Keith McCready story

Teacherjohn

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More keith.....

Re; Sacto tourney and Keith torturing Louie..It was about two in the morning and no one was playing, just all the best players in the world standing around doing nothing All of a sudden, from the far bleachers a skinny scrawny pimple faced kid stands up and yells out "Which one of you guys wants to play? I'll play any of you. I'm sayin ain't none of you guys got a heart the size of a beebee. Let's play" Silence. The whole room fell quiet."Who's that?' I asked the guy next to me. "That's Keith," he said. "from LA. They call him the monster." A couple minutes later, after a huddle by all the top players, Louie Roberts leaves the huddle waving a fist full of cash. He looks up at the bleachers and Keith and says,"Let's play." There was a stampede to the chairs by the table they were going to play on. They agreed on 7 ahead. This was going to be terrific. This could take all night for one of them to get 7 ahead. Well, as i said the whole thing took less than 10 minutes. As Keith sank the final 9 ball he looked up and said "Where's Rempe?" Rempe had left when Keith ran the first four racks. Then Keith saw Denny Searcy standing in the crowd. "What do you want to do," Keith asked him. "I'll take the 8," Denny replied. Finally they settled on the last two and as I said I don't know who won. Mike Sigel dwas the best pool player I ever saw, but that exhibition by Keith was the greatest pool playing I had ever seen. Especially after all the barking Keith did before the match.
 

david(tx)

AzB Silver Member
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I would have told it different but I was relaying what JJ Jenkins told me and that was the way he talked. Since he was about 6'5" and 280 lbs and African American, I don't think anyone ever told him to not use certain words.

Except his old lady.:wink:
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
Gold Member
Silver Member
I was there. It was 1967. Met Jimmy Caan there and his brother Ronnie. I think Diliberto gave him the 7. Lots of action. Richie Ambrose had just made a 6 figure score. Some guys made a score off of Phil Spector. I met Telly there with his brother George (Demosthenes). Telly had a Mosconi cue.
James Garner would pop in as well as Marvin Henderson, Hawaiian Brian, Bernie Schwartz, Freddy the Beard, Dalton Leong, Gene Nagy, Cripple Shorty, Ronnie Allen, Preacher Red, Rags, Brooklyn Pancho, Cuban Joe, Brooklyn Butch, Neil Young, Philly Joe Veasy. etc etc
Cecil Tugwell started there when he got out of the army.
$50 a game 9 ball was normal. In the 60's $50 was a lot.
Lenny Moore the gambler had a regular game like that.
Diliberto was playing $500/$1000 14.1 games to 150.
I saw Diliberto pummel Crazy Bruce when Bruce stiffed him out of a $100.

I played a game of straight pool with Richard Pryor once but he was so funny no one could keep score.
Falk would come in as well as lots of guys from John Cassavetes crowd.
Man it was action all the time. Every thief, strong arm, pimp, card shark, made it through those doors.
Its a wonder no one got killed.
The ole Ye Billiard Den on Santa Monica Boulevard.
Funny its a gay night club now. Hamburger Mary's.

I was right there with you, scrambling around to make my little scores. :)
I had a regular game with Jimmy Caan (the eight ball) and another with Jack Ackerman (also the eight ball), the famous composer. Played Crazy Bruce several times with the understanding that as soon as he went off it would be the last game. He was on good behavior until he got stuck and then the fountains would open up and he would erupt.

Marvin was a good friend of mine and he was one cool cat, sitting back in the corner with his shades on watching everybody. Pancho was center stage meanwhile, constantly working the room, trying to generate something. He had more cons than all the rest of the hustlers combined. Brooklyn Butch looked out for me and took care of things if someone tried to stiff me. One word from him and I got my money plus an apology.

Cecil was the best young black player I ever saw, but his bad attitude got him crippled at a young age. He and Butch had a blood feud and they both tried to kill each other, more than once! Preacher Red was also known as Low Down Dirty Red, a name well earned! Lenny Moore was all mobbed out, and no one ever messed with him. Even Danny gave him a lot of respect, and Danny wasn't afraid of anyone, not even Butch.

