KANSAS CITY'S OWN CRAIG GLAZER SHARES STORIES OF LIFE IN THE CLINK!!!
TKC Note: On this fine Sunday morning we wanted to share a thoughtful bit of writing from our pal Craig Glazer who shares his perspective on prison life and some of the colorful characters he has encountered during his adventures. Check it:
YOU MEET THE NICEST PEOPLE ... IN PRISON (WTF!)
I was watching one of my favorite Clint Eastwood movies, HANG EM HIGH, the other night. I saw the music score was composed by Dominic Frontiere. You might remember him from years past, not for his many credits in music for TV and film, but for going to prison in 1986 for scalping super bowl tickets. 500 grands worth. His wife owned the Rams, Georgia Frontiere. Dominic got nailed for tax evasion and got one year in prison. I should know I met him there. In prison at Lompoc, Ca. I thought then about all the famous and not so famous men I had the chance to meet and get to know a bit back in those dark days.
In my just over 4 years staying in west coast federal institutions I met hundreds, thousands of inmates. Some were way more publicized than myself. Most of the wealthy, high profile guys were sent straight to prison camps. No walls, safe, just boring. Dominic was a nice guy, quiet and sad, as were most. Maybe the most notable person in with me, in fact in my dorm room, camps have those, was Ivan Boesky. Yep the mega millionaire stock man who got a couple years for inside trading. At the time the richest white collar person to ever go to prison. In fact ABC came to interview Ivan, he wouldn't talk so guess who got to speak for him and the prison. Me. I was president of Toastmasters and inmate front guy. Shocker. I still have a copy of that tape. Now its funny, then it seemed important. Boesky was the man who shaped the character in the huge hit film WALL STREET, they modeled Gordon Gekko after him, Michael Douglas in the picture. Uh, no Ivan was not nearly that cool. In fact a stingy person, not too likable.
When my sentence started I was in higher level, more dangerous prisons, like Terminal Island in Long Beach, Ca. Back then not so nice. The towers, walls, guards and grey, ugly, the whole nine yards. However even there I was able to meet a few good guys. Maybe the one I best remember was an older dude named Seymour Cassel. Seymour was in my four man cell. He claimed to be an Academy Award nominated actor, best supporting role for Faces or maybe it was Love Streams. I didn't believe him, everyone in the joint has a story, most blown up or just lies. Seymour was in for mailing some blow to another state for dough. His career had fallen and he needed the money. He wanted to start an acting class with me. We did, I thought he was full of it. Yet one day he got a visit from actor director John Cassavetes. Sure enough Seymour was on the level. Years later when I got out I ran into him at the screening premiere of INDECENT PROPOSAL, he was the co star with Robert Redford and Demi Moore. He said "for Gods sake Glazer don't tell people here you met in prison." I didn't. The guy has made a huge comeback and is very wealthy today from his many film roles as the older man in current movies.
When I came into Terminal Island for holding til trial, later I bonded out, I met a guy leaving the place...John Zachary Delorean. He had won his trial in 1985, I was starting he was ending. He was held for several weeks in J2, a crap hole at TI. At the time THE case in the national news. You might remember him the car maker who got finance from coke dealers that ended up being feds. The car was made THE DELOREAN, from the movie BACK TO THE FUTURE. John was married to the beautiful morning talk show hostest, Christina Ferrare. She left him right after he won the case. John died in 2005. I had met him at my agents cleaners in Beverly Hills for a moment years before all of our troubles. Liked him.
Another person of note was FBI agent Richard Miller. The first agent convicted of treason with the FBI. Mid 80's. He got two life sentences plus 50 years for selling some worthless training manuals to a Russian female agent he was having an affair with, Sventiana Ogorodnikov. He was celled next to me at Lompoc Prison the high level joint not the camp. I was there in transit on the way to Saffard, Az. Miller was a tragic figure. He had 8 kids, was overweight and a laughing stock as an agent. He fell in love with this women he said, got 50 grand for what he claims were worthless papers and ruined his terrible life. I kinda felt sorry for him. He clearly was no big time agent and I doubt he had much important information to give anyone. He did get released in 1994, the feds took pity on him. The Russian lady is still in prison, wow.
There were many more, my pal and actor Seth Jaffe who got a nice reality show a few years back, Relapse, when he got out. Great guy good friend, miss him. Aaron Binder my dutch uncle in LA. An older Wall Street guy who got tied up in some FED EX type scandal. He and his wife, an artist let me stay with them in Santa Monica when I moved back to KC and had to fly into LA for film work in the 90's. Aaron passed away a few years back.
Career wise the key man I met was in Boron, Ca. The prison camp, home of the WaterGate boys. Tom Blackburn. He got out with me a year of so after we met. Tom gave me a job producing CHAMPIONS FOREVER starring Muhammad Ali. I would later own the series and have a second chance in Hollywood because of that chance.
Most of the men I met are now faceless and nameless. We all had our stories and tales of woe. Some belonged there, some didn't. It was an interesting experience. Not one I'd ever like to do again. The tales of broken dreams by thousands of men who made one too many mistakes. I know I was one of them.