Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Renovating the wheel

idea: add, search, annotate, link, view, overview, recent, by name, random

meta: news, help, about, links, report a problem

account: browse anonymously, or get an account and write.



"Kevin Bacon"/Kevin Bacon

Kevin Bacon number for drama docs and the like
  (+4, -1)
(+4, -1)
  [vote for,

Real people are often portrayed in films, and are naturally often well-known. The actors who portray these people sometimes appear in films with Kevin Bacon, or appear in films with actors who appear with Kevin Bacon, but this may also be true of the characters. For instance, David Frost may know Kevin Bacon and Michael Sheen has appeared in a film with Kevin Bacon. Similarly, John Malkovitch has appeared in "Being John Malkovitch" as a character and therefore has equal "Kevin Bacon" and Kevin Bacon numbers. Divide one by the other and you get unity. However, that also means the fictional characters in "Being John Malkovitch" have "Kevin Bacon" numbers as well as the actors having Kevin Bacon numbers. The result of one divided by another could be used as a measure of something or other, possibly the realism of the film.

Many actors would have infinite values here, but some would have lower ones. Charles Dickens would be an interesting one, for example. On that subject, what are the "Kevin Bacon"/Kevin Bacon numbers of Tom Baker and Leonard Nimoy?

nineteenthly, Jan 20 2010

Erdös number http://en.wikipedia...i/Erd%C5%91s_number
A number showing how closely linked you are to Paul Erdös, based on collaborative authorship of scientific papers. [hippo, Jan 21 2010]

Erdös-Bacon number http://en.wikipedia...2%80%93Bacon_number
Some people have finite Bacon and Erdös numbers. The combined number is called the Erdös-Bacon number. Erdös himself has a Erdös-Bacon number of 3; Natalie Portman has an Erdös-Bacon number of 6. [hippo, Jan 21 2010]


       //Similarly, John Malkovitch has appeared in "Being John Malkovitch" as a character and therefore has equal "Kevin Bacon" and Kevin Bacon numbers.   

       Is the numerator how many times removed a character is from a Kevin Bacon film as opposed to an actor (with the links being characters and/or actors)?
leinypoo13, Jan 20 2010

       In "Apollo 13", Kevin Bacon appeared with Tom Hanks playing Jim Lovell, and Jim Lovell playing the Iwo Jima captain. How does that work out?
tatterdemalion, Jan 20 2010

       I'd also point out there's a scene in "Being John Malkovitch" where John Malkovitch plays all the other people as well as himself. Does that push it into over-unity?
phoenix, Jan 20 2010

       I've not made it clear which is the numerator. The quotes indicate the numerator, the lack the denominator. And there are problems like those you mention, [tatterdemalion]. Maybe the "Kevin Bacon" "number" is a set of integers rather than just one that can be manipulated in various ways. For instance, there could be a modal, a mean and a median "Kevin Bacon" number.   

       Being John Malkovitch is particularly problematic in this respect. Presumably it means that John Malkovitch has a "Kevin Bacon" number of zero, something he shares with the Master as of last Doctor Who.   

       In fact, are there other people with a "Kevin Bacon" number of zero? Would it include John Simm?
nineteenthly, Jan 20 2010

       And what about Paul Erdös?
hippo, Jan 20 2010

       Well, [hippo], he appears to have played himself in his film, is that relevant? (I'm struggling with the entire subject here. I appeared in my parents' home videos, does that give me a number?)
pocmloc, Jan 20 2010

       // I'm struggling with the entire subject here. // As am I. Any illusion of understanding is just that. I confess I attempted to find an example that would render the idea totally impenetrable.
tatterdemalion, Jan 20 2010

       Tippi Hedren
blissmiss, Jan 20 2010

       I know what a kevin bacon number is, but I'm lost here.
bnip, Jan 21 2010

       Edit: didn't expect an anti-Hungarian bias in the user interface.   

