Glazer: The Miami Vice That Got Away

don-johnson-coolWe all know about KU’s great basketball program…

What we don’t hear enough about is their fantastic drama department. Years ago it launched Missouri born actor Don Johnson to big time stardom.

In 1982 my agent, Harold Moskowitz called me and my crime partner Don Woodbeck in for a quick meeting. Both of us had moved to Hollywood and we had a deal on a movie about our lives called OUTLAWS. Basically two guys – us – posing as cops who weren’t but later became real lawmen. Nice. The media had jumped on it and we got lots of press in the LA Times, Today Show, Variety and so on.

Little did I know at the time that this would be the peak of that project for decades to come. Because now we were famous outlaw/lawmen – at least in LA and in the media.

CBS owned our life story at that time, paid a nice fee, and got us into acting classes with people no less than Tom Selleck. They also had been trying to get us jobs, acting and get us paid to teach actors how to be undercover cops.

Because Don and I had been interviewed a ton on the subject, we had become hot as consultants.

CBS had a movie department then and OUTLAWS was to be a major film, not a TV series.

Harold sent us to meet the producers and executives in charge of a new TV show coming out called MIAMI VICE. They wanted Don and I to work with the actors on how to look, talk, walk, and dress the parts – just advice nothing more.

A young actor there that nobody but me knew named Don Johnson had beaten out two bigger names for the lead role as Sonny Crockett in the show. Yep, Johnson beat out Nick Nolte and Jeff Bridges.

I knew Johnson from his few film leads. I was a huge movie fan and saw everything, even his bombs like THE MAGIC GARDEN OF STANLEY SWEETHEART, his rock and roll cowboy film, ZACHARIAH and even the Harrad Experiment.

Griffith2It was during the making of that picture that 21 year old Don Johnson started dating 14 year old Melanie Griffith, the daughter of the film’s co star Tippi Hedren of THE BIRDS fame.

Yep, if Johnson wasn’t  a star it woulda been rape.

He banged her at 14 – she even says so – in fact they married for the first time in 1976 when she was 19 and remarried again in 1989. Griffith left Johnson for her co star, Antonio Banderas several years and two kids later.

So Miami Vice was Don’s first real shot at stardom. My partner and I had our little shot at being involved. We asked for $1,500 a week each. Michael Mann’s company called and offered $500 and we countered at $1,000.

The series started in 1984 and made household names of Philip (where is he now) Michael Thomas and even Edward James Olmos. Don Johnson became the Marlon Brando of TV in the 80’s.

Miami Vice WAS THE 80’s.

His clothes, no socks, colored t shirts under his Armani jackets, the cars, the music..it was MTV on roids.  The show lasted five years and Don’s career never got as big again. Then came Nash Bridges in 1996 with Cheech Marin, a big hit, six years at $150 grand a week. Later Don would star in many films and yet another TV series, Just Legal.

He’s best known as a smart ass in films like Tin Cup. Yep, Don was to ladies in his own way what Warren Beatty had been in his movie career. He had them all, had too many and too often.

Johnson today is 63 and still looking pretty good in that Armani. Check out the Ray-Bans.

The Miami Vice people called Harold and said $700 was the best they could do and my agent said they will come up, just give it a day. They never called again. How cool would that have been to work on Miami Vice with Johnson and maybe get on the show.

Oh well. Who knew?

The good news; Don has battled through many dark spots in his life, even rehab a few times and seems to be doing well these days. He’s a good dad I hear. Sadly I never really met the man, only saw him at a few functions where we shook hands.

Years later I did work with Edward James Olmos from Miami Vice. We did the movie Latin Legends: Champions Forever on middle weight and light weight champs, almost all Latinos. Olmos narrated the film. We got to catch up on Johnny Dare‘s show about a year ago when James called in about his next film, great guy.

Yep, sometimes, when its nice out and I get into my black Lotus, with my dark shades I can just hear that famous opening music from….MIAMI VICE.

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17 Responses to Glazer: The Miami Vice That Got Away

  1. Duke says:

    Good Lord. I have to throw my 2 centavos in. Everybody gets their 15 minutes. My wife and I were on the set of Streets of San Francisco, on our honeymoon, in December 1976. It was surrealistic. We were just out, checking out San Fran at midnight and wandered into the scene. Under an overpass. Karl Malden was cool. But who exactly was this Michael Douglas character? Wow.

  2. chuck says:

    If the Mommas And Pappas sang Glen Fry for the Glaze, Califorinia Dreamin.

    The sun goes down, the night rolls in,
    Glazers got a hundy on Jeremy Lin,
    The moon comes up, the Rockets fall,
    Glaze is by the phone for his agent’s call,

    You’re outta your room and down the street,
    LA’s weather sure beats this snow and sleet,
    The traffic crawls, you slip and slide,
    F*ck a Lamborghini I need a another ride,

    Everyone knows where I’m goin,
    Everyone knows where I’ve been,

    God do I hate this city,
    God this sh*t just ain’t right,
    God it’s just such a pity,
    I can’t get a flight.

  3. Lance The Intern says:

    You forgot to mention the best Don Johnson movie of all time, A Boy and His Dog.

  4. harley says:

    HEY GLAZE…HOW ABOUT THIS FOR RADIO…SUNG TO LOOKING
    FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACE…

    I’ve been lookin for love in all the wrong places
    Westport..the plaza..independence avenue spaces
    looking for love…without paying the hos some cash!
    looking for love…without getting the rash!
    lookin for love with some jew princess with cash!

    I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places…
    lookin for love in the wrong hangout spaces..
    lookin for love…with some young hottie blonde!
    lookin for love…with some long legged gash.
    but ya know…i’d rather a jew broad with cash!

    Glaze…harley hereby authorizes you with the complete usage and unlimited
    revenues and rights to harleys song “lookin”. All royalties and future
    compensation remains with glaze under federal law #454545666.

    happy hanuka/kwanza/christmas one and all

  5. harley says:

    the song was ‘LOOKIN FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES” BY
    don johnson…great song!!!!!!

    • Lance The Intern says:

      The song “looking For Love” (the one you attempted to parody here) was by Johnny Lee.

      My favorite version was by Buckwheat, however.

      • Tom Little says:

        Id be embarrassed to post something that stupid, appaarently it doesn’t trouble him in the least. Why is that not a surprise? There is a substantial difference between parody and idiocy. But that is clearly lost on the man.

        • Craig Glazer says:

          I think Harley is just trying to be a card, its just him being him and funny in his way…so no big deal.

          • the dude says:

            I know Glaze, my mom always told me to be nice to the special needs kids too; that’s why I don’t try to beat up on the Harlinator too much.

  6. balbonis moleskine says:

    Song parodies are as gay as cosmos at Trio anyway.

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