Remember the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon game? It sprung up ages ago — in 1994, according to Wikipedia — in response to the actor’s comment, in an interview, that he’d worked with everyone in Hollywood, or at least worked with everyone who’d worked with everyone in Hollywood, or something like that. A spin on the “six degrees of separation” theory (that everyone is only six links away from everyone else), it’s a way of finding the shortest path between any arbitrary actor and Mr. Bacon, whose “Bacon number” is 0. Somebody who has worked with Bacon — oh, let’s say Tim Robbins in “Mystic River,” — has a Bacon number of 1. Somebody who has worked with somebody who has worked with Bacon — oh, let’s say Marion Cotillard, who worked with Ellen Page in “Inception,” who worked with Bacon on “Super” — has a Bacon number of 2. And so forth. This is news this week, because Google has quietly added a fun little Bacon calculator to its search engine. You just type in the words “bacon number” followed by any actors name, using no quotes, like this:
bacon number randee heller
(Ms. Heller played Miss Blankenship on “Mad Men,” and popped into my mind for some reason. Because she’s funny, I guess, and because I had no idea how she’d be connected to Kevin Bacon.)
And you get back this:
Randee Heller’s Bacon number is 2
Randee Heller and Elisabeth Shue appeared in The Karate Kid
Elisabeth Shue and Kevin Bacon appeared in Hollow Man
I cannot possibly begin to explain why this is fun, but it is. (Maybe because there’s something irresistible about the phrase “Bacon number.”) By the way, though I am not an actor and therefore not in the database, my own personal Bacon number stands at 1.5. (I’ve interviewed Bacon, but it was over the phone so I’m not sure that counts as direct contact. But it should count for something. And I’ve interviewed, in person, many actors who’ve worked with him; most recently Laura Linney, who was in “Mystic River.”) Anyway, have at it.