Thursday, June 09, 2011

Use me when playing "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"

You’re familiar with the game “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon”, right?  Kevin has worked with pretty much everyone in Hollywood.  Even more people than Heidi Fleiss.   In no more than six projects you can usually trace any performer back to Kevin Bacon.  Well, for the serious “Kevin Bacon” player, let me add a few more links based on my involvement with him.
Granted, it’s not a big involvement. On FRASIER, whenever Dr. Crane spoke to a listener on his radio show they got a celebrity to play the caller. Kevin Bacon did one for a show my partner David and I wrote.

So you can now link Kevin to any of the other unlikely celebrities I wrote for or directed.

Dr. Timothy Leary did a FRASIER phone call for one of our shows. That’s right. We wrote for Dr. Timothy Leary.  You'd think that would be good for some complimentary LSD at the Free Clinic, wouldn't you?

Also, we wrote jokes for the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral William J. Crowe. He did a CHEERS we scripted.  See, aren’t I a name dropper?

Craig Ferguson guested on an episode of ALMOST PERFECT. So it’s just a few steps from Kevin Bacon to Craig Ferguson’s robot. Amaze your friends!

Then there are the athletes. We wrote for Wade Boggs (later to learn in his mistress’ tell-all in Playboy that he only took the job for a free trip to LA to bang her), Kevin McHale (who was sensational!), and Luis Tiant. (who also would have been great if only you could understand one single solitary thing he was saying – even after sixty takes).

So in only two steps you can get from Kevin Bacon to Luis Tiant. There’s a huge bar bet waiting to be won.

As a director, I had the pleasure of coaxing comic brilliance out of Karl Malone (in this case “the Mail Man” did not deliver – oy!), funnyman Mike Ditka (“a little more energy, Mike”), and Terry Bradshaw (“a little less energy, Terry. In fact, a LOT less energy. In fact, just stand there.”)

Oh sure, I’ve worked with a lot of top flight actors but you know all of them and could probably get to Kevin Bacon through other paths. The real challenge comes when someone throws Art Garfunkel at you (FRASIER caller), or you’re at the national finals and for the world’s championship you’re given the name Bombo the orangutan (did a JUST SHOOT ME I directed).

So use me. Be my guest. It’s my little way of Paying It Forward. The only thing disconcerting about providing this useful public service is that all these celebrities that I worked with so intimately over the years – I bet not one remembers me and knows who I am.  But that's okay.  I'm sure Bombo doesn't know who Kevin Bacon is either.

32 comments:

carol said...

When I was 15, I sang with a group of kids (to mostly old people at a resturant in NJ) and one of the kids was Calista Flockhart, who was in 'Telling Lies In America' with Kevin Bacon.

So that means I'm 2 degrees away from Ken!

Friday question...I somehow voluneered to write some 'skits' for this fundraiser my theatre (Dead Playwrights Repertory - shamless plug!) is doing, and now I'm panicking. They will be Shakespeare related, and hopefully funny. Can you give me some calming words of writerly wisdom to help get me started? (or a ritch Hollywood patron to support us so I don't have to do this?)

Pat Reeder said...

You'd think that with a name like Bombo, he would have made appearances in any number of Kevin Bacon movies.

Cantara Christopher said...

Stemming from one movie I did over thirty years ago, I'm three degrees from Kevin Bacon.

Mary Stella said...

Kevin Bacon once swam with dolphins where I work and I've met you, read your blog and read your book. I feel so connected!

Kevin Arbouet said...

Real players of "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" are only allowed to use movies.

Television is strictly off limits.

Chris D said...

I had to write a guest appearance for Jerry Springer once. I had someone slug him in the jaw.

RCP said...

I remember reading of links between Kevin Bacon, Jon Hamm, and Joseph Bologna - but can't recall the number of degrees.

DaveMB said...

Any math nerds reading this should check out the article on "Erdos-Bacon number" in Wikipedia. To have an EB number you need to connect to Kevin Bacon through movies and to the prolific late Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdos through mathematical papers. Natalie Portman and Danica McKellar have them as both wrote math papers as undergraduates. The lowest known EB number is Dan Kleitman of MIT, who wrote a math paper with Erdos and was the technical advisor for Good Will Hunting, appearing in the movie as an extra. (Bacon number of 2, through Minnie Driver.)

I have an Erdos number of 3, since I've written papers with people who have written papers with people who have written papers with Erdos. I've been in community theatre with several people who have Bacon numbers of 2, but as I've never been in a movie I don't make it by the strict definition.

Nathan said...

One of the first jobs I ever worked on (as a PA) was a Fenway Franks commercial starring Luis Tiant. His only line was "It's great to be with a wiener." Of course, the whole joke was supposed to be his pronunciation - i.e. you were supposed to think he was trying to say "winner" but was pronouncing it "weeener".

He couldn't do it. He could only say "winner". For 90 takes.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

I gotta be honest. I always HATED that Kevin Bacon game. No particular reason as to why, I just could never stand it.

jbryant said...

