Bringing home the (Kevin) Bacon to Mayberry

Now that Google has made playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” simple and instantaneous, I couldn’t resist checking out the Bacon numbers for

Andy Griffith

Don Knotts

Ron Howard

Frances Bavier

Jim Nabors

George Lindsey

Howard McNear

Aneta Corsaut



Ngram says: Opie, you’re still no Andy

More phrase-frequency charts from those bustling bibliophiles at Google Books Ngram Reader:

— Andy Griffith vs. Don Knotts and Ron Howard

— Moonshine vs. NASCAR

— Interstate 40 vs. Interstate 77, Interstate 85 and Interstate 95

— Moon Pie vs. sweet potato pie

— Piltdown Man vs. Marlboro Man

What? The sky wasn’t always Carolina blue?

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.

Detente achieved in Aunt Bee’s kitchen

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On this day in 1968: The all-time highest-rated episode of “The Andy Griffith Show” airs, during the last of the show’s eight prime-time seasons.

In “Barney Hosts a Summit Meeting,” former costar Don Knotts returns for a guest appearance as Barney Fife. Hoping to help his ex-deputy impress superiors at the Raleigh Police Department, Andy allows Barney to arrange an East-West summit at the Taylor household. The meeting fails miserably until an impromptu encounter in Aunt Bee’s kitchen saves the day.

The episode won Knotts a fifth Emmy for his portrayal of Fife (Griffith never won any for his Sheriff Taylor).

Pictured: Pinback button from the collection promoting reruns of “The Andy Griffith Show” on the TV Land cable network.