Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Adventures of Mark Twain & The Mysterious Stranger

From around 1890 until his death in 1910, Mark Twain made numerous attempts at writing a story about morality and the failings of the human race. The first version to see print was titled The Mysterious Stranger, A Romance by Twain biographer Albert Bigelow Paine. After Paine's death, it was discovered that he had actually collapsed several of Twain's unpublished efforts into one, heavily re-editing and re-contextualizing the material. These other unpolished or unfinished variations include The Chronicle of Young Satan; No. 44, the Mysterious Stranger: Being an Ancient Tale Found in a Jug and Freely Translated from the Jug; and Schoolhouse Hill, the latter involving Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer. Several film versions of these projects have come into being, including Will Vinton's 1985 stop motion The Adventures of Mark Twain, also called Comet Quest. The above is a clip from the claymation effort, in which Twain, Huckleberry, Sawyer and Becky Thatcher meet Satan. When it aired on cable-TV's The Disney Channel, this sequence was excised.

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