My first job was a produce clerk at a grocery store. The job was mindless but it gave me the money I needed to pay for all the things that teenagers do. The position also sparked my love of useless Hollywood trivia.
My coworkers were a few years older than me and were in the local university fraternity. A new game was circling parties called the Kevin Bacon Game. Since Bacon claimed that he worked with everyone in Hollywood, he was used as the nucleus for this game. It’s a simple game that requires no props or game pieces at all…just lots of worthless knowledge and the ability to count to 6. It is the perfect game to play while you’re unconsciously rotating the nine varieties of apples.
The game is played by choosing an actor and linking that person to Kevin Bacon in 6 steps or less—the less the better. Let me demonstrate. If you want to link Michael Kitchen, who not only played Christopher Foyle in Foyle’s War but also portrayed David West in Mobile, you could link to Bacon with 1 degree:
• Michael Kitchen was in Proof of Life with
• Margo Martindale who was in Rails and Ties with
• Kevin Bacon
Even an “actress” like Miley Cyrus can be linked to Kevin Bacon by 2 degrees:
• Miley Cyrus voiced a character in Bolt with
• John Travolta who was in The Thin Red Line with
• Sean Penn who was in Mystic River with
• Kevin Bacon
The Academy Awards buzz always reminds me of the endless actors that I have linked to Mr. Bacon across the herbs aisle. In fact, out of the 20 actors and actresses that are nominated for a leading or supporting role 9 have worked directly with Bacon and the other 11 can be linked to Bacon with 2 degrees. Go ahead, test me, I dare you! It’s incredibly addicting!
In the meantime, let me suggest our collection to you with the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon:
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (0 degrees)
Brad Pitt (nominated for Benjamin Button) was in Sleepers with Kevin Bacon.
Read the graphic adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story that inspired the epic film. Button’s life unfolds backward as he begins life as an old man, and ends life as an infant. This version of the story is not as romantic as the film, but well worth the quick read.
Sean Penn by Richard T. Kelly (0 degrees)
Sean Penn (nominated for Harvey Milk) was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon.
A juicy bio about the “best actor of his generation” is perfect to see the Kevin Bacon Game in action. Read about Penn’s turbulent marriage to Madonna, his form of method acting he began perfecting at age fourteen, and all the actors you can use to play the game…Jack Nicholson, Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Susan Sarandon…the possibilities are endless!
The Reader by Bernard Schlink (1 degree)
Kate Winslet (nominated for Hanna Schmitz in The Reader) was in Little Children with Will Lyman who was in Mystic River with Kevin Bacon.
The inappropriate relationship between a 15-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman is how this story begins. Years later the two are reunited in the courtroom…but not for what you may think!
Wall-E (1 degree)
Sigourney Weaver (voiced the Ship’s computer in the nominated Animation Feature Film) was in The TV Set with Kathryn Joosten who was in Rails and Ties with Kevin Bacon.
A romantic comedy for the whole family about Wall-E, the last robot on earth…until E.V.E. (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator) comes from outer space.
The Big Show: High Times and Dirty Dealings Backstage at the Academy Awards by Steve Pond (0-2 degrees)
Enjoy little known anecdotes about stars such as Julia Roberts (stared with Kevin Bacon in Flatliners), Billy Crystal (who was in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle with David Alan Grier who was in The Woodsman with Kevin Bacon), and Russell Crowe (who was in Mystery, Alaska with Maury Chaykin who was in Where the Truth Lies with Kevin Bacon) by the entertainment journalist who chronicles the Academy Awards during the 80s and 90s.
Kung Fu Panda (3 degrees)
Angelina Jolie (voiced Tigress for the nominated Animation Feature Film and is nominated for Christine Collins in the Changeling) was in Kung Fu Panda with Jack Black (voiced Po for the nominated Animation Feature Film) who was in Tropic Thunder with Robert Downey Jr. (nominated for Kirk Lazarus) who was in Chaplin with Marisa Tomei (nominated for Cassidy in The Wrestler) who was in Loverboy with Kevin Bacon.
Ok, now I’m just showing off!
Lisa Shaia is the children’s librarian who once worked at a grocery store in Bethel, CT where Peggy Hyra (a.k.a. Meg Ryan) worked briefly before she was crowned Prom Queen, who was in Top Gun with Tom Cruise, who was in A Few Good Men with Kevin Bacon. She will be driving her husband nuts during the Academy Awards this Sunday rattling off the various degrees of separation.