Glazer: Historic Bridger Building, Birthplace of Stanford’s Goes on the Blocks

The year was 1974 and Stanford Glazer looked around the old print shop, owned by Walter Langdon

The Langsdon’s wanted $125,000 for the old building – the former Jim Bridger building – the oldest standing building in Kansas City. Instead Stan decided to lease the place for around $4,000 a month. He beat out Victor Fontana and it opened as Stanford and Sons in April 1975.

To say it was a smash hit, would be an understatement.

Stan had a few partners; me, Jerry Mays (former Chiefs great), his cousin Lenard Glazer, as well as the law firm that housed the Craig brothers and Steamer brothers. Nice group. Within two years Stan bought out his partners, except me.

Stanford and Sons with its "flower pot bread" and fun menu would rival Houlihan’s on the Plaza for the ONE fun spot in KC to see and be seen. For months you couldn’t get in the place it was so packed. I remember as a young asst. manager being told by a male customer, "You guys will never make it, too busy." Those were the days two hour lunch waits and 3-4 hour waits on weekend nights for dinner.

In 1979/80 I went to LA, to see the Rolling Stones concert with Stevie Wonder. And I stopped in the Improv, which was still fairly new, on Melrose. I met Robin Williams who had just left Mork and MIndy TV series. Robin was trying to be a full-time stand up comic. He offered to stop in at Stanfords and practice for his big show at Kemper.

He did and the rest is history. We became a nationally known club.

All the stars called and wanted to play our comedy club. Sam Kinison, Bill Hicks, Roseanne Barr, Elayne Boosler, Gabe Kaplan, Jimmie Walker. Our club was scouted for shows like, "Star Search" where they came in and found David Naster and Sinbad. Stanford’s went on to become the best known, most important entertainment venue in the city’s history. No argument.

Stanford’s has been mentioned and written about all over the world as one of the places where it all began. Today we are still talked about on THE TONIGHT SHOW, CHELSEA HANDLER, LETTERMAN, and LOPEZ (he worked our club).

But all good things come to an end.

Like Hearne wrote in the Kansas City Star on the front page, when we became Johnny Dare’s in 2004. "All things end even flower pot bread." Sadly he was right. A 30 year run ended. A year later we left Westport for good (unless we come back).

How hot was the location?

Well, in 2000 I offered the Langdons $1 million for the building. By then it was worn down and needed lots of work. They wanted $2 million. Best deal I never made. Greed got the better of them. We told them without us, there was no Westport or value to the building.  

Time proved us right.

They sold the building in 2006 for $220,000 dollars. Of course, we had paid them more than $2 million in rent over 30 years. They did raise the rent over the years.

Today there’s a plaque on the outside of the building, proclaiming the Bridger Building and former Stanford’s as a historical landmark. Bridger and pal Kit Carson took wagon trains out west from that spot in the 1800’s.  It’s named the oldest building. Kelly’s claims that title, but paperwork uncovered by the KC Star’s Joyce Smith proved that the Bridger building was about 6 months older. I can see why the Kelly’s thought that. The Langdon print shop was not exactly in the news back then.

Stanford’s more than anything else put Westport on the map.

Along with Kelly’s, The Prospect and Old Stanley’s, Westport became the ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT of Kansas City. I could write a book on this. Maybe I will.

Ah, the good old days, gone and forgotten by most of us. But not me. Now the building is up for sale again. A shadow of what it once was and will never be again.
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30 Responses to Glazer: Historic Bridger Building, Birthplace of Stanford’s Goes on the Blocks

  1. Rick says:

    Sad in many ways. The end of your legacy there. And obviously the end of huge comedy stars in the KC area as that type of glory has never been recaptured. GREAT PIECE. Depending on the stories you tell me be book material. But based on what I heard from u this morning on the radio I hope no bathroom photos are enclosed in the book.

  2. Bad Ass jew, Berkowitz says:

    Bitter Sweat Tale
    Heard you on Dare, funny guys you and him. LIked your comic. Sad but fun and interesting story.

  3. Pat says:

    kinda off topic
    Craig-What was the other comedy club that was on Wesport Rd?.
    It was by the current World Market. Was that Stanfords as well?

