I had the pleasure of seeing Hal’s Twain show twice: about 25 years ago at the historic Bridges Auditorium at the Claremont Colleges and then again few years ago at the historic and refurbished Fox Theater in Riverside, CA.
Hal invited me backstage during that show where I asked him his opinion about Twain’s reluctance to speak about his surfing attempt in the Sandwich Islands. I was finishing up a section I wrote about Twain for my epic (1550 page) study of surfing history and culture, San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach. Hal was puzzled too, as was everyone on this forum who responded to my request for feedback. Other than Twain’s mention of surfing in Roughing It, he rarely mentioned the experience. Perhaps as more small town newspapers around the country digitize their archive, other instances of him mentioning surfing during his lectures will surface.
I’ll always fondly remember my short visit with Hal backstage, his gentleness and generosity to share his time with me. In terms of one-man shows, the best I ever saw were his Twain performances and James Whitmore’s Will Rogers show that I had the pleasure of seeing at the newly restored and grand re-opening of the California Theater in San Bernardino, CA. Ironically, Will Rogers made his last performance there before his fateful flight. Both Holbrook and Whitmore stand alone in their long-running one-man shows of two American icons.
David Matuszak, author
San Onofre: Memories of a Legendary Surfing Beach
Pacific Sunset Publishing
30320 Live Oak Canyon Rd.
Redlands, CA 92373-0668
> On Feb 2, 2021, at 6:10 AM, L Oggel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Thanks, John. Sorry to have this news. We all met him, more than once at
> Elmira conferences.
> On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 8:45 AM John R. Pascal <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Thank God six classes of The Writings of Mark Twain got to know him. One
>> class got to meet him.
>> Future classes will continue to study and appreciate him.
>> John R. Pascal, M.B.A., M.A.
>> Teacher of 9th, 11th Grade English Honors, & The Writings of Mark Twain
>> Seton Hall Preparatory School
>> Contributing Author to Mark Twain and Youth