If there was ever a man designated to bear the name Mark Twain other than Samuel Clemens, many will tell you it's Hal Holbrook.
His career in show business is incomparable. His reputation in Hollywood is respected highly. His admiration is solid amongst many in the acting business.
And all the while it hasn't just been the work he's done on the silverscreen, but on the work he's done for hundreds of live audiences performing as the world-famous novelist Mark Twain.
To make things more fitting, the man who portrays Hannibal's most famous son, comes to town Saturday to give this highly praised act.
"It's always different. It's always in two acts and it's always amazing fun. He has such a repertoire that he will never do the same show twice. No two shows are alike. He will pull the Twain from his memory that kind of ties in with whatever current events that are on the table," Mark Twain Museum Director Cindy Lovell said. "I have seen him perform eight different times and it's never been the same show, ever. He just does not do the same show. He'll just pick and choose as he goes along. Might be because of where he is, might be because of what's in the news. Whatever his reasons are, from his vast Twain sampler he can just pull any kind of topic and address it."
Holbrook will be starring in Stephen Spielberg's "Lincoln" which opens today and will be starring in "Promised Land" with John Krasinski and Matt Damon which opens later this year. He was nominated for an academy award for "Into The Wild" and portrayed Deep Throat in "All The President's Men."
But it's his portrayal of the man who gave the world Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn where Holbrook gets his true association with fans.
"The first time I saw him was in Iowa, when I was in graduate school, and I did not have the money for a ticket. I had just moved to Iowa for two years to do my doctorate from Florida," Lovell said. "I did not own winter boots, I had gone and purchased a pair of winter boots at Walmart for $35. This was back in the '90s. I realized I had to see him; I would never get this close (she thought at the time). I returned the boots, they were still brand new and in the bag, got my money, bought the ticket and never regretted it."
Holbrook will be performing "Mark Twain Tonight" at Hannibal High School. The show begins at 8 p.m., doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available.
"It's a unique opportunity to see the greatest. He is the greatest Mark Twain performer to have ever lived. I don't think anyone would ever disagree with that. To have him performing in Hannibal is magical," Lovell said. "I got a message from somebody in Colorado who bought a plane ticket, booked a hotel room and bought a ticket to the performance. They not only want to see Hal Holbrook, they want to see Hal Holbrook perform as Twain in Hannibal. It's the most perfect fit."
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