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Running the (Bacon) Numbers

The following article from Metro News is a good review of a new function with Google. I especially am entertained by the use of lowercase g in the verb google.

Google has built into its search engine the game movie buffs everywhere love to play: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

To find out how many degrees of separation there are between the Footloose star and another actor, simply type the words “Bacon number” followed by the name of the actor.

For instance, if you google “Bacon number Johnny Depp” you’ll be told that “Johnny Depp’s Bacon number is 2.” That’s because Depp and Helena Bonham Carter appeared in Dark Shadows*. And Carter appeared with Bacon in Novocaine.

 

The game is a spin on the theory of six degrees of separation, which is the idea that anyone on the planet can be connected to another person through a chain of acquaintances in six associations or less.

The connection to Bacon first surfaced around January 1994, when the actor was doing an interview with Premiere magazine about the film The River Wild, during which he said he had worked with everybody in Hollywood or someone who’s worked with them.

In early 1994, four Albright College students – Craig Fass, Christian Gardner, Brian Turtle, and Mike Ginelli – came up with the idea of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. It quickly made the rounds of college campuses and was embraced by cinephiles everywhere.

A book, trivia game and various websites surfaced and in 2007, Bacon began the charitable organization named SixDegrees.org.

Bacon’s reach extends far beyond Hollywood.

Canadian actress Sarah Polley’s Bacon number is 2*. She and Tim Robbins appeared in The Secret Life of Words, and he then appeared with Bacon in Mystic River.

German actress Franka Potente’s Bacon number is 2. She and Demetri Goritsas appeared in The Bourne Identity, and Goritsas appeared with Bacon in X-Men: First Class.

Portuguese actor Joaquim de Almeida also has a Bacon number of 2. He and Jennifer Lawrence appeared in The Burning Plain. And she too went on to appear with Bacon in X-Men: First Class.

Even a long-deceased actor such as James Dean has a Bacon number of 3.

Dean and Dennis Hopper appeared in Rebel Without a Cause, Hopper and Chris Penn appeared in True Romance, then Penn and Bacon appeared in Footloose.

* And Sweeney Todd.

** Truro, Nova Scotia actress (and MLA) Lenore Zann also has a score of 2.