I was also buddies with Arizona Sean, a high line cat burglar who was so handsome and charming he had famous actresses swooning at his feet. My other buddy there was Leon from Louisiana, an avowed bank robber. He got killed in a shootout with the cops after robbing Pinks, the famous hot dog stand. Leon always had a .45 stuffed under his shirt!

I first met Freddie in there in the late 60's. He was probably the most intelligent pool hustler I ever met. Ye Billiard Den was my home room in the late 60's to early 70's and it was a slice of life I will never forget. By far the most interesting poolroom I ever hung around. :wink:

P.S. JJ is right, Keith did come in there with his backer in about 1973 or 74 and challenge the whole room to empty out. Too bad Marvin or Ronnie wasn't around that day, but there were always good players in there and Keith got action. No one in L.A. could beat Keith by the time he was 17 except Richie Florence. And Richie was one of the top 9-Ballers in the country with a nationwide rep.
 
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ToddW

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
This thread brings up a question I always wanted to know how good was Peter Faulk? I heard he loved pool and what did he like to play? Same with Jackie Gleeson?
 

Ken_4fun

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I was right there with you, scrambling around to make my little scores. :)
I had a regular game with Jimmy Caan (the eight ball) and another with Jack Ackerman (also the eight ball), the famous composer. Played Crazy Bruce several times with the understanding that as soon as he went off it would be the last game. He was on good behavior until he got stuck and then the fountains would open up and he would erupt.

Marvin was a good friend of mine and he was one cool cat, sitting back in the corner with his shades on watching everybody. Pancho was center stage meanwhile, constantly working the room, trying to generate something. He had more cons than all the rest of the hustlers combined. Brooklyn Butch looked out for me and took care of things if someone tried to stiff me. One word from him and I got my money plus an apology.

Cecil was the best young black player I ever saw, but his bad attitude got him crippled at a young age. He and Butch had a blood feud and they both tried to kill each other, more than once! Preacher Red was also known as Low Down Dirty Red, a name well earned! Lenny Moore was all mobbed out, and no one ever messed with him. Even Danny gave him a lot of respect, and Danny wasn't afraid of anyone, not even Butch.

I was also buddies with Arizona Sean, a high line cat burglar who was so handsome and charming he had famous actresses swooning at his feet. My other buddy there was Leon from Louisiana, an avowed bank robber. He got killed in a shootout with the cops after robbing Pinks, the famous hot dog stand. Leon always had a .45 stuffed under his shirt!

I first met Freddie in there in the late 60's. He was probably the most intelligent pool hustler I ever met. Ye Billiard Den was my home room in the late 60's to early 70's and it was a slice of life I will never forget. By far the most interesting poolroom I ever hung around. :wink:

P.S. JJ is right, Keith did come in there with his backer in about 1973 or 74 and challenge the whole room to empty out. Too bad Marvin or Ronnie wasn't around that day, but there were always good players in there and Keith got action. No one in L.A. could beat Keith by the time he was 17 except Richie Florence. And Richie was one of the top 9-Ballers in the country with a nationwide rep.

Thanks for the filling in the blanks. Joe Salazar always tells the funniest Keith stories.

So Keith and Richie avoided each other and looked for greener pastures?

