder in San Valley, California and knew that he could prove his innocence. Catalan said that he would take a lie detector test, but prosecutors refused to allow him that, so he came up with undeniable video evidence that would clear his name.
Catalan thought back to when the cameras were rolling and he was seen standing behind one of the characters at the Dodgers Stadium concourse. Catalan had his attorney contact the Dodgers who advised them that “Curb Your Enthusiasm” was being filmed, so he then contacted HBO. Catalan’s lawyer Todd Melnick went through all of the footage that HBO provided. “I went through about 20 minutes of tape, and I was beginning to get disheartened because I didn’t see Juan in any of the tapes,” he said. “And then, all of a sudden, there he was!”
Sure enough, Catalan had a ticket stub for the game and was seen amongst the crowd at Dodgers Stadium eating a hot dog with his daughter. Catalan filed a civil suit against the City of Los Angeles and wound up winning $320,000. His civil lawyer Gary Casselman said that Melnick “did the job the police were suppose to have done and are paid to do. It was incompetence; they took the easy way out.”
Catalan, who spent five months in jail while awaiting for the footage to clear his name, said that he wasn’t even a fan of the show or had even watched it. Because of the situation, he quickly became a fan that watched every single episode. David learned that his show had established an alibi for Catalan, which potentially got him out of the death penalty. David said that “I tell people that I’ve done one decent thing in my life, albeit inadvertently.”
If you’re wondering about whatever happened in the case of Martha Puebla, two gang members from the Vineland Boys gang were arrested and charged for the murder as well as dealing methamphetamine. Two of the detectives that were involved in the case were also charged for negligence. Probably not the happy ending that you were expecting, but at least justice was brought down to those that deserved it and not Catalan himself.