Charles Dickens on the Mississippi River


The Prairie Fire production team shot "Charles Dickens: The Mississippi" onboard the Mark Twain Riverboat based in Hannibal, MO. Actor Clark Cruikshank recruited talent from Hannibal's robust theater community to play passengers on board the boat who grow increasingly disgusted with Dickens' negative comments about the river.

"We thought, well what if Dickens' internal narration of his writings could actually be heard by other people? What would they think of such harsh observations? Of course, Dickens' doesn't realize this until he's nearly pushed off the boat by passengers who are just fed up with his ill-temper," says director Sarah Edwards.

Director of Photography Dan Clark,  Producer Taylor Plantan and Edwards adjusted the script and the locations for filming on the boat after they met the actors and got a sense of what was possible with changing light conditions, natural sound, and the boat's operational schedule.

"With a shoot like this on a working vessel, you always have to be flexible," says Plantan.  "But the staff, Riverboat customers, and actors were all very accomodating."

Visit to book your own tour of the Mississippi River on the Mark Twain Riverboat.

Read more of Charles Dickens' American Notes for General Circulation.



Alan Parker


Charles Dickens is brought to life by Alan Parker. Alan is Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois where he served as Professor of Neurology and Chief of Staff in Veterinary Clinical Medicine. During his career, Parker published more than 200 academic papers and traveled the world giving continuing education seminars.

He has been married for more than 50 years and has two children and six grandchildren. When he's not running "granddad's taxi service", Alan enjoys leading the Boy Scouts and traveling.