Assuming the rules allow writers to play, I can get to Kevin Bacon through my rewrite work (just a "thanks" in the credits though) on MANHATTAN MIDNIGHT, which starred Maggie Q, who was in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE III with Tom Cruise, who was in A FEW GOOD MEN with Kevin Bacon.

jbryant said...

Oh, and Ken can get directly to Bacon through Tom Hanks (VOLUNTEERS to APOLLO 13).

Ken Fisher said...

Until this momemt,unknown (to me anyway, and I thought I knew everything trivial)trivia re: celebraties as callers on Frasier. Would it be possible sometime in the future to compile a list of these celebs and in which episodes they participated"

PatGLex said...

Just did a Google search for "Frazier phone callers" and came up with this:

http://www.enquirer.com/editions/2004/05/11/tem_frasiercallers11.html

This might help. Ken might have a more complete list, though.

ScottyB said...

And if some smartass gives you Bombo the chimp (not Bombo the orangutan) to connect to Kevin Bacon, you'd be covered there too, since Bombo was the name of the dead chimp being mourned by Frasier Crane on the episode of "Cheers" Ken references in his "the scene that saved my life" blog entry some time back.

BH, The Denver Land Company said...

General comment.

That your blog is popular today and you grasp Joanie Sommers is a credential-anachronism.

I will now read you regularly.

Can You Help Mystery: I once spoke with George Schenck during the writer's strike and asked why "Crazy Like A Fox" is unavailable on DVD. He had no clue and hoped like me for a someday-release.

Breadbaker said...

I think someone needs to cast Dave MB in a Kevin Bacon movie. With Ken's newfound clout with Time magazine at all (oops, sorry, print is so dead), he should be able to make this happen asap.

gottacook said...

Art Garfunkel could act, if the part was right - I thought he was good in Carnal Knowledge (I part I suppose he got because Mike Nichols liked Simon & Garfunkel) but was badly miscast 10 years or so later in that Nicholas Roeg film Bad Timing.

Next year, I trust, S&G will embark on their "How Terribly Strange to be Seventy" tour.

Max Clarke said...
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Max Clarke said...
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Michael Hagerty said...

I think Wade Boggs will probably remember you from now on, Ken.

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

Garfunkel already had a Bacon number of 2 (Catch 22 w/ Martin Sheen; Sheen in JFK with Bacon).

YEKIMI said...

Once omeone named Ken served me bacon at an IHOP. I think that may count.....

Krupuk said...

You can check your Bacon number with this web site: http://oracleofbacon.org/

I've only appeared once as an extra in a film and I already have a Bacon number of 3. That game's too easy.

Anonymous said...

ah, yet another accomplishment to add to your blog bio.

Matt Patton said...

Kevin Bacon has done enough work as an actor that it takes only two or three moves to connect the French actress Maria Falconetti, who only made three movies (the most famous being Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc) to the portrayer of Chip Diller.

Art Garfunkel has one of the lines in Carnal Knowledge, right under Mike Nichols' title card:

"I feel about sex like I feel about college. I'm being pressured."

My favorite Frasier call is still the one featuring Sandra Dee--that woman could throw one hell of a hissy fit.

Ace Arn said...

Totally useless bit of trivia: The game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" is actually based on a game devised by comic book fans back in the 1970s. The original goal of this was to establish a chain of connections between two dissimilar characters--the first version that I saw connected Millie the Model with Vampirella, which I suppose means nothing to most of you. After awhile, however, a variation appeared, in which the goal was to connect a comic book character with an actor who had played him.

For example: There was a story published in the 1950s in which Superman met Orson Welles (who had, of course, been kidnapped by Martians). Orson Welles was in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS, and so was Vanessa Redgrave. And Vanessa Redgrave appeared in THE BOSTONIANS with Christopher Reeve, who of course played Superman.

Here's one for Ken: The Beast was originally a member of the X-Men, but for awhile he was a member of the Avengers, and appeared in one story in which the Avengers met David Letterman. Letterman was in the film CABIN BOY, which also featured Bob Elliott. Elliott was in QUICK CHANGE with Bill Murray, who was in MAD DOG AND GLORY with Robert DeNiro, who was in 15 MINUTES with Kelsey Grammar...who played the Beast in X-MEN: THE LAST STAND.

Do not try this at home.

Bob Claster said...

When my kids were small, we had a nanny who had come from Uganda, where her father had been Finance Minister under Idi Amin. So you can use me to get to Idi Amin.

cadavra said...

How about this: I have a bit in TRAIL OF THE SCREAMING FOREHEAD (which I co-produced), which also features Kevin McCarthy, who appeared with Kevin Bacon in HERO AT LARGE.

Rob said...

I was an extra in a not very great movie called the Opposite Sex and How to Live With Them with Kevin Pollak who was in A Few Good Men with.....

Rob said...

And to tie it altogether, my job as an extra was to be a spectator at Fenway Park in the movie.

Anonymous said...

@Ace Arn: Actually "Six degrees of separation" is a scienticifc concept that has its origins in the 1920s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_degrees_of_separation