More Fun with Numbers

There’s a full-page photo of Kevin Bacon in this week’s paper, with a little blurb titled No Degrees of Separation, because he’s appearing at Dartmouth College tonight to receive their film award. So I start explaining Bacon numbers to my son, and he (being smarter than me) asks something I’ve never considered — what’s my Bacon number?

I’m not listed in the credits, but I was in Stephen King’s Pet Sematary, part of the crowd during the funeral/fistfight scene in the church (St. Andrew Lutheran in Ellsworth, Maine).

* * *
INT. THE REAR OF THE CHAPEL, FEATURING RACHEL AND DORY

RACHEL screams and starts forward. DORY pulls her back.

RACHEL
Louis! Daddy! Stop it! STOP IT!

INT. LOUIS AND IRWIN

LOUIS is getting up groggily. Hs nose is pouring blood.

IRWIN
How do you like that, you son of a bitch? I should have done it sooner!

IRWIN punches him in the stomach. LOUIS “oofs” and doubles over.

INT. ANGLE ON THE OTHER MOURNERS

* * *

I saw the film way back then on a VCR, not DVD, so I couldn’t slow it down frame by frame and spot the one or two (maybe even three?) frames where I might actually be visible in the congregation. But surely somebody in the cast must have been in a movie with Kevin Bacon.

Herman Munst… I mean Fred Gwynne? Nope. Denise Crosby? Nope. Dale Midkiff? Nope again. Finally I hit paydirt with evil dead Miko Hughes, the murderous three-year-old. Twelve years later he appeared in Apollo 13 as Tom Hanks’s… er, Astronaut James Lovell’s son Jeffrey, while Bacon had third billing as Astronaut Jack Swigert. So my Bacon number is two (tied with Ronald Reagan, it turns out, and one better than than Pope John Paul II).

p.s. Since the accepted wisdom, of course, is often wrong, it turns out that Kevin Bacon is not the center of the Hollywood Universe. He’s not even in the Top 1000 (although, with some 800,000 people listed at IMDB, it’s a pretty large group). My guess for the center would be the great Gene Hackman, and he is currently in the top dozen. And of course the list is constantly changing, but as of today the leader is Rod Steiger.

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