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Jackie Gleason's UFO Encounter

The best favor to be owed is one owed by the President of the USA!
Jackie Gleason will always be remembered as one of America’s greatest comedy talents. Born in Brooklyn, New York City, I guess you could say that he was a graduate of the school of hard knocks. Maybe that’s why he always seemed to work harder the everyone else. When it come time for him to get a show on TV, he wanted to own it! Unheard of in the days of early TV, Gleason often penned deals that allowed him to produce most of his own shows.

Everything Gleason did, he did with great passion. Every script for the TV shows had to be just the way he envisioned it. No one was ever allowed to step out of character. Camera shots and angles were always set up the way he wanted them. The passion also extended into his personal life. Fascinated by Flying Saucers and the unexplained, he ultimately assembled one of the world’s greatest parapsychology, UFO and occult libraries. The bulk of it resides today at the University of Miami Library.

In 1982 I was a guest on a talk show at a Miami radio station. The subject was UFOs and the Paranormal. After the show, I was handed a note by the receptionist. This often happened when I did radio guest spots because some people preferred to share their own UFO or Paranormal experience with me off the air. While walking to my car, I took a quick look at the note. It said, “Please call Mister Gleason at….” When I arrived back at my hotel room, I called the number, asked for Mister Gleason and gave my name. An assistant got on the phone and informed me that Jackie Gleason wanted to speak to me, if possible, the next day at a Fort Lauderdale location. Needless to say, I accepted the invitation!

The meeting location was a bar at the Jolly Roger Hotel in Fort Lauderdale. Now I don’t know if Gleason owned the hotel or merely had friends there, but after stopping by the front desk, I was escorted to a small bar that was closed to the public at that time of day. Gleason sat at a table like a king holding court, but looked older and weaker then I had imagined he would. I wondered why Gleason hadn’t met me in any one of his favorite Miami haunts, but it may have been that this was supposed to be a low profile event. Either way, I knew that Gleason was a serious guy who hated small talk and I wasn’t about to ruffle his feathers.

After a brief handshake, Gleason asked me a number of questions about my UFO and Paranormal investigations. We talked for about an hour and a half. Actually, he asked questions and I answered them. “You know I get your newsletter,” he said knowingly. “Good stuff!” He was especially interested in articles that covered the topic of crashed UFOs. At that time a lot of buzz had been created by former military officers who had begun to speak of their involvement with the cover-up of UFO crashes.

Out of the blue, Gleason told me how that Richard Nixon was a good friend of his. He had supported Nixon in every possible way during his successful bid for the Presidency in 1968. In 1971, Jackie Gleason attended a small White House dinner. After dinner, Gleason spoke privately with Nixon. He asked the President if there was anything that Nixon could tell him about UFOs? Were they real? Were they Alien Spacecraft? According to Gleason, Nixon told him, “Well Jackie, if you can arrange to arrive at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa sometime in the next few days, I’ll arrange to have you shown some things that may help answer your questions!”

Gleason arrived in Tampa, Florida, a day and a half later. After calling a phone number provided to him by someone on Nixon’s staff, he headed out to MacDill AFB. After arriving on the base, he was taken to a dark colored building that appeared to be some sort of storage facility. Once inside, he had to pass through several levels of security. Finally, Gleason was escorted into a large room where some strange debris lay on the floor. An officer told him, “This material is from Roswell.” No emotion, just a matter of fact statement.

The officer handed Gleason a small piece which seemed almost weightless and very flexible. Just then, a light came on in the center part of the room. Jackie was astonished to see what looked like a large piece of a broken disc just floating a few feet above the floor. Warned not to approach it, Gleason still got an eyeful. But the surprises weren’t over!

After just a few minutes, Gleason was escorted to another room. Three containers with glass plates for viewing greeted him. “These were the occupants found near the object you just saw.” Again, with little emotion, the officer gave Jackie a one sentence description that spoke volumes. The beings were about four to five feet tall. Two of the bodies were badly damaged, but one was in very good shape. As Gleason looked at it, the officer said, “This one died later.” It had large oval eyes, grayish skin and looked male. “Are they all males?” Gleason asked the officer. “Your guess is as good as ours.” He answered Jackie with a slight smile. It was time to go.

The experience of seeing the object and bodies affected Gleason more then he first realized. Although he had a hit variety show on CBS, Jackie walked away from everything for a few years to study more about UFOs and the Paranormal. It wasn’t until 1975 that he went back to work in a meaningful way.

If Gleason was affected by the experience he had, I was affected by his description of it! I met Jackie Gleason one more time at his New York estate. I didn’t bring a camera on either occasion because appearing with celebrities wasn’t what I was or am about. I was more interested in what Gleason, with millions of dollars to spend o the Paranormal, had learned about it. As things turned out, it was being owed a favor that brought him what he desired most. I just wish that he had brought a camera when he got to meet what may be the greatest celebrities on the earth, dead or living!

Note: Beverly McKittrick, Gleason’s ex-wife, later wrote a book about him which included what he told her about his trip to MacDill.

About the Author

A native New Yorker now living in Arizona, Bill Knell is a forty-something guy with a wealth of knowledge and experience. He's written hundreds of articles on a wide variety of subjects. A popular Speaker, Bill Knell presents seminars on a number of topics that entertain, train and teach. A popular radio and television show Guest, you've heard Bill on thousands of top-rated shows in all formats and seen him on local, national and international television programs.

Bill Knell