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Plymouth native achieves ‘climax of sensation!’

“As we walked home one night, in need of a culminating incident in [his 1867 play ‘Under the Gaslight’], my brother said, ‘I have got the sensation we want — a man fastened to a railroad track and rescued just as the train reaches the spot!’

“On the first night the audience was breathless….It became the town talk. The houses were thronged. An old theatre-goer who stood up in rear of the crowded seats turned to those about him after a long-drawn breath and said, ‘It is the climax of sensation!’ So it was, and so has remained.”

-- From “The Life of Augustin Daly” (1917)  by Joseph Francis Daly. John Augustin Daly, born in Plymouth in  1838, had a long and fruitful career writing and producing plays — the tied-to-the-tracks device was only the most visceral of his creations. Taking a troupe on a Southern tour in 1878, Daly wrote his brother

“To-night we are in Raleigh — a city without a paved street, & yet  an extensive and important-looking place. At any rate its citizens have turned out to-night en masse, headed by the Governor (not that Governor of North Carolina who made the historical remark to the Governor of South Carolina) but Governor Vance, to whom I was introduced & whom I escorted to a box amid the enthusiastic approbation  of the entire audience. Everybody seems to know I’m a native & they welcome me as a brother….”