If you look to Wikipedia, there’s some evidence that the idea of a “Six Degrees of Separation” game focused solely on Kevin Bacon came about sometime around 1994, shortly after he mentioned in an interview that he’d worked with most everyone in Hollywood. Ever since, the film geek game of trying to connect any given actor with Kevin Bacon has provided countless hours of lightly drunken entertainment.
Well now Google has ruined all that.
It’s not just that Google did the ultra-cute thing of allowing some programmer on their 20% time to load in a Six Degrees Of Kevin Bacon algorithm into the big G’s search function. The game has not been ruined merely because the search engine now plays the game for you. It’s ruined because Google has revealed the grand secret of “how quickly can you connect Kevin Bacon to another actor?”
Two. It’s always two.
Here’s how it works:
Simply type “[Actor’s Name] Bacon Number” and hit Enter. Assuming you’ve included a valid actor that Google can comb on IMDB, you’ll get a big bold result that tells you how and how quickly that actor can be connected to Kevin Bacon. The answer will almost invariably be two. Obviously typing in a name of an actor that you know has acted with Bacon will result in a one, and typing in Bacon’s name itself will result in a cheeky zero. You can get a littler farther with foreign actors, but even then you’re lucky to get above a 3. Even Theodore Roosevelt has a Bacon Number of 3!
It’s worth pointing out that OracleOfBacon.org has long has a system for running just such a search (and it’s more customizable with other actors), but when a monolith like Google makes it so easy for the masses, I think we can say the game is well and fully ruined.
Thanks go to Howard Barr II and Richard Dickson for pointing this out on Facebook, and to Peter Lin for pointing out that there’s at least the one name below that will get you a high result. Andrew Molinaro pointed out the Oracle resource, while Trevor La Play, Raina Bloom, Joshua Fein, Ari Strozenberg, Sebastian O’Brien, Sara Ostgarden, Zachary Walker, Nicole Mick Dirks, Timothy Carr, and Sheila Burns Slusher all contributed valuable Bacon Number research.