Ken
 

TATE

AzB Gold Mensch
Gold Member
Silver Member
The time frame was around 1974. I remember Buffalo Bill at Mother's in Sherman Oaks telling me about a 17 year old kid named Keith everybody feared. The time was easy to remember because I had just entered the travel business with my first job.
 

yobagua

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Of course you were there Jay. You had the front table coveted. You were one of the good guys .
JJ was a great guy too and we miss him. I remember when John S tried to stiff him and JJ a gentle giant for once in his life went off and got him on the ground in the doorway.
It was a great time there and better than the movies. Black Rudy introduced me to Ed Kelly one nite and I saw Richie LeBells uncle Judo Gene LeBell. Gene started the forerunner of Mixed Martial arts and was one of the toughest guys in the US.
Freddie Prinze Jr told me that Gene used to choke him out as a kid to teach him.
Freddie Prinze Sr used to hang out across the street.before he killed himself.
I met Mama Cass and Johnny Mathis on the street there. They all passed by.
It was crazy. Money was flowing and the new sexual freedom was born so was mary jane and every one wanted to be part of the action.
Keith and I were born in the same year and I was like a kid in a candy store.
 

peteypooldude

I see Edges
Silver Member
Of course you were there Jay. You had the front table coveted. You were one of the good guys .
JJ was a great guy too and we miss him. I remember when John S tried to stiff him and JJ a gentle giant for once in his life went off and got him on the ground in the doorway.
It was a great time there and better than the movies. Black Rudy introduced me to Ed Kelly one nite and I saw Richie LeBells uncle Judo Gene LeBell. Gene started the forerunner of Mixed Martial arts and was one of the toughest guys in the US.
Freddie Prinze Jr told me that Gene used to choke him out as a kid to teach him.
Freddie Prinze Sr used to hang out across the street.before he killed himself.
I met Mama Cass and Johnny Mathis on the street there. They all passed by.
It was crazy. Money was flowing and the new sexual freedom was born so was mary jane and every one wanted to be part of the action.
Keith and I were born in the same year and I was like a kid in a candy store.


I don't know about everyone wanting part of the "sexual freedom"
<~~~~~~~~ would never go in a place called "Ding and Dongs" :grin-square:
 

Kickin' Chicken

Kick Shot Afficionado
Silver Member
I've said it before that on AZB, oftentimes, it feels like you have to sift through a lot of ash to find the embers.

This thread is glowing bright red. :thumbup:

thanks to all for the stories and please keep adding on. :cool:

best,
brian kc
 

mr3cushion

Regestered User
Silver Member
This thread brings up a question I always wanted to know how good was Peter Faulk? I heard he loved pool and what did he like to play? Same with Jackie Gleeson?

I was in NYC with Vince 'NY Pancho' Corelli, around 1967, we went to 7-11 billiards in Manhatten. There practicing was Peter Falk, at the time I didn't know it but, He and Pancho had a standard game they always played. Pancho played Peter, 50 NO count to His 50 playing straight pool for $50 a game. I left Pancho there with His game, I went to another joint where they had 3C tables.

When I come back, I see Peter sitting in the chair shaking His head. So, I asked Him, "Peter what's wrong," He reluctantly replied in that scratchy gruff voice, "Smitty, He's got me in mortal shock, I can't make a ball!"

That's my Peter 'Columbo' Falk story!

BTW, Pancho was one of those guys that were very talented at what ever they endeavoured! He had plenty of ways to make money in and out of the pool room!

When he lived in Chicago the first time, we were in the 8Track tape business. At one time we had an entire one bedroom apartment filled to the ceiling with tapes! Until we got sued by 'Columbia' records for a 'Million Dollars!'
 
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yobagua

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Do you mean a different Keith? I think you are 10 years older than McCready.
Sorry I was born in 47. Keith was in 57? I got confused. In 74 I was all ready out of there and running with a different crowd.But a friend of Hawaiian Brian and myself named Freddy from Hawaii bought the Billiard Den. And I believed it ended soon after.
What happened to me was I met a guy by the name of Hy Seiger. Hy was a succesful agent in Hollywood but retired. He loved pool and bought one of Ernies first Gina cues. Ernie was just making his cues and selling them around town. Hy got a beautiful Ivory handled cue for a great price.
After hours Hy would invite me up to his place where he had a pool table and we would play all nite long. Richard Thomas from The Waltons was staying there for a time as well as character actor Simon Oakland. Hy was kind of like a mentor to me and told me he would help me in my career.
One of his good buddies was producing a tv series called Room 222 at 20th Century Fox and got me in as a running character. Michael Constantine was a regular on it and he was in The Hustler (Big John) It got me started on a long career.
In those days we were all one hustlers community and we kind of like helped each other out. We would cut in guys that we liked on a good score. Nowadays its every dog for himself.
 

