Season 1, Episode 7 Mark Twain
First Aired: January 14, 2002
Part 1 of Burns' two-part 2001 biography of Mark Twain (1835-1910). He “used the way we talk and turned it into literature,” says Hal Holbrook, who has portrayed Twain in one-man shows. Burns supplements comments by Holbrook and 12 other interviewees with Twain readings (by Kevin Conway). Part 1 covers Samuel Clemens' early life on the Mississippi and concludes with the publication of “Huckleberry Finn.” It “put a face on black folks,” says Dick Gregory. Russell Banks calls it “our Homeric epic.” Keith David narrates.