Holbrook performs in Mark Twain's beloved NY town

FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2007 file photo, actor Hal Holbrook greets patrons in stage make-up following his one man performance of "Mark Twain Tonight" at the University of Texas at Tyler, Texas. His 56 years of one-man "Mark Twain Tonight!" shows hit a milestone in Elmira, N.Y. on Wednesday, April 21, 2010, the centenary of the author's death. At 85, though, the Emmy Award-winning actor isn't sure how long he'll continue his famous channeling act. (AP Photo/Dr. Scott M. Lieberman, File)

April 21, 2010 6:26:46 PM PDT
Hal Holbrook has performed on stage as Mark Twain far longer than Twain himself did.

His 56 years of one-man shows called "Mark Twain Tonight!" reached a milestone in Elmira, N.Y., on Wednesday, the centenary of the author's death.

The upstate city is where Twain wrote most of his best-known works, from his "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" masterpiece to "Life on the Mississippi," a memoir of his days as a steamboat pilot.

The Emmy Award-winning Holbrook has been gluing on a bushy mustache and pontificating in a gravelly twang since his first full-fledged Twain impersonation in 1954. The 85-year-old actor didn't need to pencil in wrinkles before the curtain went up Wednesday at a renovated vaudeville theater bearing the humorist's real name, Samuel L. Clemens.