yobagua

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I don't know about everyone wanting part of the "sexual freedom"
<~~~~~~~~ would never go in a place called "Ding and Dongs" :grin-square:

In those days in Hollywood the LA Free Press came out. One of the first alternative papers. There was a big hip community and Ye Billiard Den was always on the border of it. There was a big thing called a Freak Out. It was just a group of freaks and hippies doing their thing. It was led by a wild man called Vito and his right hand man Prince Franzoni (?). Everyone was dropping acid and getting loaded. But it was all predicated on peace and love. I would walk into a big house and see a pile of bodies in a heap writhing. There was a bunch of groupies going on making plaster casts of rock stars, well, private organs.
Many in the pool room took advantage of this free flow of things. But we who were outside of the law were still freaked out by this kind of frivolity. For most of us it was always the all mighty dollar.
 

bobbycotton

PoolHall Junkie
Silver Member
"Confessionsofapoolhustler"

In 1969 I was in the there with "Magazine Mike" ! I played Cecil a game of one pocket for a hundred an 2 games of 9 ball for fifty a game, I broke even and got lucky because at the time my one pocket sucked and cecil played top notch ! Cecil was hard to fade believe me lmao !
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
i stayed in the backround the times i went there. never made more than a couple balls in a row and just played the same type of players. they would lose all they had and like it, while the name players wasted their time and stayed broke. that was one of the all time great spots for fun and making money if you were sharp.
you just had to never get to know the knockers and the guys who would try to cut into you.
you had to know to never play with guys like cecil, or ronny roper and never talk to lenny or rudy or any road players or your action would be killed. they would never look your way as you never looked at them.
there was a never ending stream of people that would just play for untold amounts that the regulars never even asked to play or would run out on them if they did get a game.
those days lots of people had lots of money. no casinos around and not many used credit cards so everyone carried their cash. all the two bit hustlers were able to survive and get in action at least once in a while. money was just out there to be picked up if you were sharp or just played runout pool and dindt care if all your easy scores were killed.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Thanks for the filling in the blanks. Joe Salazar always tells the funniest Keith stories.

So Keith and Richie avoided each other and looked for greener pastures?

Ken

I'm pretty sure they played more than one or two times in the Billiard Palace in Bellfower, CA. Everybody played in there! That was L.A. "Hustlers" room back in those days and all the top players met in there to gamble. It wasn't a spot for me because I couldn't beat any of those guys. I was into making money, not blowing it! :D
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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i stayed in the backround the times i went there. never made more than a couple balls in a row and just played the same type of players. they would lose all they had and like it, while the name players wasted their time and stayed broke. that was one of the all time great spots for fun and making money if you were sharp.
you just had to never get to know the knockers and the guys who would try to cut into you.
you had to know to never play with guys like cecil, or ronny roper and never talk to lenny or rudy or any road players or your action would be killed. they would never look your way as you never looked at them.
there was a never ending stream of people that would just play for untold amounts that the regulars never even asked to play or would run out on them if they did get a game.
those days lots of people had lots of money. no casinos around and not many used credit cards so everyone carried their cash. all the two bit hustlers were able to survive and get in action at least once in a while. money was just out there to be picked up if you were sharp or just played runout pool and dindt care if all your easy scores were killed.

