Keith McCready story

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Where was Ye Billiard Den located?


Santa Monica Blvd. at Swanson, just a couple of blocks east of La Cienega. The House of Billiards where Brian hung out was always called 6th and Western, even though it was actually at 6th and St. Andrews, one block west of Western. The original Hollywood Billiards was on Western a couple miles north at Sunset Blvd. In between all these was Celebrity Billiards on Vine St. where there was always action as well. The best after hours spot was Tournament Billiards, a few miles south on La Cienega at Washington Blvd. This was a predominately "black" poolroom full of jam up players. A pool scuff like me could spend his time just moving back and forth between these five rooms and never have a problem finding games. I must have made this route a thousand times in my first four years in L.A.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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This is a hard one to answer. Keith is not a spring chicken anymore, and for the most part, he's living a clean lifestyle, which means no alcohol, no drugs, and no cigarettes—at home.

Keith loves pool, its people, and everything about it. Though he does have a strong fanfare in some pool circles, he is weak when it comes to some things. I will say, however, I am proud that he was able to quit cigarettes about 4 or 5 years ago.

When Keith was inducted into the One Pocket Hall of Fame at the DCC, I was thrilled that he was recognized for this prestigious pool honor while he was still alive to enjoy it. Because of my job, I was not able to go to Louisville, and I worried about Keith going without me.

Keith managed to enjoy himself to the fullest. The horse was out of the barn, and Keith was in pool heaven. For this, I was so happy for him. But, unfortunately, he was out of practice when it came to some old habits. You wouldn't think that much could happen in a 24-hour period. Thank goodness for Ray Hansen and Steve Booth. They saved the day and kept Keith out of the doghouse.

Life isn't so bad at the McCready Ranch. Keith does keep himself busy with sports online games, and he's on his iPhone all day long talking to pool buddies around the country. And he has quite a few of them that he talks to every single day. He's actually quite good at the computer now. He's involved in a couple of pool-related activities with some pool industry members that brings him joy. We both hope to attend some big pool events in the future—together—as I'm almost fully retired now. We will be on the road again to attend some pool happenings, and we will both enjoy that very much together.

God bless you Jam. You gave Keith a second life, and a good one at that.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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tyvm to the entire thread. good stuff.

now about this guy...


wut???

Let's just say he was well named! Bruce was a handsome young guy who played a pretty decent game of pool, but he had inner demons that would simmer and finally rage after he missed a couple of balls. He would then turn to self inflicting injury to himself, anything from tearing at his own skin until he bled to head butting the wall, HARD! Bruce was always a smooth talker who could cajole you into a game with promises that he would be on his best behavior. And he would be, for a while, and then he would erupt!

I was glad to hear that later in life Bruce became a successful real estate agent in Beverly Hills.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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I thought he was ten ft tall.

He was, wasn't he?


JJ was a gentle giant. He lived on the premises where Ginacue Ernie had his shop for many years. He was the de facto night watchman for all the valuables (cues and equipment) that were stored there. And to my knowledge no one ever tried to rob Ernie's place. Everyone knew JJ was there all the time!
 

maha

from way back when
Silver Member
i new bruce well. yes he had plenty of issues with pressure and things going not right according to his thoughts.
and saw his antics many times un fold.

as far as pool shooting he could beat most all except the top players around until he cracked. but even then he held it together for a time. unfortunately he wasnt honorable to his agreements and that made him a loner.
 

westcoast

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Santa Monica Blvd. at Swanson, just a couple of blocks east of La Cienega. The House of Billiards where Brian hung out was always called 6th and Western, even though it was actually at 6th and St. Andrews, one block west of Western. The original Hollywood Billiards was on Western a couple miles north at Sunset Blvd. In between all these was Celebrity Billiards on Vine St. where there was always action as well. The best after hours spot was Tournament Billiards, a few miles south on La Cienega at Washington Blvd. This was a predominately "black" poolroom full of jam up players. A pool scuff like me could spend his time just moving back and forth between these five rooms and never have a problem finding games. I must have made this route a thousand times in my first four years in L.A.
Do you remember when Ye Billiard Den closed down?

Do you know when the House of Billiards on Wilshire and 19th opened?

Just curious- I like to know the historical background of some of these places, especially local places.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Do you remember when Ye Billiard Den closed down?

Do you know when the House of Billiards on Wilshire and 19th opened?

Just curious- I like to know the historical background of some of these places, especially local places.

