Brian Keith, Doug Drexler and Vince Gironda

Many of you may remember Brian Keith from the 60′s TV show Family Affair. I recall him very fondly in The Russians are Coming! Keith was anything but Hobbit-like, and it was fairly well known by all that he was ferried to work each morning by John Barleycorn.

A dear friend of mine by the name of Nick Kane was a gunner in a Navy torpedo plane during WWII. Keith was his crew chief. Nick finished his life as a trainer at the famous and infamous Vince’s Gym in Studio City, where I met him.

Vince’s had been there for 50 years, and at one time it was the only gym in the Valley.

The studios sent their stars there, and Vince and Nick would whip them into shape. Alumnus included Clint Eastwood, Robert Blake, Clint Walker, Doug McClure and Brian Keith.

I ran into Brian one day during shooting at the dark craft service table. Just me and Keith. “Hi, Mr. Keith … Doug Drexler from the art department … Vince Gironda sends his regards!”

He looked at the floor, took a deep breath, hawked up a huge loogie, and spat it onto the cold concrete. Brian Keith regarded it thoughtfully for a second or two, and then with the sole of his boot ground it into the concrete, sand, cat pee and flea mixture below.

He then grunted, and without looking up said in a voice that sounded like 40 miles of gravel road …

He still dying his hair with that shoe polish?

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