  4. kcfred says:

    nice article
    I ain’t hatin and I ain’t haitian. Nice article. You should stick to stuff you know. And you knew that well. See?

  5. Bid Dub says:

    Nit Picking
    I hate to nit-pick, but Mork and Mindy ran through 1982, so I think you may have your years off a bit there Craig.

  6. Hearne Christopher says:

    Yep, Stan moved around a bit over the years.

  7. chuck says:

    Killer piece Glaze
    I used to work for Vic a long time ago at Mittys.

    Sam Kinison killed me. Jesus, the first time I heard him do the bit about not living in the desert because nothing grew in sand, I shit you not I got sick laughin.

    God he was funny. I went and caught his act at, I think, the Midland. Hot chicks, big laughs, great night.

    What was he like?

  8. Eric says:

    @ Pat
    I was thinking of that spot too. I think it was next door to Lynn Dickey’s old place, wasn’t it?

  9. Bad Ass Jew, Berkowitz says:

    I’m in love with Craig. There, I said it.

  10. Craig Glazer says:

    Sam Was Cool
    Stan made me fire Sam K in early 80’s. He said, “you hired him, fire him, he’s running off all the older people with his loud mouth!” So I fired Sam. Moved to LA the next year ran into Sam. Before I did, he had become a star and Stan called him, “Sam its Stan Glazer, Stanford and Sons, hey we want you to work here…I know my son, Dumbshit Craig fired you, but we got rid of him so…” Sam came back. I didn’t know that had happened when I ran into Sam and we got into it….it all worked out. He was a nice guy, loved porno chicks, coke and well thats about it, oh yeah and to be on stage. Hard not to like the man.

    The confusion is that Stan had to move down the street for a few years while Manor built its white elephant…then we moved back in the mid 80’s, I was in LA by that time. Stan moved back down there again in 90 to save rent money. I took over the club and put them both back at 504 Westport in 94…there were no other midtown comedy clubs. Funny Bone had a spot on 103rd in the early 80’s lasted three years, Improv has gone broke twice now, their club in Zona is about to close, sadly, nice guys. And other clubs came and went, including David Nastors, two owned by Clint, who bought OP from us when we moved to Legends in 07. I have never had to close a club, due to lack of biz, we lost our lease in Westport and sold OP to own Legends, after 8 good years in OP.

    Yes I met Williams in early 82 or late 81 after his show was canned, maybe there were some more episodes for 82 already shot, not sure..but it was after 80 you are right.

  11. Black Barbie says:

    I Was Too Young When It Rocked
    I am only 22 now, but my older friends tell me club 504 was the shit back in the 90’s and 2000’s. I missed it. Craig you should open a club like that somewhere.

  12. Harlow says:

    Flower Pot Bread
    I used to come there just for the bread. Stan hit on me like ten times. He sure was a talker. Miss that place.

  13. chuck says:

    Barbie kills me.
    “I am only 22 now, but my older friends tell me club 504 was the shit back in the 90’s and 2000’s. I missed it. Craig you should open a club like that somewhere.”

    The 90s was last month to me.

  14. kcfred says:

    The 70s was last week. Kids.

  15. Radio Man says:

    KY 102 and Stanfords
    Stan used to come to our station and hit on the sales girls and Tanna. Even Frankie, Hey she was a hot girl back then, so was Tanna. Westport has just never been the same since you guys left, sorry to say. Fun times back then. Good luck at Legends.

  16. Scott says:

    Does Naster Still Do Standup
    Man he was a funny,funny guy. Saw him at Westport at least ten times in ten years. Is he still at it?

  17. Man Hater says:

    How Things Have Changed
    The Plaza is not what it used to be, but Westport is a far cry from the hip area of the 80’s/90’s. You guys were my favorite restaurant in Westport. Saw a couple shows there, enjoyed it. Legends is a comer, see you out there one day.

  18. Better Man says:

    Johnny Dare’s Could Have Worked
    Just not in Westport. You guys waited too long, the area was already messed up. The Plaza or Johnson county made more sense.