Ye Billiard Den changed hands and the long time manager named Ray took it over. Sometime in the early 80's it closed and a dry cleaners took over the space. The HOB in Santa Monica opened in the early 1960s, during "The Hustler" boom. The same family also opened similar rooms (all named HOB) in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, the one at 6th and Western and one on Alvarado Blvd. close to downtown. The only ones left are Santa Monica and the Valley (Sherman Oaks) location.
 

westcoast

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ye Billiard Den changed hands and the long time manager named Ray took it over. Sometime in the early 80's it closed and a dry cleaners took over the space. The HOB in Santa Monica opened in the early 1960s, during "The Hustler" boom. The same family also opened similar rooms (all named HOB) in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, the one at 6th and Western and one on Alvarado Blvd. close to downtown. The only ones left are Santa Monica and the Valley (Sherman Oaks) location.
Thanks, I appreciate the response
 

Island Drive

AzB Silver Member
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Ye Billiard Den changed hands and the long time manager named Ray took it over. Sometime in the early 80's it closed and a dry cleaners took over the space. The HOB in Santa Monica opened in the early 1960s, during "The Hustler" boom. The same family also opened similar rooms (all named HOB) in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, the one at 6th and Western and one on Alvarado Blvd. close to downtown. The only ones left are Santa Monica and the Valley (Sherman Oaks) location.
Jay thx for the trip, was nice peaking into my past through your writings.
CA.....Belmont shores....where I showed up for 5 solid yrs during the dayz of Ether, Baz Ten, Adam Brostoski, Lou Butera, H Brian, Ernesto, and the Mexican Jumping Bean.....MORROW....Ismael Paez.
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Jay thx for the trip, was nice peaking into my past through your writings.
CA.....Belmont shores....where I showed up for 5 solid yrs during the dayz of Ether, Baz Ten, Adam Brostoski, Lou Butera, H Brian, Ernesto, and the Mexican Jumping Bean.....MORROW....Ismael Paez.


I didn't realize you were around L.A. this long. You got your Pool post graduate degree the same place as me. :)
 

jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Jay thx for the trip, was nice peaking into my past through your writings.
CA.....Belmont shores....where I showed up for 5 solid yrs during the dayz of Ether, Baz Ten, Adam Brostoski, Lou Butera, H Brian, Ernesto, and the Mexican Jumping Bean.....MORROW....Ismael Paez.


Pool was alive and well in Los Angeles in the late 60's and early 70's. I remember The Mecca in Santa Monica, Tropicana Bowl in Inglewood, Beautiful Billiards and Lucky Johns in Long Beach, Big Mommas and Chopstix in the Valley, The Golden Cue and Five Points in El Monte, Silver Cue in Huntington Park, Baz 10 in San Pedro, Mother's Billiards also in Hollywood, and on and on and on. There must have been over 100 poolrooms in Greater L.A. during this time period. A "road trip" for me was a 30-45 minute drive in one direction or the other. I never had to go far to find a game. I didn't really ever need to go "on the road." If I was holding good, like four or five hundred I was content to stay home at Ye Billiard Den. If I ran low on dough I would take a ride somewhere and see what developed. What a carefree life I had and ruined it all by buying my first poolroom. I could have been a poolroom bum for life, like McGoorty. :)
 

alphadog

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pool was alive and well in Los Angeles in the late 60's and early 70's. I remember The Mecca in Santa Monica, Tropicana Bowl in Inglewood, Beautiful Billiards and Lucky Johns in Long Beach, Big Mommas and Chopstix in the Valley, The Golden Cue and Five Points in El Monte, Silver Cue in Huntington Park, Baz 10 in San Pedro, Mother's Billiards also in Hollywood, and on and on and on. There must have been over 100 poolrooms in Greater L.A. during this time period. A "road trip" for me was a 30-45 minute drive in one direction or the other. I never had to go far to find a game. I didn't really ever need to go "on the road." If I was holding good, like four or five hundred I was content to stay home at Ye Billiard Den. If I ran low on dough I would take a ride somewhere and see what developed. What a carefree life I had and ruined it all by buying my first poolroom. I could have been a poolroom bum for life, like McGoorty. :)
No Mcgoorty was handsome and a great
dancer.
 

