He's a lawyer, but he's got a pilot


Don't let the British accent or the double middle initials fool you. Anton J.S. Keating, the twice-defeated candidate for Baltimore state's attorney, might seem a tad too proper for Baltimore - until he starts bragging about the family.

"My mother was in Caddyshack. She got hit in the head with a golf ball," Keating says. "She was also in Porky's."

Keating was telling me this the other day as a way of touting his show-biz ties, which also include a brother, Charles Keating, who for years played the villainous Carl Hutchins on the soap Another World. Connections like that are important to Keating these days because he has given up on becoming Charm City's top prosecutor in favor of a new dream: creating a TV series about Baltimore public defenders.

There's been no shortage of crime dramas set in Baltimore, but Keating says TV has yet to focus on the role played by public defenders.

"It's the missing link," says Keating, who was a prosecutor and public defender in Baltimore before going into private practice. "Nobody examines or is willing to say, 'That's right - I know the guy's guilty, but I want to show off what a good lawyer I am. So I'm going to go in there and give him more than he deserves.' What trained me to meet a psycho killer, control him, team up with him and then go into court and destroy perfectly honest witnesses? That's what we're charged to do."

Is he talking about a particular case? "All of them," he says.

Keating has written a pilot, created a Web site (www.devilsangels.info) and already shopped the script around to David Simon and Charles S. Dutton. He says Dutton gave him the most hope, something he chalks up to the actor's personal experience.

"He's been in jail," Keating says. "I like his anger."

Frankly, it may be a bit too much

Two of life's most annoying features - ringing cell phones and political ads - have teamed up in the form of the campaign jingle ringtone.

You might expect this kind of innovation in one of the many high-profile races in Maryland this year. But no, the ringtone has popped up in a down-ballot race - way down the ballot, in the contest for Baltimore County Circuit Court judge.

It comes from challenger Arthur Frank, who is offering the ringtone free at his Web site, www.arthurfrankforjudge.com. Download it, and every time you get a call, a chorus will belt out a little ditty that starts, "A judge should have integrity. Our judge should be Frank." Warning: Lawyers whose cell phones go off in court will be in double trouble, at least in the county.

Frank also is sponsoring 17 youth baseball teams, a move that has decked out dozens of ballplayers across the county in "Frank for Judge" shirts.

Frank's campaign has inspired the first complaint to the newly formed Maryland Judicial Campaign Conduct Committee, but not because of these offbeat efforts to get his name out. It's because the words "Judge" and "Frank" on bumper stickers that read "People's Choice for Judge - Frank," are too large for the liking of Hugo Kuntz. He says it reads like "Judge Frank," implying that the upstart is the incumbent.

"It's totally deceptive advertising on his part," says Kuntz.

Who's Kuntz? In his complaint and in an interview with me, he described himself a concerned citizen. "I am not involved in politics at all," said Kuntz, chairman of American Office Equipment.

Turns out Kuntz also is an honorary co-chairman of the county sitting judges' re-election committee. Kuntz also acknowledged that Trish Norman, wife of sitting Judge Mickey Norman, is a longtime employee.

"That has nothing to do with my feelings," Kuntz said, adding that he nevertheless "happens to like Judge Norman" and "happened to be at his investiture."

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

I caught Mr. McFeely, the eternally hurried mailman from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, hurrying to Baltimore yesterday. McFeely (aka David Newell) was on his way from his Pittsburgh home for an appearance tomorrow morning at Port Discovery, which has a hands-on exhibit based on the public television show. "I'm sort of in a hurry," he said via cell phone on I-70. He said he was going 60 and signed off with, "Speedy delivery."

Connect the dots

The lights go out Sunday for Hairspray, which began what was billed as a "multiyear" run at the Luxor in February. Headline in the Las Vegas Review-Journal: "'Hairspray' won't stick in Las Vegas." John Waters tells me he doesn't know why Charm City didn't play in Sin City. "I'm the wrong person to ask because the only time I go to Vegas is to visit my friend who's in prison there. So I guess I don't have my finger on the pulse of the theatergoers in Las Vegas." ... During a Yankees pitching change in the O's game Sunday, Bob Ehrlich, seated right by the on-deck circle, chatted up Brian Roberts. If The Gov was giving hitting advice (my spies say Roberts kept nodding at whatever Ehrlich was saying), it didn't do much good. Roberts finally got up to bat - and struck out. ... At the annual Beth Tfiloh Brotherhood donor gala this week, participants were asked not just to shell out - but to check out. "Please Patronize Our Advertisers," the program read, right under an ad for Sol Levinson & Bros.

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