Mark Twain in popular culture

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Mark Twain‍ '​s legacy includes awards, events, a variety of memorials and namesakes, and numerous works of art, entertainment, and media.

Amusement parks and attractions[edit]

Art, entertainment, and media[edit]



  • The Adventures of Mark Twain (1985), a stop-action anime, focuses on Twain trying to "keep his appointment" with Halley's Comet. Twain was born under Halley's Comet and said he would die upon its return, which he did.
  • Mark Twain (2002), a documentary, was produced and directed by Ken Burns.


  • Singer/songwriter Jimmy Buffett gives Twain a nod in his own literature, most notably by naming a main character's horse Mr. Twain.[citation needed]
  • Sam Clemens is one of the main characters of the Riverworld science fiction series by Philip José Farmer (19711983), depicting the posthumous career of various famous people resurrected at the banks of a mighty river in a mysterious world . In particular, the second book of the series, The Fabulous Riverboat, describes the quest of the character Clemens to build a paddle-boat to travel the vast river, with many echoes from the life of the real Clemens.
  • Mark Twain appears in Joe R. Lansdale's Flaming Zeppelins: The Adventures of Ned the Seal (2010), an omnibus of Lansdale's novels Zeppelins West and Flaming London.
  • Samuel Clemens is a character in Kirk Mitchell's novel Never the Twain {1987), in which Howard Hart, the last living descendant of Western writer Bret Harte, a Twain's contemporary, travels back in time in an attempt to prevent Twain's literary career from taking off and overshadowing his ancestor's.
  • Samuel Clemens is a main character in Dan Simmons's Fires of Eden (1994). The main protagonist, Eleanor, follows in her aunt's footsteps, recreating a journey Aunt Kidder took with Clemens to the volcanoes on the Big Island of the then-Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii). The book alternates between Eleanor's modern day experiences and the events described in the diary.
  • Samuel Clemens appears in Harry Turtledove's alternate history novel How Few Remain (1997) in which one of the side-effects of the South's winning the American Civil War is that Clemens remains in San Francisco and becomes a newspaper editor there rather than an author, and never takes up a literary career or the pen name Mark Twain. When the Union and Confederate States go to war again in 1881-1882, he writes many a scathing editorial. In this history he marries a different wife than in our history and has different children - one of whom, a daughter named Ophelia, appears in a sequel as a famous journalist herself.



  • The webcomic series Achewood features Mark Twain as a character in one of the strip's story arcs. This arc features a narrative written in an imitation of Mark Twain's style, as Twain journals his encounter with two of the strip's central characters, who time-traveled from the modern day to the late 19th century.[citation needed]

Postage stamps[edit]

  • On December 4, 1985, the United States Postal Service issued a stamped envelope for "Mark Twain and Halley's Comet", noting the connection with Twain's birth, his death, and the comet.[4][5]
  • On June 25, 2011, the Postal Service released a Forever stamp in his honor.[6]


Stage productions[edit]

  • Broadway, television & cinema actor Hal Holbrook has been performing his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! annually since 1959, with each show somewhat different in Twain content.


  • Three episodes of Bonanza are about Samuel Clemens publishing The Territorial Enterprise in Virginia City. They were "Enter Mark Twain", from October 10, 1959; "The Emperor Norton", from February 27, 1966, and "The Twenty-Sixth Grave", from October 31, 1972
  • The Histeria! episode "Super Writers" featured a sketch about Samuel Clements taking on the Mark Twain identity on suggestion from Chit Chatterson. Twain also appears in the same episode as a member of the Legion of Super Writers.
  • Late Show with David Letterman occasionally features a segment titled "Mark Twain Tonight", in which a man dressed as Mark Twain does a short comedy solo while sitting on a rocking chair.
  • The two-part Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, "Time's Arrow Pt. 1 & 2" (1992), features a fictionalized version of Mark Twain, played by Jerry Hardin, in which the crew of the starship Enterprise pursues malevolent alien life forms through a time portal to 1893 San Francisco, where their secretive actions arouse the suspicions of Samuel Clemens.


Awards in his name proliferate.

  • The Mark Twain Award is an award given annually to a book for children in grades four through eight by the Missouri Association of School Librarians.



In space[edit]



Several schools are named after him, including:


Many sites have been named after Twain. Many buildings associated with the writer, including some of his many homes, have been preserved as museums.

  • Mark Twain Cabin on Mark Twain Bret Hart Trail (erected by Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce in 1926), was a stopping place for packers carrying supplies to miners and the site where Twain wrote "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", from notes made at Angels Camp Tavern.
  • Mark Twain Family Cabin, believed to have belonged to Twain's father, John Marshall Clemens, and may have been where the author's older siblings were born and where Twain was conceived (the Clemens family moved to Missouri a few months before he was born). The cabin was originally located in the Possum Trot community in Fentress County, Tennessee, where John Clemens served as a postmaster and circuit court clerk. The cabin's chimney was added around 1905. The Museum of Appalachia purchased and moved the cabin to the museum in 1995.
  • Mark Twain House and Museum, the family home Samuel Langhorne Clemens (a.k.a. Mark Twain) had built in Hartford, Connecticut and where he and his wife Olivia ("Livy") raised their three daughters from 1874 to 1891, is preserved and open to visitors. In 1962, it was declared National Historic Landmark.
  • Mark Twain Memorial Bridge, the name for two bridges over the Mississippi River at Hannibal, Missouri, Twain's childhood home
  • Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse in Hannibal, Missouri; this only lighthouse built inland features a panoramic view of Hannibal and the Mississippi River


  1. ^ "The American Adventure: We the People: Hosts". Disney World Attractions at Epcot. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Webcomic featuring a zombified Mark Twain". Thinkin' Lincoln'. 
  4. ^ Scott Specialized Catalog of U.S. Stamps & Covers, various editions, catalogue number UC60, issued in Hannibal, MO
  5. ^ Dunn, John F. Dunn (November 24, 1985). "STAMPS; MARK TWAIN AND HALLEY'S COMET". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Allen Pierleoni (June 26, 2011). "Postal Service unveils a Forever stamp of Mark Twain". The Sacramento Bee. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Grand Master of Missouri Lecture". 
  8. ^ "Mark Twain Masonic Awareness Award: About The Award". [dead link]
  9. ^ The First Annual Mark Twain Young Authors Workshop. Stetson University.
  10. ^ "The Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum: Education". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  11. ^ "Mark Twain Bret Harte Historic Trail". 

See also[edit]