Film & TV

Jackie Gleason Rises From the Dead to Explain Broads, Dames, and South Beach

This is the strange but true tale of how I recently spoke with Jackie Gleason, one of the most beloved South Florida entertainers in history. I must admit, it's impossible to exactly explain the logistics, because he's been dead since June 24th, 1987.   

In homage to Mr. Gleason, I have been known to visit his tomb (Gleason is buried in an outdoor mausoleum at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Cemetery in Doral), sometimes at night, after hours, sometimes with a bottle of Jack Daniels, or even Absinthe. So were the circumstances the last time I was out there, drunk and alone, fresh off a fight with my lover. I have transcribed from an iPhone a tape recording that defies all scientific explanation. Subsequently, the recording has accidentally been destroyed (my girlfriend erased it), but the transcription remains.

Jackie Gleason spoke to me from beyond. Here is a copy of the transcription:

Jackie Gleason: You are a mental case.

Me: Who said that?     

You're a dan-dan-dandy crowd.

Who's there? Show yourself.

Hey, you kids, get offa the roof!  Hummina, hummina, hummina. I got a big mouth!

Gleason? Is that you? I don't believe in ghosts, man.


better believe in ghosts, my friend. You better believe in the Bermuda

Triangle and aliens and UFO's and levitation. I was big into that shit.

How do you think I'm talking to you now? Go to the University of Miami library. I

donated my whole paranormal collection to them.

This can't be. I must be drunk.

Mmmmmm, that's good booze!

I have to get out of here.

Do you want to go to the moon!? A trip to the moon. Oh, you're a riot.

cc: sumlin
My girlfriend must have put a spell on me.


been married three times, kid. And let me tell you, they don't make

dames like they used to. You go to the Fontaineblea u or Eden Roc in my day

and you saw a classy broad, one you could trust, take home to your

mudda, one who needed a man. Dames today. Forget about it. They can

bring home the bacon and cook it too. God Bless them.

Am I being punked? Is this some sort of rehearsal?


Gleason doesn't rehearse. I have a photographic memory. These Clooneys

and DiCaprios and Pitts and Cruises. They're one-trick ponies. It's a

different world, kid. If you love someone that has passed, believe

me--they're the lucky ones. Bless their souls.

You were the best, Jackie. There's no question. You were the first and you were the best.

Baby, you're the greatest.

Do you miss it? Do you miss it at all, Jackie?


I was your age, a quarter could buy you dinner, a movie, and a box of

condoms. Forget about it, kid. Who the fuck wants to live in this day

and age? You can keep it.

You don't miss Miami Beach? You always said they were the best crowd.

cc: Nice Dawg

beach. Why do you think I'm buried way out here in Doral? I knew Miami

Beach would go to shit. I knew it would attract a bunch of tourists and a

false image and facade, but to tell you the truth, I never thought it

would get this bad. Taking your talent to South Beach. Ha! What talent?

Honestly, if I could've, I'd of been buried under the 18th hole of my

golf course in Inverray. But I'm a good Catholic. I like where I am. I

rest easy. It's peaceful. I'm shooting dice in the big Golden Nugget in

the sky, babe. You'd be surprised, kiddo. You'd be surprised what awaits

you. If I was in your generation, son, I wouldn't give up on God. Orson

Wells called me the Great One. I'm not the Great One.  

Get the fuck out of here, Jackie. You were no saint.

One of these days, J, one of these days. Pow! Right in the kisser!

I have to quit drinking. This is getting to my head.  


was a heavy drinker, smoked five packs of cigarettes a day. Live your

life, kid. Rehab is for quitters. These days people check into rehab for

the slightest thing. Fuck rehab. You want to show your prick, show your

prick. You want to smoke a joint, smoke it. You want to drink, drink. I

died peacefully, at 71. How long do you want to live?

cc: umpqua
I'm ready to go whenever, really.

What's the matter with you! And awaaay we go!

Where are we going? Jackie...Jackie. Hello. Yo, Jackie.


that's where the tape ended. I wish I had evidence to prove the

encounter. It happened. Whether anyone believes it or not, Jackie

Gleason, thank you, man. You reminded me to respect the past. I'm going

to call my bubbie. Baby, you're the greatest.

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J.J. Colagrande
Contact: J.J. Colagrande