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In The News – The Ghost of Mark Twain takes a final bow: McAvoy Layne’s final performance is set for Piper’s Opera House on Sept. 30

September 19, 2023 | Member Submitted

Originally Published in The Reno News and Review 9/13/2023, Written by John Barrette

McAvoy Layne points to a large photograph on his living room wall to illustrate a story about his son’s view of his dad’s 35-year career as the Ghost of Mark Twain.

Years ago, Layne presented his son, a San Francisco 49ers fan, with a note from Jerry Rice, the team’s star wide receiver. The slip of paper had been inserted beneath the glass of a large photo of 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. The younger Layne showed off the keepsake to a friend, who studied the photo above it and asked if the bearded man was Rice. “No, that’s Frederick Douglass,” his son replied. “He’s dead. All my dad’s heroes are dead.”

The scores of portraits that peer from the walls of Layne’s Incline Village home confirm that he does have a close connection to the 19th century. Some photos and artwork portray members of Mark Twain’s family and other contemporaries—but most of the portraits are of Twain, never smiling, captured with cameras and artists’ brushes throughout his life.


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