       I think we may have established that John Malkovitch has an Erdős number of zero in "Being John Malkovitch", if it was set before his death, but he has an infinite "Erdős" number. Ah, but does he have a Gepetto number? Or was that that other bloke? But i also want to know if Erdős is alive in the Whoniverse, because if he is, the Master also has an Erdős number of zero. I want to prevail upon Stephen Moffat to write a Doctor Who episode which establishes Erdős still being alive as canonical. However, the question that occurs to me now is, given that we don't know if Erdős is still alive in the Whoniverse, or in fact whether Kevin Bacon exists, what's the ontological status of the Erdős, Bacon and other numbers there? What would the Logopolitans do (bracelet)?   

       One thing's almost for sure: Every character in the Whoniverse and the Star Trek universe can have a "Kevin Bacon" number, but is there a specific person who can serve as a link? Is it the same person in both cases?   

       Anyone know if Kevin Bacon has been in 'The Simpsons'?
nineteenthly, Jan 21 2010

       Links added for Erdös number and Erdös-Bacon number.
hippo, Jan 21 2010

       Go on, [hippo], admit it. You're drawing that umlaut on with a biro, aren't you?
nineteenthly, Jan 21 2010

       You're trying to do the character "o" with a double acute accent (which is correct, but it shows up as ő). I'm cheating and using an umlaut instead.
hippo, Jan 21 2010

       Yes indeed, i'm trying to be hypercorrect. I can't help thinking the Hungarians miss out somehow by having those accents. Even Greek can be accommodated, but not Hungarian.
nineteenthly, Jan 21 2010

       What's the difference between a bacon number and a "bacon" number? I'm having very basic confusion here.
bnip, Jan 21 2010

       A Bacon number is the number of degrees of separation between an actor and Kevin Bacon. A "Bacon" number is the number of degrees of separation between a real person depicted in a film and that real person and the real Kevin Bacon. So, in 'Frost/Nixon', Charlie Sheen's Bacon number is one because he is in a film with Kevin Bacon. He plays David Frost. Now, David Frost has probably interviewed the real Kevin Bacon at some point or if not, he may know him. That gives David Frost a "Bacon" number of one. Therefore, if that's true, David Frost as played by Charlie Sheen in Frost/Nixon has a "Bacon"/Bacon number of one divided by one, or in other words one. It also means that some real people have a "Bacon" number, for instance Bernard Levin has a "Bacon" number of two even though he's a real person because he was in That Was The Week That Was with David Frost, who has a "Bacon" number of one because of Frost/Nixon.   

       Other layers of complexity are added by the fact that the same actor could play different real characters in different films.   

       I've also just realised that JFK (which i've never seen) complicates things further, because it seems that the character Willie O'Keefe is a composite of several real people. So, do each of them have the same "Bacon" number or do you perform some other kind of mathematical operation on them to arrive at their "Bacon" number? If you divided it, that would mean composite characters were further away than their real counterparts, but if you multiplied them, in this case you'd be trying to multiply zero, so what do you do?   

       Does that help, [bnip]?
nineteenthly, Jan 21 2010

       What number would Alfred Hitchcock get?
DenholmRicshaw, Jan 21 2010

       That helps very much, [nineteenthly]!
bnip, Jan 21 2010

       [nineteenthly] I believe you have mixed up Sheens. You mean Michael Sheen, as you stated in the idea. Charlie Sheen, who was not in "Frost/Nixon", has a Bacon number of 2, and was also in "Being John Malkovich" (note spelling) where he played Charlie Sheen.
tatterdemalion, Jan 21 2010

       Yes, sorry, i do mean Michael Sheen. I'm not good at recognising actors. Definitely a head explode moment.
nineteenthly, Jan 21 2010

       He should probably play Reagan then, as the teflon president.
nineteenthly, Jan 21 2010

       Why has no-one posted "Kevin Bacon Bacon" yet, a fried dish served in movie theatres consisting of bacon rashers processed to look like Kevin Bacon ?   

