Mark Twain in popular culture

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Actor Jeffrey Weissman portraying Mark Twain in 2015

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]




  • 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.
  • Winston Churchill recounts being introduced by Mark Twain during his American lecture tour following the Boer War, and writes of making his friendship.[citation needed]
  • William Saroyan wrote a short story entitled Samuel L. Clemens in his 1971 book, Letters from 74 rue Taitbout or Don't Go But If You Must Say Hello To Everybody.
  • Clemens is a major character in Peter J. Heck's series of historical mysteries in which Clemens hires a travel secretary before leaving on a lecture tour, which provides a variety of settings (such as New Orleans and London) through the course of six books. The secretary, Wentworth Cabot, is the series' narrator as well as a prime player/suspect in each adventure. With Cabot, or to clear him, Clemens gets involved and uses detective skills, his intelligence and his insight into human nature to solve each mystery. The title of each volume is a spin on a work by Twain: Death on the Mississippi (1996), an homage to Life on the Mississippi; A Connecticut Yankee in Criminal Court (1997) for A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court; The Prince and the Prosecutor (1998) for The Prince and the Pauper; The Guilty Abroad (1999) for The Innocents Abroad; The Mysterious Strangler (2000) for The Mysterious Stranger; and Tom’s Lawyer (2001) for The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
  • Mark Twain appears in To Sail Beyond the Sunset (1987), part of Robert A. Heinlein's Lazarus Long cycle, as a family friend of the protagonist.
  • Sesh Heri's novel, Wonder of the Worlds 2005, depicts Twain joining Harry Houdini and Nikola Tesla on a journey to Mars in 1893.
  • 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 contemporary of Twain, 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 the alternate history novel How Few Remain (1997) as part of the Southern Victory Series by Harry Turtledove, in which one of the side-effects of the Confederacy's winning the American Civil War (known as the War of Succession in the series) in 1862 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 during the Second Mexican War from 1881-1882 with the United Kingdom and France siding with the Confederacy, 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]
  • Colonel Sassacre, a character heavily inspired by Mark Twain, appears in Andrew Hussie's webcomic Homestuck.[citation needed]
  • Another webcomic, Thinkin' Lincoln, features a zombified Mark Twain as a frequent character.[4]

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.[5][6]
  • On June 25, 2011, the Postal Service released a Forever stamp in his honor.[7]


Finney County Library, Kansas
  • A statue of Mark Twain stands in his native town of Hannibal, Missouri, and was erected in 1913, three years after his death.
  • A statue of Mark Twain, and another of his wife Olivia, stands at Elmira College. The college library also has a statue of Twain seated on a bench.
  • A seated state of Twain on a bench was installed outside of the Finney County Library in Garden City, Kansas

Stage productions[edit]

  • Actor Hal Holbrook has been performing his one-man show Mark Twain Tonight! annually since 1959, with each show presenting somewhat different 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.
  • An episode of The Super Mario Bros. Super Show!, titled "Rolling Down the River", had Mario and Luigi helping a caricature named Mark Twang win a riverboat race against Bowser.
  • He appears in the season 3 episode of The Venture Bros. titled "ORB" as an original member of The Guild alongside Col. Lloyd Venture, Fantomas, Aleister Crowley, Eugene Sandow, Nikola Tesla, Oscar Wilde and the Avon ladies.


Awards in his name proliferate.



In space[edit]



Several schools are named after him, including:


Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut

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


  1. ^ "The American Adventure: We the People: Hosts". Disney World Attractions at Epcot. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Robards, Jason; Shire, Talia; Thomson, R. H.; Reid, Fiona (1991-11-22), Mark Twain and Me, retrieved 2017-05-02 
  4. ^ "Webcomic featuring a zombified Mark Twain". Thinkin' Lincoln'. 
  5. ^ Scott Specialized Catalog of U.S. Stamps & Covers, various editions, catalogue number UC60, issued in Hannibal, MO
  6. ^ Dunn, John F. Dunn (November 24, 1985). "STAMPS; MARK TWAIN AND HALLEY'S COMET". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ Allen Pierleoni (June 26, 2011). "Postal Service unveils a Forever stamp of Mark Twain". The Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Grand Master of Missouri Lecture". 
  9. ^ "Mark Twain Masonic Awareness Award: About The Award". Archived from the original on October 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ The First Annual Mark Twain Young Authors Workshop. Stetson University.
  11. ^ "The Mark Twain Boyhood Home Museum: Education". Retrieved 2013-12-07. 
  12. ^ The Frog Jump.
  13. ^ "Mark Twain Bret Harte Historic Trail". 
  14. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.