For confidentiality reasons, I won’t tell you the exact location of Jackie Gleason’s house in Hialeah. I will tell you that Miami Country Club built the house especially for him, Jackie Gleason, the big Hollywood movie star. You see, he was part of their business plan: build a golf course in Hialeah, weave an affluent gated community up and down the fairways, and make one of them a three-lot compound for Jackie Gleason. His gravitational pull would make Miami Country Club the spot. Soon everyone would want to live there. Genius. It was the perfect plan. Apart from being a pool shark, Jackie Gleason knew his way around the links, and he loved Miami’s sun. Who doesn’t love Miami’s sun? Man, I love Miami’s sun.
But getting back to Gleason, what a character. He carries his own gigantic history around his belt line. And to think that I saw the machine he strapped himself into as he attempted to jiggle his butt into shape. That seems like the appropriate kind of exercise for Gleason. Not too serious, but just enough to make him feel like he wasn’t being complacent. You probably want to hear about the house. Well, a lot of the original interior still stands, out of respect for the original homeowner. There are black and white framed pictures of Jackie Gleason playing golf with the likes of Arnold Palmer. In one, he’s sinking a putt off the fringe, and while Palmer stares at the movie star, his arms wrapped around his waist in disbelief, Gleason is about to deliver an almighty fist pump à la Bang, Boom, Straight to the moon. Original wallpaper stands in the foyer and dining room, the intricate velvety kind that gives you goosebumps when you run your forefinger across. Inside his office, one can only imagine what kind of history took place. I found myself thinking about Gleason rehearsing lines from his many episodes, but then I remembered that Gleason never rehearsed his lines, or at least that’s the myth I’ve been fed since a kid, and now I take it for fact, out of principle, my fact: Gleason always came to the set of The Honeymooners fresh and unrehearsed. He liked spontaneity. He didn’t underestimate the value of being spontaneous, even when in the crossbeams of the camera. In fact, that’s when he liked spontaneity the most, that’s when it really counted. Gleason had a way of understanding things that I really admire. He understood the masses. He knew exactly how to get them laughing. Laughing until Belly Ache.
He knew how to write scripts,
he knew how to deliver lines,
he knew how to entertain guests,
he know how to get country clubs to build beautiful compounds for him,
how to be
A GOLDEN GOD.
What a storied life. I haven’t even researched his whereabouts. I know nothing about his parents, or if he had siblings. I only know that I know of him and he knows absolutely nothing of me. Or does he know about me? Yes, somehow, in his vast understanding of the masses, he knows about the likes of me. How else could he have made me laugh until Belly Ache?