“During the Depression, my [physician] father went back to Boone, and I lived for four years of my early life in Boone…. The other plays are OK, at their best, but the pitch of the voices… in my Appalachian plays… is a little sharper because I heard that when I was a child.”
— Playwright Romulus Linney, recalling for an interviewer in 2002 one of his many North Carolina influences. Romulus Zachariah Linney IV’s great-grandfather was a Taylorsville lawyer and three-term Congressman.
Linney died Saturday at age 80, prolific and widely respected though never having achieved the fame of an August Wilson or a Horton Foote (or of Laura, his actress daughter).
Those industrious elves at Google Books Ngram Viewer must never sleep! Here are their latest offerings for North Carolinians’ provocation and speculation:
— Carolina blue was adopted on campus about 1800, but the rest of the world seems to have taken a while to catch on.
— Jimmie Johnson vs. Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon. Maybe if he wins six consecutive championships….
— Great Dismal Swamp vs. Okefenokee Swamp. The 1980s spike coincides with an environmental conflict over the Okefenokee.
— chitterlings vs. chitlins. Of course, when the Ngram measures not American usage but British….
— Don Knotts vs. Barney Fife surprised me — but now that the actor is dead, the immortal deputy is closing fast.