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A Favorite Celebrity Can Change Your Life - Hal Holbrook As Mark Twain

Updated on May 22, 2013
Mark Twain
Mark Twain | Source

Hal Holbrook, PennState Previews

Hal Holbrook and Mark Twain Saved My Life

When I was a teenager, I was taking too heavy a course load in high school of advanced college prep classes and performing in the marching and concert bands as first chair cornet/trumpet. I was the first female to hold that position in the history of the school and my parents insisted I earn a 4.0 GPA (perfect) overall "or else."

Under the load of extra school subjects and a strict and isolated upbrining, which included not being permitted to have any friends, the pressures of up to 20 hours per week of musical practice, and the constant verbal attacks from students in the classrooms and hallways because I was not allowed to talk to them, I became ill.

One night as I went to bed, I said to myself, "I wish I were dead." The next morning I woke up with a fever, both eyes plastered shut by infection, an infected throat and infected ears so bad that I could not hear well. At the doctor's office, I earned that both of my lungs were filling up with fluid. I was sent home with antibiotics.

After three days of being kept in a dark room, alone, my condition was unchanged. That night, I did hear a TV show coming on in the next room and got my pillow and blanket and went out to the couch.

The show was "Mark Twain Tonight!" starring Hal Holbrook.

I had always loved Mark Twain. Watching Hal Holbrook as Twain made me laugh and feel connected to humanity and the common man - all the stories of daily life 100 years before, and how they applied to the current times as well -- even though I was connected to no one in my own daily life.

I went to bed feeling better, and the next morning I was cured.

Hal Holbrook saved my life.

I have gathered books written by Mark Twain and Hal Holbrook and now reread them often. I learned how Mr. Holbrook perfected his show on stage over the course of several decades since 1954. I re-watch a tape of the TV show a year ago and could not remember a word of it, but during one sketch, I had the same feeling as I had had when I was 16. It was like traveling back through time via some sort of portal, I was in two places at once.

I have recently been happy to learn that Hal Holbrook is bringing back the Mark Twain play "Is he Dead?" along with his one-man show "Mark Twain Tonight!" very soon. Mr. Holbrook is still performeing at the age of 80+ and doing a fine job of it.

I have posted my thanks to him on his wesite, but perhaps I will see him in person on stage.

That would be grand!

Quotes That Gave Me Perspective

Hal Holbrook on Stage

Hal Holbrook is still touring, though less often, in the USA with his one-man show entitled Mark Twain Tonight! He has been doing this for several decades. Today, he performs occasionally on college campuses and in local theaters.

Purchase show tickets when available from eBay, listed below.


Read the review of a recent run of Hal Holbrook's touring show Mark Twain Tonight! :


IMBD Link to the early televised show performed in 1967 and available on VHS and DVD media:

The Reasoning Animal (?)

Mark Twain in 1907
Mark Twain in 1907

Mark Twain Tonight!

A Thomas Edison film of Mark Twain in 1909.


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    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 10 years ago from USA. Member of Asgardia, the first space nation, since October 2016

      Great comment! Yes, I think it is a "wild ride" and that there will be a lot at the destination point, when we are ready to get on board for the trip.

    • roseflr profile image

      roseflr 10 years ago from PITTSBURGH

      It's amazing what will get through to a person at just the right time, a time that will be meaningful.

      All my life I heard the usual platitudes about people who have died going to a better place, etc. I had basic religious beliefs, but, still all this was just so much talk as far as I could see.

      Then, when John Lennon died, for some reason, I immediately could picture him being excited about the wild journey he was on, the chance to learn all of life's mysteries and actually know all about God, to know what happens when you die. I felt like he was saying, "Far out!"

      Since his death I have felt true comfort in the idea that death is probably a wild adventure. I would feel silly telling this to someone who has just lost a loved one, however.