posted on Jun, 3 2005 @ 01:58 PM
I was enjoying this month's Modern Drunkard Monthly and read about Jackie Gleason's rise to fame. Towards the end of the article, he was telling
about his alien encounter. Below is the clipped piece and the link to the article. It was pretty cool that he got to see something like that.
When he (Jackie Gleason) found he couldn’t drink all his money, he started spending small fortunes on explorations of occultism and UFOs, two fields
that had long fascinated him. His recently acquired insomnia allowed him to devour hundreds of books speculating about strange, unexplained phenomena
and aliens plotting amongst humanity. He loved to argue the subjects and during one knock-down drag-out debate with a newspaper columnist at Toots
Shor’s, he received an unexpected affirmation of his beliefs. Gleason assured the columnist that UFOs had been seen by both sides during World War
II, and that four Presidents had told him they were real. The columnist scoffed until General R. O’Donnell, the head of the Strategic Air Force
Command, overheard the two arguing, walked up, whispered, ‘Jackie’s right,” then walked away.
Gleason’s second wife, Beverly McKittrick, claimed Jackie was given an even grander affirmation by President Richard Nixon, Jackie’s frequent
golfing partner. According to her, Nixon ditched his Secret Service entourage, picked up Jackie and drove him to a heavily guarded compound at the
Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. There he showed Jackie the wreckage of a crashed alien spaceship and the frozen bodies of dead
extraterrestrials. Beverly claimed the event heavily traumatized Jackie—he couldn’t sleep for weeks and had to double his usual intake of alcohol
just to get back to normal.
Not that Jackie needed a glimpse of dead aliens to give him a reason to drink. He had a lifelong habit of drinking heaviest while working and in 1958
he went back to prime-time, repeatedly switching networks and signing ever larger deals. Ever fearful of creeping ennui, he experimented with a
variety of formats including: a game show (You’re in the Picture, 1961) so bad he went on air to apologize for it; a brilliant one-on-one talk
show (The Jackie Gleason Show, 1961) and a satirical comedy program (Jackie Gleason’s American Scene Magazine, 1962-66).