From the movie, “Contact” (and IMDB)
Ellie Arroway: [to a group of children] I’ll tell you one thing about the universe, though. The universe is a pretty big place. It’s bigger than anything anyone has ever dreamed of before. So if it’s just us… seems like an awful waste of space. Right?”


If you know anything about Paul Allen, he’s kind of an “other-worldly” guy to begin with. Like most pioneers, he gets restless when he encounters a boundary. He’s always stretching forward, exploring the possibilities that lie beyond it, whether it is a border of knowledge and imagination, or something more physical and tangible like pursuing new territory in the universe.


His closest connections with the movie “Contact” occur in the latter realm—the physical realm that lies beyond this planet. Allen has invested a great deal of money in the quest to explore outer space, and he has banked on the possibility that we are not alone in the universe. That theory is the main theme of the movie.


There have been a few jokes and even a low budget movie made about Paul’s interest in Aliens, and though it all needs to be taken with a grain of salt, when you look at some of the things Allen has accomplished in his lifetime—for example, writing the language of the microcomputer and jumpstarting the space travel industry with SpaceShipOne**— it does seem as if he’s at least touched an obelisk somewhere.  But his personal connections to the movie “Contact” are a little more down to earth—consisting of a few key human relationships.

So here goes…….:-)


Carl Sagan: (1) 

1)      Astronomer Carl Sagan, who wrote the screenplay for the movie, was a personal friend of Mr. Allen’s.  Sagan himself convinced the mogul to donate to SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence) when the government stopped funding the program in the 90’s and it was in danger of shutting down completely.  Allen has since poured over $25 million dollars into the project, funding a telescope array that has gained respect from NASA and other scientists not only for its stated purpose, but also for its ability to discover other important information about the universe.


   ( Note: Jill Tartar, who founded SETI, was the inspiration for the Jody Foster character in this movie. )

Other more tenuous connections include…..


Matthew McConaughey: (4) 

1)      Matthew McConaughey  starred in “A Time to Kill” with 2) Kevin Spacey

Who starred in “Pay it Forward” with 3) Haley Joel Osmont

Who starred in “AI” (Artificial Intelligence)*

“AI” is a Dreamworks production that was directed by 4) Steven Spielberg, the S of Dreamworks SKG

(Paul is a friend of Spielberg’s and the largest shareholder at Dreamworks)

Tom Skerritt: (5) 

1)      Tom Skerritt starred in “Alien” with 2) Sigourney Weaver.

 (Note: Allen’s Science Fiction Museum in Seattle has artifacts from many Sci Fi movies, including “Alien.”)

Who starred in “Ghostbusters” with 3) Bill Murray

Who starred in 4) “Lost in Translation” with 5) Scarlett Johansson

Who starred in “The Perfect Score” (see question one)


James Woods: (3) and (4)


1)      James Woods starred in “Race to Space”** with 2) Tori Spelling

Who starred in “Scary Movie 2” with 3) Shannon Doherty

Who has been (rumored to be) romantically linked with Paul Allen.

(Note 3) Shannon Doherty starred in the made for T.V. movie, “Category 7; The End of the World” with 4) Gina Gershon, who was also romantically linked with Allen for many years. 

Jena Malone: (3) 

1)      Jena Malone starred in “Pride and Prejudice” with 2) Donald Sutherland (who starred in a movie called “Six Degrees of Separation”:-) with 3) Will Smith

Who had the starring role in the animated film, “Shark Tale”

Produced by Dreamworks (see above)


And last but not least, Jody Foster: (2)


1)      Jody Foster starred in “Flight Plan” with 2) Erika Christenson

Who also starred in…………yet again………

The Perfect Score.”


Whew!  Ok, are you ready for the next question?  That deluxe VHS videotape rewinder is still up for grabs (although now it is a little bit dustier:-) How about a couple of non-movie ties this time?




What is Microsoft Co-founder, Paul Allen’s connection to:

Scientist, Sir Francis Crick


Statesman—Nelson Mandela ???

Answers to follow in one week.


Good luck!!!!:-)


(* For some info on Allen’s own foray into Artificial Intelligence, see


(** SpaceShipOne was the winner of a real-life “race to space” on October 4, 2004, when the spacecraft won the Ansari X-prize).