One Degree or Another
September 4, 2018
Today’s historical event really isn’t that much of an event but more an excuse to write about a topic which amuses this author. First of all happy 30th wedding anniversary to Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. They were married September 4, 1988. Unlike a great number of Hollywood marriages, their marriage has lasted three decades and, apparently, they’ve only ever been married to each other!
But as I said, that event is but an excuse to write about the cultural phenomenon known as the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.”
The genesis of the concept first appeared in 1996 when four Albright college students watched two movies one evening, both of which featured Kevin Bacon. No doubt, as these things go, the four probably had been consuming alcohol when they began speculating on the connections between Bacon and other actors.
Bacon himself said in an earlier interview, in January 1994 with Premiere magazine, that he “had worked with everybody in Hollywood or someone who’s worked with them.”
From the Infallible Wikipedia, here’s how it works:
“Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon is a parlor game based on the ‘six degrees of separation’ concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. Movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and prolific actor Kevin Bacon. It rests on the assumption that anyone involved in the Hollywood film industry can be linked through their film roles to Bacon within six steps. In 2007, Bacon started a charitable organization called SixDegrees.org.”
In the past 20 years, the concept has become a cultural phenomenon, and references to the game have been made in movies, books, TV and even a couple of parody songs. Despite his initial dislike of the game, Bacon himself has come to embrace it and, no doubt, it has been a benefit to his long career.
Also from the Infallible Wikipedia:
“In 2009, Bacon narrated a National Geographic Channel show ‘The Human Family Tree’ – a program which describes the efforts of that organization’s Genographic Project to establish the genetic interconnectedness of all humans. In 2011, James Franco made reference to Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon while hosting the 83rd Academy Awards. In the summer of 2012, Google began to offer the ability to find an actor’s Bacon number on its main page, by searching for the actor’s name preceded by the phrase ‘bacon number’. EE (UK internet provider) began a UK television advertising campaign on November 3, 2012, based on the Six Degrees concept, where Kevin Bacon illustrates his connections and draws attention to how the EE 4G network allows similar connectivity.”
To find any actor’s ‘Bacon Number’ you can go to this link: https://oracleofbacon.org/
Even those of us who are not actors and have never appeared in a movie with or without Kevin Bacon can, however, discern our ‘Bacon Number’.
I went to the link and then figured out ‘who’ I personally know who might have a connection. What I discovered: my Bacon number is Three.
How? I went to high school with Kyle MacLachlan (he spelled it McLachlan then) at Eisenhower HS in Yakima. Kyle, for those who do not know, starred as Special Agent Dale Cooper in the TV show Twin Peaks and also as Paul Atreides in the movie Dune. He’s had a decade’s long, solid acting career. His Bacon number is Two assigned as follows: He was in a Twin Peaks episode with James Marshall who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon.
Or, I can get to Kevin Bacon through my brother who had a minor walk on role in the movie The Secret Life of Archie’s Wife (1990) starring Michael Tucker. Michael Tucker was in Diner (1982) with Kevin Bacon. So via this connection I also get a Bacon number of three. Kevin (0) – Michael (1) –Peter (2) – Barb (3).
Now let the games begin… what is YOUR Bacon number?
And a couple of links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_Degrees_of_Kevin_Bacon (Yes, there really is a Wikipedia page JUST for this!)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Bacon (And one for the actor himself)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyle_MacLachlan (Yakima’s famous son has one too!)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Tucker_(actor) (As does Michael Tucker)
I plucked this historical photo of Kyle (right photo, wearing the all black outfit) from the pages of my high school annual (I was the Editor so I probably handled this photo and, possibly, either wrote or made changes to the caption) in one of his early roles acting. He would have been 16 in this photo.