Saturday, September 15, 2012

Figuring Coachella Valley's 'Bacon Number' - The Desert Sun

Google introduced a fresh take on the old Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon meme Friday when it launched the "Bacon Number" â€" a Google search “Easter egg” that allows the curious to type in almost any actor's name followed by the words "Bacon number" to quickly find out how close a given actor is to Bacon and how, specifically, they're connected.

“The notion of (the Bacon Number) is based on a pretty popular term among mathematicians and scientists, called the “Erdös Number,” Google’s Yossi Matias tells, referring to mathemetician Paul Erdös who is rumored to be linked to all mathemeticians to some degree.

"People are quite fascinated by these small-world phenomena.”

Bacon, of course, is the star of the original 1984 "Footloose" who went on to fame, fortune and meme-ness and, next, will star as a troubled cop in the new serial killer hunt drama, "The Following," slated to premiere mid-season on FOX.

Whether Google's new Bacon Number has anything to do with building buzz for the show isn't clear, but it does provide a quick and easy way to calculate the Bacon Number of the Coachella Valley's biggest stars of past and present. It turns out the valley's Bacon quotient is high.

Here's how our local glitterati stack up:

Alison Lohman: 1

The connection: This Palm Springs native appeared in "Where the Truth Lies" with Bacon.

William Devane: 1

The connection: Devane and Bacon co-starred in "Hollow Man."

Sonny Bono: 2

The connection: John Vernon, who co-starred with Bono in "Airplane II: The Sequel" and with Bacon in "National Lampoon's Animal House."

Cher: 2

The connection: Rhona Mitra, who worked with Cher in "Stuck on You" and Bacon in "Hollow Man."

Bryan Cranston: 2

The connection: Ryan Gosling, who acted with Cranston in "Drive" and Bacon in "Crazy, Stupid, Love." Cranston, who stars in AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” co-owns Palm Desert’s independent Palme D’Or movie theaters.

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Tyler Hilton: 2

The connection: Hilton co-starred in "Walk the Line" with Lucas Till, who also appeared opposite Bacon in "X-Men: First Class."

Jimmy Kimmel: 2

The connection: Kimmel, a one-time KCMJ radio personality, appeared opposite Fred Ward in "Road Trip." Ward came into contact with Bacon on the set of "Tremors."

Suzanne Somers: 2

The connection: Kathleen Quinlan, who appeared with Somers in "American Graffiti" and Bacon in "Apollo 13."

Hal Linden: 2

The connection: Linden and Kevin Costner teamed up on-screen in "Silverado." Bacon worked with Costner in Oliver Stone's "JFK."

Merv Griffin: 2

The connection: Roddy McDowall, who acted opposite Griffin in "Hello Down There" and Bacon in "The Big Picture."

Frank Sinatra: 2

The connection: Harry Bellaver, who shared the screen with Sinatra in "From Here to Eternity" and Bacon in "Hero at Large."

Bob Hope: 2

The connection: Hope and Tim Matheson starred in "How to Commit Marriage." Matheson also appeared with Bacon in "National Lampoon's Animal House."

Liberace: 2

The connection: Again, Roddy McDowall, who appeared with Liberace in "The Loved One" and Bacon in "The Big Picture."

Dean Martin: 2

The connection: Martin appeared with Bert Convy in "The Cannonball Run" and Convy later worked with Bacon in "Hero at Large."

Lucille Ball: 2

The connection: Again, Tim Matheson who co-starred in "Yours, Mine and Ours" with Ball and with Bacon in "National Lampoon's Animal House."

Desi Arnaz: 2

The connection: Arnaz, too, has his own connection to Bacon. He worked with actress Joan Hackett in "The Escape Artist" and Hackett went on to work with Bacon in "Only When I Laugh."

Dinah Shore: 3

The connection: Shore worked with Van Johnson in "Till the Clouds Roll By." Johnson then worked with Dianne Wiest in "The Purple Rose of Cairo." Finally, Wiest appeared with Bacon in "Footloose."

Gene Autry: 3

The connection: Autry appeared with Dorian Harewood in "America: A Call to Greatness." Harewood then worked with Lori Singer in "The Falcon and the Snowman" and â€" ding ding ding â€" Singer starred opposite Bacon in "Footloose."

Know of more Bacon connections to Palm Springs or the Coachella Valley? Send them to elizabeth.nelson@thedes

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