Monday, May 25, 2009

Did You Know?

When Mark Twain was a young man he traveled all across the United States. When he was in his mid-thirties he traveled to the West and witnessed the nation as it was growing and moving across the country. He tried out his hand at silver mining, he saw land speculation and he even set fire to a mountain. In the book he describes his encounter with a coyote in the wild. Twain devotes 5 pages to a description of this animal, saying the coyote is "always poor, out of luck and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spiritless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it."

His entire description of the coyote is so detailed, and so particular, that it's no surprise that it would at some point be turned into a cartoon character. And that's exactly what animator Chuck Jones did. The famous character Wile E. Coyote, from the Road Runner cartoons, comes from Mark Twain's description that Jones read when he was 7. Mark Twain's writing made such an impression on Jones that he would eventually turn it into the cartoon character that so many of us loved as children.


"Along about an hour after breakfast we saw the first prairie dog villages, the first antelope, and the first wolf. If I remember rightly, this latter was the regular coyote (pronounced ky-o-te) of the farther deserts. And if it was, he was not a pretty creature or respectable either, for I got well acquainted with his race afterward, and can speak with confidence." -Mark Twain

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Wine Tasting

The Mark Twain House & Museum cordially invites all of you to a glamorous evening of wine tasting, food sampling and music at 351 Farmington Avenue, Hartford, Connecticut. The evening will take place on Friday, May 29, 2009 from 5:30-8:30pm.

This will be an evening you won't want to miss out on! Hopefully to become an annual spring event, we've planned to have lots of goodies to sample and taste while you walk your way around the Mark Twain House Museum Center. Allan S. Goodman is our presenting sponsor, bringing 16-20 different kinds of wines for the tasting. Ann Howard at the Bond will be providing an array of hors d'oeuvres and Ascot Catering will be creating some wonderful antipasto plates for us. Cabot Creamery will be sampling their finest cheeses, and there will be Lindt Chocolate to compliment the wines.

Jazz piano will be playing throughout the evening by Skip Steiner, as well as a special performance by a Hartford based a cappella group, The Sweetest Key.

The Hartford Courant recently ran a wonderful article on the event with some interviews with Mark Twain House & Museum Chief Curator, Patti Philippon; as well as an interview with Kerry Driscoll, a Twain scholar who is chair of the English Department at St. Joseph College in West Hartford.

Reservations are highly recommended as the last similar event we had (Oktoberfest 2008) sold out!! Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. To make reservations call Caitlin Thayer at 860.280.3154.

Check out the event on Facebook!


"Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink-- under any circumstances." -Mark Twain

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Mark Twain in Popular Culture

There's been talk amongst some Mark Twain House staff lately about different shows and movies that Mark Twain appears in, so I thought I would share some of them with all of you!

In this episode the characters of Star Trek travel back in time and end up meeting Mark Twain! Whoopi Goldberg also plays a part in this episode. Each clip is roughly forty minutes in length. Twain makes an appearance halfway through part one, and continues on through part two.
Star Trek, "Time's Arrow Part I"
Star Trek, "Time's Arrow Part II"

A short, five minute clip from Bonanza, where Sam Clemens travels to Nevada and tries to get a job at a newspaper. A young Sam!
Bonanza, "Enter Mark Twain"

Actor Val Kilmer is in the middle of filming a movie (he plays Mark Twain) about the relationship between Mark Twain and Mary Baker Eddy (the discoverer of Christian Science). The film is still in the works, but a relative of mine who works at the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, MA told me that Kilmer calls the library frequently to ask a question pertaining to Eddy while still in Mark Twain character!
Val Kilmer's upcoming movie about Mark Twain and Mary Baker Eddy

Mark Twain makes a quick appearance in Sabrina the Teenage Witch when Sabrina needs the opinion of some famous authors on a newspaper article.
Sabrina the Teenage Witch

Twain is often quoted in TV and movies too! Share more movies that Mark Twain is in, or the shows that you know he has been quoted on!


"Everybody's private motto: It's better to be popular than right." -Mark Twain