Monday, August 1, 2011
JACKIE GLEASON AND UFOS
Gleason was an extremely serious armchair UFO researcher, and prided himself on his huge collection of UFO-related books, which numbered into the thousands. As soon as a new title came out, even in Europe or the UK, Jackie had a copy. Little did he suspect that his interest in that topic would one day gain him access to something that most people would never even believe, and would leave others who shared his interests either skeptical or forever jealous.
It was a chance conversation one afternoon, back in 1974 in Florida, while Jackie was playing golf with one of his regular partners, President Richard Nixon. Jackie had mentioned his interest in UFOs and his large collection of books, and the president admitted that he also shared Jackie's interest and had a sizeable collection of UFO-oriented materials of his own. At the time, the president said little about what he actually knew, but things were to change drastically later on that same night.
One can only imagine Gleason's surprise when President Nixon showed up at his house around midnight, completely alone and driving his own private car. When Jackie asked him why he was there, Nixon told him that he wanted to take him somewhere and show him something. He got into the president's car, and they ended up at the gates of Homestead Air Force Base. They passed through security and drove to the far end of the base, to a tightly-guarded building.
At this point, I will quote directly from Gleason himself, from an interview he gave to UFO researcher and author Larry Warren:
"We drove to the very far end of the base in a segregated area, finally stopping near a well-guarded building. The security police saw us coming and just sort of moved back as we passed them and entered the structure. There were a number of labs we passed through first before we entered a section where Nixon pointed out what he said was the wreckage from a flying saucer, enclosed in several large cases. Next, we went into an inner chamber and there were six or eight of what looked like glass-topped Coke freezers. Inside them were the mangled remains of what I took to be children. Then - upon closer examination - I saw that some of the other figures looked quite old. Most of them were terribly mangled as if they had been in an accident."
Gleason was understandably excited by all of this, but also quite traumatized, and said he couldn't eat or sleep properly for weeks afterwards, and found himself drinking heavily until he was able to regain his composure. His wife at the time, Beverly, recalls him being out very late that night and speaking excitedly about what he had seen when he returned home. Later on, however, when she and Gleason were splitting up and she told the story to a writer at Esquire Magazine, which printed it in an article, relations between her and the entertainer deteriorated and Gleason became very upset and angry that the story had been made public. For this reason many people, including Beverly herself, have wondered at the truth of the story. However, in his interview with Larry Warren, who was invited to Jackie's house in person because Gleason wanted to hear firsthand about Warren's experience at Bentwaters Air Force Base in England, it was clear that Jackie was being honest and sincere:
"You could tell that he was very sincere - he took the whole affair very seriously, and I could tell that he wanted to get the matter off his chest, and that was why he was telling me all of this. Jackie felt just like I do, that the government needs to 'come clean,' and tell us all it knows about space visitors. It's time they stopped lying to the public and release all the evidence they have. When they do, then we'll all be able to see the same things the late Jackie Gleason did."
For a long time the incident affected Gleason. Looking back, his professional output in the mid 1970s suddenly slowed down, which would be the same time he visited the site with President Nixon. Whether or not aliens have visited this planet is another story for another blog, but what I find interesting is the interests of these classic Hollywood stars. Here is Jackie Gleason, The Great One, looking up in the sky and wondering what is out there. It shows that despite Gleason's involvement in show business, he was indeed a renaissance man with a lot of other fascinating interests...