“I have never seen a flying saucer anywhere personally but have read published flying saucer literature. Most of this literature is ridiculous, but amongst the trash there are some undeniable points that can not be refuted even by the United States Government.”
It’s another of those grand Old Hollywood rumors…that president Richard M. Nixon had once revealed the existence of extraterrestrials to comedian Jackie Gleason from the classic 1950s TV sitcom The Honeymooners.
BUT IS IT TRUE?
Now, Gleason was apparently quite the UFO aficionado. Amassing a collection of over 1,700 books on the paranormal and flying saucers, Gleason even built an impressive UFO-shaped home in Peekskill New York that he called “The Mothership.”
But perhaps…just perhaps…Gleason, thanks to President Richard Nixon, achieved the Holy Grail of UFOlogists everywhere—disclosure.
It is alleged that on February 19, 1973, pals Gleason and Nixon were playing a round of golf at Florida’s Inverrary Golf and Country Club when the subject of the former’s jones for UFOs came up. It turned out that Nixon was interested in the subject too.
Later that night, Gleason got a knock on the door…
…by God, it was Nixon himself!
Ready to whisk the actor away to a secret Air Force base to see Goddess-knows-what!
Larry Warren, a former Air Force Security policeman with his own UFO tales to spin, supposedly befriended Gleason in 1986 right before the actor passed away. Here is his alleged account of Jackie Gleason’s alleged account regarding the encounter at the base:
“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 then allegedly told Warren that the aliens had “three or four fingers…but they definitely were not human.” The shock of actually being shown proof of extraterrestrial life also apparently left “The Great One” traumatized, and he reportedly could not eat or sleep for days.
This is a pretty impressive story, when you think about it…albeit one told “second-hand” by someone else.
But this story might be even more obscure than “second-hand.” I had problems sourcing the original Warren interview—from which the alleged Gleason quotes are cited on many different websites—at all. Finally, an article on Skeptoid pointed me to where the Warren story first originated: an excerpt from the book “UFOs Among the Stars” by Timothy Green Beckley, about celebrity UFO sightings.
Is the story from Beckley’s book enough to prove that Gleason really did see dead aliens in coke bottles? You would be shocked to find out that the writer from Skeptoid was a little unconvinced…though he did confirm that Nixon was at the golf course that day:
“A little investigation into Nixon’s daily diary (freely available on the Nixon Library website) reveals that Nixon was in Key Biscayne on February 19, 1973, for a meeting with the AFL-CIO. He spent less than 40 minutes speaking and glad-handing with guests at Gleason’s annual golf tournament at the Inverrary Golf and Country Club, of which, at most ten minutes was available to chat with Gleason about UFO’s.”
And there is another person who claims that Gleason claimed to see the aliens at the base—his second wife, Beverly Gleason. According to the Presidential UFO blog (who had emailed her; the site has since been rebooted and I can no longer locate the article), Beverly said she told Esquire about Gleason’s sighting in 1974—an admission that apparently made him so mad that he made up his mind to divorce her!
Beverly allegedly told Esquire about Gleason:
“‘Jackie had been out very late one night I did not know who he was with,’ she said. ‘He told me where he was that same evening, he said he had been in South Florida with President Nixon to see some dead aliens there and I believed him, he was very convincing. He and Nixon were in contact quite a bit and I’m not sure how that was arranged, but it seems that their meetings were set up by an associate of Nixon’s. After he got back, he was very pleased he had an opportunity to see the dead little men in cases, he explained to me what they looked like and he was still talking about it the next day.'”
This seems to back up Warren’s account.
Only…there never was an Esquire interview with Beverly Gleason from 1974.
Instead, there was a National *Enquirer* interview from 1983.
Did Beverly confuse “Enquirer” with “Esquire”?
At any rate, here is the 1983 article written by Beverly:
The most logical question now is: was the Enquirer article the “inspiration” for the subsequent Warren interview? Or did these two separate people really hear the same story from Gleason?
And if Beverly’s story is the “prime” source of the Gleason/aliens connection (regardless of the veracity of Warren’s account)…did her husband even tell her the truth? Or was he just bullshitting her (perhaps as an excuse for coming home late on the evening in question, etc.)?
Occam’s razor would seem to suggest that Gleason told a made-up story to his then-wife, and then a version of her Enquirer story ended up being “retold” in Beckley’s book.
Here is what I think, honestly: I think Gleason might have really seen something. But I don’t know if what he saw is what he thought (or was told) he saw.
Not the most helpful answer in the world, but that’s all I got.
BONUS! From Beyond The Unknown cover, circa 1972, featuring aliens and “Nee-Xon”: