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Hal Holbrook: Mark Twain Tonight! (1967)

Recreating the one-man show he starred in on Broadway, 'Hal Holbrook' portrays Mark Twain as a 70-year old humorist who skewers politicians, newspapermen and so-called patriots in this 90 ... See full summary »






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Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 3 nominations. See more awards »
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Credited cast:


Recreating the one-man show he starred in on Broadway, 'Hal Holbrook' portrays Mark Twain as a 70-year old humorist who skewers politicians, newspapermen and so-called patriots in this 90 minute monologue. Holbrook adapted Twain's own words for a commentary on slavery, religion and politics, mixing the satire with comic yarns about life on the Mississippi and a very effective ghost story. The show's highlight are the lengthy passages from "Huckleberry Finn". Written by David Bassler

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Hal Holbrook brings the special intimacy of television to his memorable stage portrayal of Mark Twain.

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

6 March 1967 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Hal Holbrook has been performing his Tony award winning one-man show of "Mark Twain Tonight" for over 55 years (2009), this Emmy Award winning presentation was the only time it was nationally televised. See more »


[first lines]
Mark Twain: Ladies and gentlemen, how solemn and beautiful is the thought, that the earliest pioneer of civilization is never the railroad, never the newspaper, never the missionary, but whiskey.
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User Reviews

God bless you Hal Holbrook
20 October 2004 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

I have always been a very conservative person who does not like change. I guess one of the reasons that I love Mark Twain Tonight is that Hal Holbrook and this remarkable one man show have been a constant in American society for fifty years. Holbrook was only in his twenties when he started playing the 70 year old Twain in schools and at PTAs. He spent five years researching Twain's life, he read his writings and speeches and studied ancient films of him. He even talked to people who had seen Twain speak. In 1959, Mark Twain Tonight quietly opened on Broadway. The critics to a person praised the young actor and this remarkable show. One said there should have been posters all over the place announcing its arrival. Everything about this show is perfect another critic said. Holbrook gives a brilliant performance. He actually makes you believe he IS Mark Twain. The fact it is hilarious and touching is just so much gravy. Holbrook has given over 2,000 Twain shows, even performing behind the Iron Curtain. I am an Army Sergeant stationed at Fort Detrick in Maryland. I was lucky enough, I say again LUCKY, to see this legendary actor perform at the Weinburg Center here in Frederick, Maryland. The night was magical. Mister Holbrook is an American treasure and I wish everyone could see this wonderful show. The amazing thing is that he knows over 14 hours of Twain material and makes every show different! He just makes it up as he goes along. What is even more incredible is the fact that so many of Twain's observations are as relevant today as a newspaper headline. He talks of the stupidity of war and polticians and the press. It is just incredible. This is a show that makes you feel good and laugh but also makes you think as well. It is a testimony to the genius of Samuel Langhorne Clemens AND of Hal Holbrook!

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