The Trouble Begins at Eight
A four-part documentary series by Justin Gregory on American author Mark Twain’s 1895 lecture tour of New Zealand. Featuring K.C. Kelly as Mark Twain.
12:01 Mark Twain braved sinking ships, angry dogs and rabid reviewers to bring his lucrative lecture tour to New Zealand. But neither the funny man's reasons for coming nor his time here were much of a laughing matter. Why did the supposedly wealthy writer of Huckleberry Finn have to travel so far from home to make a buck?
12:02 The tyranny of distance didn't stop American writer Mark Twain from visiting New Zealand in 1895. He had lectured to packed houses all over the world, but only here were dogs allowed to attend. And some of what passed for hospitality in this country very nearly prevented him from ever leaving again.
12:03 Not knowing what he was talking about never stopped Mark Twain. He opened fire on racism and sexism wherever he thought he found it. It's fair to say that while he was here in New Zealand, he had plenty to say about us. And some of it was even true.
12:04 For Mark Twain, talking wasn't just a pleasure; it was a moral imperative, and a necessary financial boon. He was, of course, a renowned wit and raconteur. But it' s what he didn't say about New Zealand that got us all hot under the collar.