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capture lightning in a bottle

To achieve or succeed at doing something that is incredibly difficult, unlikely, and/or elusive. Primarily heard in US. The playwright captured lightning in a bottle with his first play, taking the world by storm and thrusting him into the spotlight of fame. This rookie team, such underdogs in this championship, are trying to capture lightning in a bottle with an upset win over the number one seed.

capture (one's) imagination

To hold one's interest or spark one's creativity. I know it sounds strange, but his talk on the importance of obtuse angles really captured my imagination. That movie captured his imagination so much that it inspired him to become a screenwriter.
See also: capture, imagination

capture someone's imagination

Fig. to intrigue someone; to interest someone in a lasting way; to stimulate someone's imagination. The story of the young wizard has captured the imagination of the world's children.
See also: capture, imagination