       <starts to count>
8th of 7, Jan 21 2010

       And there you go.
nineteenthly, Jan 22 2010

       MARTIN Sheen, people!
dentworth, Jan 22 2010

       I can't factor in those quotation marks...
xandram, Jan 22 2010

       Think of them as propositional attitude operators, [xandram]. The problem is that a Kevin Bacon number refers to the real Kevin Bacon, but a "Kevin Bacon" number refers to a real person as a character in a film and their relationship to a character played by Kevin Bacon, so i've put quotes round it to indicate a difference between the two contexts. David Frost in 'Frost/Nixon' is actually an actor, so he is "David Frost". I put quotes round "Kevin Bacon" to indicate that it's not a real Kevin Bacon number. It's not entirely called-for, but the best i could think of at the time. Or, you could think of the quotes as indicating distance from reality.   

       I've had another thought about this. What if a film with Kevin Bacon in it appears in another film? What relationship to the characters and actors have to Kevin Bacon then? For instance, "She's Having A Baby" is shown in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles", they both have Kevin Bacon in them, and "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" is shown in "Wanderlust", which is a documentary.
nineteenthly, Jan 22 2010

       What happens if Kevin Bacon ever portrays himself in a film?
tatterdemalion, Jan 22 2010

       Then the game is up. However, what would happen if he portrayed a fictionalised version of himself? For instance, suppose he played a woman or a Martian called Kevin Bacon?
nineteenthly, Jan 22 2010

       -Himself, "Bacon and Eggs," Will & Grace, NBC, 2002 -Himself, "Kevin Bacon: Am I Me?," Biography (also -Voice of himself, "Bob Gets Involved," God, the Devil, and Bob (animated), NBC, 2003 -Himself, "Make Star's Brother a Star: Michael B.," Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (also known as Queer Eye), Bravo, 2006   

       Are we still here?
leinypoo13, Jan 22 2010

       So, it can be done. The question is then, are there any crossovers between any of those? Also, that means God has a "Kevin Bacon" number, meaning that Jesus, the Metatron and Bruce Nolan all have a "Kevin Bacon" number of two.   

       Come to think of it, what would Jesus's "Kevin Bacon" number be? Wars could be fought over that.
nineteenthly, Jan 22 2010

       You mean "God".
leinypoo13, Jan 22 2010

       I didn't check Bacon's "himself" appearances. However I did check to see if anyone else has ever portrayed Kevin Bacon, and so far it appears that cataclysm has been avoided.
tatterdemalion, Jan 22 2010

       [Leinypoo13], this is how it starts.   

       [Tatterdemalion], i am _this_ close to making a YouTube video that will destroy number theory in a single swoop.
nineteenthly, Jan 22 2010


       P_c: z\to z^2 + c,
8th of 7, Jan 22 2010

       Now that would be pretty!   

       It'll happen today, [Ian].
nineteenthly, Jan 23 2010

       [nineteenthly], I don't think you can count an entire series (Star Trek, Dr Who, Simpsons) it would have to be a specific episode. However, this would normally only add 1 degree as the main characters in a series would presumably be in both episodes.
marklar, Jan 24 2010

       In that case, how do you feel about sequels? I feel they're set in the same universe. You don't have to re-establish the existence of Khan or Noonian Singh in every episode of Star Trek, so why would you need to re-establish the existence of Mark Twain? I can see there's a problem with non-canonical meetings.
nineteenthly, Jan 24 2010

       I think the spirit of the equation of Baconage is that the people actually met on set and that they are assumed to know one other.
marklar, Jan 24 2010

       Yes, i think that's true, and there are potential problems in extending it for that reason. For instance, when can we conclude that two characters who have never met on screen know each other? We know that Mark Twain has met Guinan, but can we assume Guinan knows everyone on board the Enterprise because she was bar staff? Would Barclay ever have gone to the bar?
nineteenthly, Jan 24 2010


back: main index

business  computer  culture  fashion  food  halfbakery  home  other  product  public  science  sport  vehicle