Yep, my regular games were with actors and musicians, not pool players. I had several guys who I would give games like 10-5 One Pocket or the seven, eight and nine in 9-Ball. we might play $5 9-Ball or $10 One Pocket and a good score was fifty bucks. But if you could do that every day you were making money! And I was! :wink:

P.S. Ronnie Roper and I purposely avoided each other, after we played to a dead heat the first time we met. He worked his end of the room and I worked mine. I was friends with Cecil but had to be very careful around him. One time he agreed to dump some guy to me for $100 and then he tried to beat me. I never trusted him after that, even though I took him on the road years later. We made money together too!

Rudy was the first guy I ever played $100 One Pocket with and I gave him 8-6. I knew I could beat him but I was nervous as Hell for the first few games. I made an $800 score and I was happy as a clam! :)
 
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Johnnyt

Burn all jump cues
Silver Member
Yep, my regular games were with actors and musicians, not pool players. I had several guys who I would give games like 10-5 One Pocket or the seven, eight and nine in 9-Ball. we might play $5 9-Ball or $10 One Pocket and a good score was fifty bucks. But if you could do that every day you were making money! And I was! :wink:

P.S. Ronnie Roper and I purposely avoided each other, after we played to a dead heat the first time we met. He worked his end of the room and I worked mine. I was friends with Cecil but had to be very careful around him. One time he agreed to dump some guy to me for $100 and then he tried to beat me. I never trusted him after that, even though I took him on the road years later. We made money together too!

Rudy was the first guy I ever played $100 One Pocket with and I gave him 8-6. I knew I could beat him but I was nervous as Hell for the first few games. I made an $800 score and I was happy as a clam! :)


The guys that played for $5, $10, and sometimes $20 a game and knew how to match up, made more money by the end of the year than the top players, playing $100 a game. Most were all staked and really playing for no more than 40% of the $100. If they won every game they played they could come out a head, but if they did, the casino, racetrack, or the drug dealer took it from them. If you weren't greedy you could make $1500 a month easy back in the 1960's to 80's. The thing is we didn't piss it all away. Johnnyt
 

jrhendy

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Keith and Tracy Joe

I'm pretty sure they played more than one or two times in the Billiard Palace in Bellfower, CA. Everybody played in there! That was L.A. "Hustlers" room back in those days and all the top players met in there to gamble. It wasn't a spot for me because I couldn't beat any of those guys. I was into making money, not blowing it! :D

I am sure Keith and Joe played at a few rooms before Joe gave up on him. I saw them play at the original Hard Times is Costa Mesa a time or two. That was Keith's main hangout when he started playing like a monster and his main stake horse at the time, Charlie The Ape hung out there.

I had the misfortune of trying both California phenoms, Cole Dickson who came along before Keith, and Keith when they were both around 16.

Cole ended up beating me with the eight and offered the seven. A terrible blow to a pool shooters ego and wallet. Keith tried to give me a little weight in one pocket and I fared better, but he came back a couple years later and gave me 9/7 and took it off.
 

9andout

Gunnin' for a 2 pack!!
Gold Member
Silver Member
Of course you were there Jay. You had the front table coveted. You were one of the good guys .
JJ was a great guy too and we miss him. I remember when John S tried to stiff him and JJ a gentle giant for once in his life went off and got him on the ground in the doorway.
It was a great time there and better than the movies. Black Rudy introduced me to Ed Kelly one nite and I saw Richie LeBells uncle Judo Gene LeBell. Gene started the forerunner of Mixed Martial arts and was one of the toughest guys in the US.
Freddie Prinze Jr told me that Gene used to choke him out as a kid to teach him.
Freddie Prinze Sr used to hang out across the street.before he killed himself.
I met Mama Cass and Johnny Mathis on the street there. They all passed by.
It was crazy. Money was flowing and the new sexual freedom was born so was mary jane and every one wanted to be part of the action.
Keith and I were born in the same year and I was like a kid in a candy store.
Just a side note: Judo Gene now trains the Undefeated UFC Women's Bantam Wt. Champ Ronda Rousey! If you want to see Gene watch for him in her corner tonight!
It's on PPV. She is a bad ass!!
 
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