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The Music Division has your Bacon Number

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Gerry Mulligan with Leaning Tower of Pisa. Copyright Franca R. Mulligan. Used by permission.

Google’s new search tool had would-be researchers wracking their brains yesterday. Based on the “Six degrees of Kevin Bacon” game, which In the Muse wrote about in July,  if you enter the words “Bacon number” and an actor’s name in the Google search box, you get the number of degrees removed that person is from connected actor Kevin Bacon.

Unlike The Oracle of Bacon, the search engine does not cull from the iMDb, so many lesser-known character actors simply don’t register in Google’s search tool. Most actors anybody can think of off the top of their head will be a two or a three, but fours have been elusive, as anyone who stayed up too late plugging in names of foreign actors can tell you. Guess which subject of a Performing Arts Encyclopedia presentation is one of those rare fours?

Gerry Mulligan! Mulligan appeared with composer/arranger Gunther Schuller in Don McGlynn’s documentary Charles Mingus: Triumph of the Underdog; Schuller appeared with Wynton Marsalis in the video document of the Charles Mingus: Epitaph concert;  Marsalis appeared with Whoopi Goldberg in the documentary The N-Word; and Goldberg appeared with Kevin Bacon in the straight-to-video neo-noir Destination Anywhere.

Other Bacon numbers from PAE luminaries:  Dolly Parton is a two, working in A Joyful Noise with Queen Latifah, who worked with Bacon in Beauty Shop. Surprisingly, dancer/choreographer Katherine Dunham has a Bacon number of two: she appeared in the 1954 film Mambo with Vittorio Gassman, who worked with Bacon in Sleepers. 

Digging further into the PAE coffers, I found another rare four: Mstislav Rostropovich, part of our Great Conversations in Music presentation, worked with Plácido Domingo , who appeared in a Caruso documentary with Hill Street Blues veteran Daniel J. Travanti, who appeared with actor John Laughlin in Midnight Crossing, who appeared with Bacon in Footloose.

In the Muse cannot be held responsible for any restless hours lying awake thinking of a name with which to stump the Bacon infrastructure.


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