Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Colt .45s; putting bad guys underground since 1873." -- Unknown

"Stay Strapped or Get Clapped." -- probably not Mr. Rogers

"Let’s eat all of these people!” — Venom

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Hal Holbrook

Hal Holbrook, the craftsman who reincarnated Mark Twain on stage and screen for more than six decades and also stood out as Abraham Lincoln and Deep Throat, two other American legends, has died. He was 95.

Normally, I don't comment on celebrity passings. I tend to be of the opinion that master plumber are more important than movie actors.

But I'm making an exception for Mr. Holbrook. I saw his one-man Mark Twain show a very long time ago. A nice touch was, when starting one of the acts, he puffed smoke from his cigar from behind the curtain at stage left. It got a laugh.

What reading that I've done of Mark Twain was because my interest was sparked by his portrayal. He was, to my mind, Mr. Twain. One of the pieces Mr. Holbrook did during the show was from "Advice to Youth":

Don't meddle with old unloaded firearms. They are the most deadly and unerring things that have ever been created by man. You don't have to take any pains at all with them; you don't have to have a rest, you don't have to have any sights on the gun, you don't have to take aim, even. No, you just pick out a relative and bang away, and you are sure to get him. A youth who can't hit a cathedral at thirty yards with a Gatling gun in three-quarters of an hour, can take up an old empty musket and bag his mother every time at a hundred. Think what Waterloo would have been if one of the armies had been boys armed with old rusty muskets supposed not to be loaded, and the other army had been composed of their female relations. The very thought of it makes me shudder.

I was able to use that to good effect in a legal case, which pissed the hell out of the other lawyer.

15 comments:

The New York Crank said...

"I didn't know the gun was loaded" has even been set to music. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vSfqR3Hyxc

Yours crankily,
The New York Crank

Ten Bears said...

Long a Clemens fan, I think I saw that show, not live though. I thought Holbrook was already gone, so ... in my mind's eye it was a better Clemens that Clemens' hundred years post-humous auto-biography. No so much the fan I was. Which is a bummer but it also is what it is.

Eck! said...

The wit and ire of Mark Twain was stuff of legends and good reading and watching.

There was a certain irascible character and careful use of the language of the
day. Never failed to amuse or enlighten. I've seen him live only once decades
ago but the local PBS station sometimes runs a few and they are worth my time.

As to court case... I'd have loved to be the fly.


Eck!

LRod said...

Saw him live at least three times. First was in college back in the '60s.

I've been a Twain fan all of my life. My favorite essay is "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses". Completely changed my views of Natty Bumpo.

LRod
ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

Stewart Dean said...

There's a lot of Holbrook on line. Here's him reading the War Prayer
https://youtu.be/BzGu69C2wqc?t=303

John Gall said...

He will be missed.

Glenn Kelley said...

Please do a post on the court case.

Comrade Misfit said...

Glenn, I wish that I could. But it was a juvie case.

Eck! said...

My favorite Twain,

"The silent colossal National Lie that is the support and confederate of
all the tyrannies and shams and inequalities and unfairnesses that afflict
the peoples—that is the one to throw bricks and sermons at."


History rhymes as well.

Eck!

Ten Bears said...

One of my nephews once shot himself in the knee... practicing his quick draw with an "unloaded" pistol. Was just a scratch, his greater good fortune in missing his foot.

Paul W said...

If I will remember Hal Holbrook it will be as Deep Throat, in all his sarcastic glory:

"The people behind all of this were frightened of Muskie and that's what got him destroyed. They wanted to run against McGovern. Look who they're running against. They bugged offices, they followed people, planted false press leaks, passed fake letters... they canceled Democratic campaign rallies, they investigated Democratic private lives, they planted spies, they stole documents... and now don't tell me that all of this was the work of one Donald Segretti!"

Paul W said...

You wanna be a fan of Mr. Twain? Read "On the Decay of the Art of Lying":

http://www.online-literature.com/twain/1320/

Comrade Misfit said...

Paul, I have that on my Kindle and reread it every few years.

Counter Jockey said...

Damn. I only know him as CDR Rotchefort.

Comrade Misfit said...

Counter Jockey, you’ve been missing out.

Fortunately, there’s YouTube.