Sunday, January 13, 2002

Things Twain didn't say

By John Kieswetter
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PASADENA, Calif. — Contrary to popular belief, Mark Twain never said he wanted to die in Cincinnati.

        Filmmaker Ken Burns told the Television Critics Association meeting here that he has “a list of the things he didn't say,” though they have been attributed to Twain and his alter ego, Samuel Clemens.

        Among them:

        • “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it's always 20 years behind the times.”

        • “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.”

        • “If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.”

        In 1991, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a list of sayings that the Mark Twain Project at the University of California (Berkeley) Bancroft Library could not locate in Twain's works.

        Actor Hal Holbrook, who has performed a one-man show as Twain for 48 years, isn't bothered by the remarks wrongly attributed to the author.

        “I think Mark Twain stole a great deal from other fellows, too,” Mr. Holbrook said.

        “I tend to use any good remark that I can find that is supposed to have been Mark Twain's — as long as it will get a laugh.”


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