  19. Westport Lover says:

    Lunch Is Dead
    Hard to rmember long waits at lunch anywhere. For that matter a wait for dinner anywhere is now rare. The economy, crime, too many choices have destroyed eating out. Everyone just goes to fast food it seems. We are all in a hurry.

  20. Kellys Man says:

    Never Liked You or Stan or Nigro
    Always hated Stanfords and you guys. Never liked flower pot bread, just the pizza at Kellys. Glad you moved.

  21. harley says:

    Glazer….you guys burned
    lots of people not paying bills ove the years……and you got cut off by lots of vendoers.
    people cut you off….i understand you like to make hay about how great you did 30 years
    ago….but the truth is that your dad stiffed everyone he could….love this story..
    remember jp’s….the clothing store down on the corenr…hottest store for clothes in kc….

  22. chuck says:

    Frankie Hutchison was WAY fuckin hot!
    My buddy knows her now, she is hangin in out in Shawnee.

  23. mermaid says:

    Well that explans everything. Berkowitz is gay. Maybe Craig will go out with you.

  24. Steve Conklin says:

    Not True Glazers Paid Their Tab
    I was the general manager of both Stanfords and Johnny Dares in the 2000’s. I came from GR. I worked closely with Craig and Jeff. They paid me every dime they ever owed me, they paid all the bills they owed, and they paid lots. Now when American Crome closed in 04, the place that took over Johnny Dares, they took Chapter 7. In that move you by law cannot pay anyone anymore from the day you take it, thats the federal law. Remember Craig and Jeff were not the offical owners, the family was. If you don’t pay say a liquor bill, you are done! They don’t deliever anymore, unless its COD, and even then, not good. Remember Craig and Jeff ran Stanfords from 1990 til 2004 and after that moved to OP, which they already had since 99. They have a good rep with clients. Thats why they are a success. Now Stan before them maybe was a bit different, I didn’t work with Stan. He likely had more issues cause he opened and closed several places around the nation and in KC. So likely he had problems in the end, thats how Craig and Jeff took over.

    This is true in all business, I know it happened to me when I owned a couple restaruants in California. They love you when its hot and boy when things get tight, they run and hide. You become the bad guy. Give these guys credit, they have survived this tough business for decades and brought much joy to so many thousands. Me included. They are both well meaning good guys and yes I know about THE KING OF STING, those targets were bad guys not food salesman.

  25. Rick says:

    Tanna was never hot. Looked like a bird.

    The Sam Kinison Story doesn’t make sense. Why would you have to fire a comic? You just don’t book him again.

  26. harley says:

    stan was a crook
    i know who he burned…and he took down some big bills…wehther it was
    stan or whoever…its still glaze….
    hopefully glaze now runs a good operations…pays bills…butstan was a con man
    according ot the kc star article….big house with no furniture….stayed in house
    til foreclosed….
    “owned by the family”…..explain that….

  27. Craig Glazer says:

    Wish I Knew All That
    Harley thanks for sharing. I paid all our bills thats why we are open and loved. As for Stan, I explained all that, he had winners and losers, losers always end up owing someone, don’t they. In the end its you or them. Not good. Funny almost nobody ever thanks anyone for paying millions til they are late on a bill for two hundred bucks, then you hear from them, know what I mean. Its a thankless world for the most part. I feel I have treated people fairly all the time.

    As for family, that means my Mom God Rest her soul, was the owner as was Grandpa Benny in Westport. They were the presidents and so on, before them it was Stan and so on…thats all.

    Simply put if that were true, we wouldn’t be in business, it just doesn’t work that way. They take you OUT. Look at all the closed restaruants and bars in KC there are tons, almost all of them closed owing big bucks in rent, booze, food, employees its common. The owners went bust and that was that. It happens. Nobody means for it too, it just does, ASK WALLSTREET.

  28. Jack Bat says:

    Harley Whats The Deal?
    I think Craig and his bro’s do a good job and have a solid rep in the eating and drinking community. Thats well known, not sure about 20 plus years back with Stan, does that matter now?

  29. Gamer says:

    Miss The Old Westport
    Yeah, it was so much fun in those days, not now.

  30. Toco Time says:

    Move Back To Westport
    We need you guys.

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