Chesterton and Bacon

February 19, 2007

No, not that kind of bacon. If Chesterton ever wrote about bacon – and, since he wrote about most things, it is rather likely that he did – I don’t know about it.

The Bacon I have in mind today is Kevin Bacon, Hollywood star and, for some reason, the man by whom insider-ness in the world of film is judged. I refer, of course, to the Bacon Number phenomenon. It works like this: if one is in a film with Kevin Bacon one has a Bacon Number of 1, if one is in a film with someone who is in a film with Kevin Bacon one has a Bacon Number of 2, and so forth. To have a low Bacon Number is considered a mark of excellence, or at least of mild notoriety. Kevin Bacon himself is the only person with a Bacon Number of 0; people like me, who don’t appear in films, don’t have a Bacon Number, a revelation which will surely affect different personalities in different ways. It leaves me morose and surly.

I bring this up now because I’ve just learned that G.K. Chesterton, to whom I have recently dedicated a new web log, has a finite Bacon Number! The chain of connection goes like this:

G.K. Chesterton was in Rosy Rapture (1914) with George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw was in Masks and Faces (1917) with Fabia Drake
Fabia Drake was in Valmont (1989) with Colin Firth
Colin Firth was in Where the Truth Lies (2005) with Kevin Bacon

His Bacon Number is therefore 4. Very well done!

I have not seen any of the films in this list, but I would certainly love to get my hands on a copy of Rosy Rapture. The scene in which Chesterton gives Shaw a thorough thrashing (this is my imagination talking) would be a wonder to behold.

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4 Responses to “Chesterton and Bacon”

  1. Joan Says:

    Plus, this gets bonus points for having Colin FIrth in the chain. At least from the ladies in the audience.

  2. Chris Chan Says:

    Unfortunately, I read somewhere that the director of the film destroyed the only copy of it. A total shame– I would have paid a lot of money to see Chesterton play a cowboy!

  3. cburrell Says:

    If that is true, it is a terrible disappointment. I had been holding out hope that the DVD might someday make an appearance.


  4. […] I’m just as shocked as you are: G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) has a Bacon number of 4. […]


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