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Kevin Bacon explains the '80s, so listen up, children

By Christie D'Zurilla

Los Angeles Times

11:20 AM CDT, March 12, 2014

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Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it -- and Kevin Bacon doesn't want that to happen when it comes to the 1980s.

Really, who does want that to happen when it comes to the 1980s?

"Awareness of '80s culture and technology has been in a significant decline, especially among a certain demographic," he says in a mock PSA posted by Mashable. "I'm talking to you, millenials." 

The White Pages, Rubik's Cube, BlockBuster video, "Gremlins" and the Cold War are all seamlessly invoked by "The Following" star -- also an '80s icon for his lead role in 1984's "Footloose."

"You have no idea how hard it was," he says. But he does, man, because he was there. Watch and learn.

Bacon, star of many large-ensemble films, also appeared Saturday on a panel at SXSW in Austin, Texas, revisiting the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon phenomenon 20 years after its inception, relating it to today's social media. With him was Brian Turtle, who created the game with two friends, according to CNET.

In the game, actors are given a "Bacon Number" based on how many films it takes to link them to the "Flatliners" star. G'head, Google it.

At first, he thought it was "this giant joke at my expense," he said. Eventually, though, he came to embrace it after realizing it was created by fans, not detractors, and was about connections. He even created a charity to leverage its popularity.

"Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon was social media before there was social media," actress and panelist Felicity Day said. "The beautiful thing about connections like that is that each person in the chain is equally important."

The phenomenon was then illustrated with a helping hand from Mashable's Lance Ulanoff, also on the panel, who created a Vine that gave everyone in the audience a Bacon Number of one.

Check it out.