Patrick Johnson

Fish of the Day
Silver Member
Where was Ye Billiard Den located?
Santa Monica Blvd. at Swanson, just a couple of blocks east of La Cienega.
Jay, I don't recall a Swanson St. around there - could you mean Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer? That's a couple blocks from where I lived at Santa Monica and Harper and is probably the pool hall I was trying to remember the name of in another thread ("on Santa Monica near Barney's Beanery"). I played there during 1969, apparently when you were around there too.

pj
chgo
 

arnaldo

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Pool was alive and well in Los Angeles in the late 60's and early 70's. I remember The Mecca in Santa Monica, Tropicana Bowl in Inglewood, Beautiful Billiards and Lucky Johns in Long Beach, Big Mommas and Chopstix in the Valley, The Golden Cue and Five Points in El Monte, Silver Cue in Huntington Park, Baz 10 in San Pedro, Mother's Billiards also in Hollywood, and on and on and on.
In the late 60's and into the 70's, there was a lot of great one-pocket action at a well-lit upstairs room: Celebrity Billiards on Vine St. in Hollywood. I lived two blocks away at the time. Saw a very long session with Ronnie Allen giving Ed Kelly 9-8. Other top players seen there that I enjoyed talking to, during breaks in the action, included Richie Florence, Jack "Jersey Red" Breit who I knew from NYC, Danny Diliberto (very frequent "visitor"), Lou Butera, and Joe Balsis. Endless stream of lovely pool groupies/actress wannabes "decorated" the place -- I enjoyed "talking to" them as well. Cecil Tugwell was a regular who played many of the top one-pocket and bank-pool players. I played a lot in Tiff Payne's N. Hollywood Billiards later on, in Burbank (later acquired by retired 14.1 pro, Harold "Red" Baker who had one of the most beautiful strokes of all. He was a longtime friend of Mosconi and also "Cowboy" Jimmy Moore. Both of them came in every time they were near L.A. over the years. I've still got the #5 1965 "A-Series" original Palmer that Willie sold me, literally out of his car trunk. Replaced the worn, original Irish linen wrap a couple years ago.

Arnaldo
 
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maha

from way back when
Silver Member
the billiard den was right across the street from barneys beanery. so that locates it exactly.
so it was on the edge of west hollywood and hollywood. in the 8000 block.
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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Jay, I don't recall a Swanson St. around there - could you mean Santa Monica Blvd. at Sweetzer? That's a couple blocks from where I lived at Santa Monica and Harper and is probably the pool hall I was trying to remember the name of in another thread ("on Santa Monica near Barney's Beanery"). I played there during 1969, apparently when you were around there too.

pj
chgo


There you go, it was Sweetzer. For the life of me I could not remember the exact name. Yep, I was definitely around in 1969. Barney's was a wild place and a real moneymaker, busy all the time. If you remember they had about six bar tables in there all down one side of the room. That place was on the Northeast corner of Santa Monica and La Cienega. I got that one right!

You only lived a couple of blocks from The Den. I lived at the top of the hill on Kings Road, which you got to off Sunset. Me and a friend rented the downstairs apartment in a large house for $135 a month. That was a high price to pay for a one bedroom back then but the view was amazing. I would come back home at 3 or 4 AM, smoke a doobie and lay on the floor in front of the big picture window and go to sleep gazing at the lights of the city stretched out beneath me. I loved that view. I felt like I was on top of the world. That little apartment would probably rent for about two grand today!
 
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jay helfert

Shoot Pool, not people
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the billiard den was right across the street from barneys beanery. so that locates it exactly.
so it was on the edge of west hollywood and hollywood. in the 8000 block.


Barneys was about two blocks away from the Den, an easy walk. On any night you might see drunk or high actors hanging around in there acting like fools. The guy who ran the place (Irv) would let them howl as long as they didn't get in fights. I never liked it in there. There was zero action on those bar tables. The Rainbow was the bar right across the street from the Den. A more civilized place, also full of film and TV types. They had one bar table and once in a while a big game sprung up in there when someone got drunk and tried to show off. Danny D. got in a $50 Eight Ball game in there one time and the guy he was beating on had a friend who tried every way to shark Danny. He was a real big guy too, maybe 250 and 6'4. Danny finally told him to sit down and shut up. The guy got in Danny's face and told him he was going to kick his ass. BIG MISTAKE! Danny knocked him out with one quick punch. I mean out cold on the ground. I was watching and almost missed the punch. It was like a lightning strike, that fast. Danny Diliberto could throw a punch like Bruce Lee! Short, fast and HARD!
 
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garczar

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Ye Billiard Den changed hands and the long time manager named Ray took it over. Sometime in the early 80's it closed and a dry cleaners took over the space. The HOB in Santa Monica opened in the early 1960s, during "The Hustler" boom. The same family also opened similar rooms (all named HOB) in Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, the one at 6th and Western and one on Alvarado Blvd. close to downtown. The only ones left are Santa Monica and the Valley (Sherman Oaks) location.
IIRC the Santa Monica location recently closed. Read that here i think.
 
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