|[The review of MT and Cable's February 11 performance in Oberlin is the third article below, after the two publicity notices. The reviewer says the audience was "unanimously" satisfied, but the exchange of articles and letters that follow it tell a different story: despite the reduced ticket prices, at least one person felt as "Sold!" by the event as that Bricksville audience felt about the King and Duke's "Royal Nonesuch" in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The various responses expressed here remind us both that no single reviewer can represent an entire audience, and that as a traveling humorist MT was judged by a complicated set of expectations.]|
The Oberlin (Ohio) Weekly News|
1885: February 6
--We are glad to see that the U. L. A. has secured Twain and Cable for next Wednesday evening. The great place these two men occupy in the literary world is well known. No humorist has ever lived who gained the popularity of Mark Twain. The readers of the Century Magazine have long admired the genius of the distinguished Southern novelist, Geo. W. Cable. From the press notices, which we have seen from all the large cities where they have lately appeared, we judge that Twain and Cable as readers of their own works have been the great success of the last decade on the American platform. The tickets are 50 cents, 75 cents and $1.00. Every one should secure tickets early, as there is sure to be a great rush.
Why at the First Church, Wednesday evening, at 7 o'clock. You will also meet the celebrated Geo. W. Cable, the greatest living writer of fiction. Don't let any thing keep you away. At other places where Twain and Cable have been, they put the tickets at $1.50. Here you can get them for 50 cents, 75 cents and $1.00. For sale at Goodrich's after 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Oberlin (Ohio) Weekly News
--The Twain and Cable entertainment given on Wednesday evening, Feb. 11, under the auspices of the U. L. A., was the most enjoyable which we have had here for several years. Twain fully met the expectations of his many admiring readers, adding the peculiar force of his recitations to the unlimited humor of his own compositions. Cable, though not as universally known to the audience as Twain, was received with high expectations. He proved himself the peer of his companion in the humorous, while he excelled in the pathetic at which Twain made no attempt. Cable's elocutionary ability is of the first rank; his rendition of "Mary's Ride" was an excellent model recitation. The audience was unanimous in the expression of satisfaction, while T. & C. were equally well pleased with the appreciation shown by the audience. In spite of the extreme cold, the entertainment netted a handsome profit for U. L. A.
The Oberlin Weekly News|
1885: February 20
--We believe it is generally conceded that people's tastes differ. We have in another column a communication which is rather severe on the Twain and Cable entertainment, and as an offset to it, and in illustration of the fact stated above, we clip the following from the College correspondence in the Cincinnati Commercial Gazette of the 16th:
"Mark Twain and George W. Cable gave the best entertainment of the year last Wednesday evening."
EDITOR NEWS:--I do not write this piece because I am sorry I went to hear Twain and Cable, nor because I grudge the money I paid for the privilege of hearing them. On the contrary I am glad I heard them.
But I do like to see honesty displayed, especially by such men as compose the U. L. A. society.
And now that they and the people of this city have been so thoroughly humbugged, why not frankly own up? and so, possibly, save other societies and communities the mortification of being so completely swindled? No doubt there are but few persons who do not admire the writings of Mark Twain; but, as a lecturer or speaker, I believe that at least four-fifths of the people who heard him the night he was at Oberlin will agree with me in saying he is not a success. And Mr. Cable, as an elocutionist, is, in my estimation, still less a success. I should, probably, like hundreds of others, have held my peace about these lecturers, had I not seen the commendatory mention of them in the local columns of the last week's NEWS, which I do not believe expresses the mind of the large and intelligent audience they undertook to entertain.
I like to laugh, and no one enjoys a good laugh more than I do, but I'm provoked to think that so many of us laughed when there was really nothing to laugh at. M. V. R.
The Oberlin Weekly News|
1885: February 27
--We went to hear the Twain-Cable reading at Oberlin last Wednesday. It was a rich harvest of fun and sentiment. Mark Twain is a genius; the dryest and shrewdest mirth-provoking fun maker in the world. Cable excels in finely finished sentences and beautiful word pictures, very gems of thought sparkling in the sunshine of humor. Twain is a droll fun maker who pries into extravagance for his subjects. Cable paints the face of nature in true colors.--[Elyria Constitution.
A full house greeted the entertainment given by Mark Twain and Geo. W. Cable. The audience were drawn there by the fact that they all knew Twain and Cable by their works and that the hearing them read their own works would add a new interest to their own future reading. The most of the audience had been readers of the religious and secular papers in which correspondents from the various large cities had described the impression which Twain and Cable had made upon them and the audiences in general. They knew that they were going to an entertainment which had been most highly appreciated in the most highly cultured circles of our country. With their expectations thus raised, the audience gathered, and never did an Oberlin audience express a heartier enjoyment. They found that the inimitable stories of Mark Twain received a new charm when told from his lips. A charm all the greater because he told them as no other man ever did. His manner was as much his own as was the decided nose on his face.
They found Mr. Cable to be abundantly able to translate his own characters. I say the audience went with these expectations and reached these conclusions. By this of course I mean the greater portion of the audience. That all did not reach the same conclusion was not to have been wondered at. Anything can be found fault with. Doubtless when the Angel Gabriel blows his trumpet, there will be some anonymous correspondent who will say that it didn't sound half so loud as he had been led to suppose it would. But we would like to ask whether it would be better judgment for one who does not thus agree with the great mass of the cultivated people of this place and of our large cities, to reflect before he decries as fools those who thus appreciated the "Twain Cable Humbug." Is it not possible that the poor people in Boston who packed the largest theater night after night to see this same "humbug," were possessed of a share of common sense if not of literary ability?
The U. L. A., for its part, feels that it never did so well as when it secured this entertainment. The U. L. A. of next year will be advised to secure it if possible. If the entertainment were to be secured over again, the officers of the U. L. A. would feel all the more satisfaction in what they had to offer to the public. This is the only "honest" statement we can make and now, standing in a position where we were more liable to hear criticisms than any one else, we have cheerfully, in behalf of the U. L. A., made our humble confession of how we were "taken in."
Corresponding Secretary U. L. A.