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Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon returns with Google's Bacon Number

September 14, 2012|By Patrick Kevin Day
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles…)

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was a short-lived fad from the late 1990s which sprang from the notion that anyone in Hollywood was no more than six steps removed from sharing a credit with actor Kevin Bacon. The creators of the game, college buddies Craig Fass, Brian Turtle and Mike Ginelli, had their moment of fame, promoted the game and it thrived for a bit before fading into obscurity.

Until now.

Just as Bacon is set to reinvent himself as a TV star in Fox's upcoming thriller series "The Following," the game that bears his name has been reinvented by Google as a fun little Easter egg on its search pages.

The way you find it is simple. Type "bacon number" (no quotes) into Google's search bar, followed by the name of an actor or actress. The results will give you that performer's Bacon Number. (Bill Murray's Bacon Number, for instance, is 1 since he appeared with Bacon in "Wild Things." Angus Scrimm has a Bacon Number of 2 since the Tall Man appeared with Howard Hesseman in "Munchie Strikes Back," who appeared with Bacon in "Mister Roberts.")

Bacon's filmography is so extensive and varied and he's appeared in so many ensemble films that his name connections in Hollywood are easy to identify.

On Thursday, Bacon himself tweeted his own Bacon Number, writing "What am I ... zero!" Followed shortly thereafter with "I guess in my heart of hearts I kinda knew I was a ZERO."

Some non-actors have been assigned numbers as well, including President Obama, whose Bacon Number is 2 (thanks to Tom Hanks).

Though be warned that not just any actor or actress will do. Your high school friend who appeared on one episode of "Law & Order" will not have an assigned Bacon Number. That's because, according to a report in New York magazine, the Bacon Number doesn't use IMDB. Instead, it draws its data from Google's Knowledge Graph.

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Join Patrick Kevin Day on Google+ or Twitter. Email: patrick.day@latimes.com

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