July 7, 2014

Scholar Analyzes the Frankie Valli/Tommy DeVito Friendship in Psychology Today!

July 7th, 2014

Joe Pesci with Tommy DeVito & Frankie Valli at JERSEY BOYS opening in L.A. in 2007 (Photo Credit: Ryan Miller/Capture Imaging)

Dr. Geoffrey Greif, Professor at the University of Maryland, has a fascinating article in Psychology Today about the friendship between original Four Seasons members Frankie Valli and Tommy DeVito. Below is a sneak peek:

In both the show and the movie, Tommy is the free-spending gambler who ends up owing huge debts to the Mob, around “160 large.” He also “borrows” from The Four Seasons account (the band sold over 100 million records during their career), to the tune of 500,000 dollars. In a scene that concludes with Tommy being banished from the group and to a life in Vegas where he can be watched by the people he owes, Frankie takes on the debt for him.

This is payback for Tommy having helped Frankie off the streets of New Jersey years before. Did Tommy lose/steal the money? According to an interview with repoter Vicki Hyman, Tommy said, “I’m not proud of what I did. I’m not ashamed of it either.” So, for the purposes of discussion, let’s assume Frankie did bail him out and consigned himself to years of performing in order to make good on Tommy’s debt.

To what extent is honoring such commitments to early friendships a male/macho process? To what extent is this part of a close-knit Italian culture that helped kids in New Jersey survive in the 1940s and 1950s? Or is this just a more extreme version of relationships between old friends that get played out every day in different contexts?

Fascinating that a scholar who has recently written a book on male friendships is publishing on the two original JERSEY BOYS and their relationship, isn’t it?

Click HERE to read the entire article.

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