HANNIBAL, Mo. -- It is 9:30 on a steamy Sunday morning in this quiet burg along the great brown Mississippi. Few people are out yet. But I see Mark Twain, in his famous cream-colored suit, climb out of his Honda Accord, rummage in the back seat for something, and cross the street.
When he sees me taking his picture, he strolls over. I compliment him on his attire.
"Clothes make the man," he explains. "Naked people have little or no influence on society."
There must be more Mark Twain imitators per square mile here than Elvis Presley impersonators in Las Vegas.
Hannibal, after all, is a special place, the epicenter of American literary genius, the drowsy town that nurtured Samuel Langhorne Clemens. (His pen name, Mark Twain, was drawn from terminology used to measure the river's depth.)