STARRY EYES

One of the friends I grew up with in Pennsylvania loves show business. To Keith, the stars are real icons, people worth listening to and emulating (of course, he grew up in the heyday of Stallone and Schwarzenegger). So Keith was very excited when he first came out to visit me back in the eighties, only to have his starstruck eyes opened at every turn.

Right after I picked him up at the airport, we headed to Westwood for a bite to eat. While walking around, we saw soap star Kin Shriner of “General Hospital” in front of us. Keith was amazed that Kin was just wandering around with no bodyguards and no one bothering him.

A few days later, I was assigned my very first interview as part of my job as researcher for Dick Clark’s radio show, “Countdown America,” and I took Keith along. I was supposed to attend a rehearsal for a tribute to Oscar Award winning music in order to interview Burt Bacharach. While I went off and talked to Burt in the lobby, Keith sat in the audience of the theater and watched the rehearsal, which included Bob Hope, who was part of a salute to his longtime co-star, the late Bing Crosby. Keith told me later that Bob and a friend sat down right in front of Keith. Keith overheard Bob’s friend ask Bob what he was doing at the show. Bob complained that whenever anyone paid tribute to Bing, he was forced to be there. Keith couldn’t believe that Bob was putting down his fellow star!

But the crowning moment came when we bought a star map and headed out to Malibu to see if we could find the home of one of Keith’s favorite TV actors (who shall remain nameless). We parked on PCH and soon found the address we were looking for, although there was no proof the actor lived there. Then a man in scuba gear came walking up the beach. My friend went up to him and found out he was a stunt man practicing diving for a movie. Then Keith pointed at the house and asked, “Do you know if ___ ___ lives there?” The stunt man answered, “Do you mean the old drunk?”

But in spite of having his respect for the stars trampled in the mud at every turn, Keith still had a good time during his visit. He’s a huge fan of the “Planet Of The Apes” movie series and when we went to take a look at the old set of “MASH” at Malibu Creek State Park, he realized we were walking through the area where they filmed the original “Planet Of The Apes” movie. Of course, the stars were long gone, which was good because who knows how his love for the acting of Roddy McDowell would have been besmirched …

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