A Visit with Mark Twain

Larry Davis portrays the famed author and orator, Mark Twain, at venues throughout the nation. Image by Jim Satterwhite.

Mark Twain, born Samuel Langhorne Clemens, was raised in Hannibal, Missouri. The river town later provided the setting for his humorous novels about “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn.” He served an apprenticeship with a printer and then worked as a typesetter, contributing articles to the newspaper of his older brother Orion Clemens. He later became a riverboat pilot on the Mississippi River before heading west to join Orion in Nevada. He referred humorously and often to his lack of success at mining before turning to journalism for the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise. His humorous story, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” was published in 1865, based on a story that he heard at Angels Hotel in Angels Camp, California, where he had spent some time as a miner. The short story brought international attention and was even translated into French. His wit and satire, in prose and in speech, earned praise from critics and peers, and he was a friend to presidents, artists, industrialists, and European royalty.
Larry Davis of Cumby, Texas has portrayed Mark Twain for the last 47-years. The 1964 Boles Home High School graduate used to don an old man’s clothes and powder his hair white for the role of the seventy-year-old comedian, orator, and author. Now at 74, Larry portrays a “younger man” when he impersonates the famed 19th Century author. Davis replied to the Rotarians gathered at the Landmark on Lee Street last Thursday when he asked the crowd, “Did you know that Mark Twain was a millionaire? Yes, he was for about a day when he discovered a vein of rich ore in Nevada. Twain celebrated with his brother, Orion. Each thought the other had filed a claim, but another miner researched and found the claim unfiled.”
Larry donned his white “speaking suit” and presented A Visit with Mark Twain at the Greenville Municipal Auditorium Friday evening.

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