(10 of 10)
His study of religions has led to extensive research in the field of psychic phenomena. He has hundreds of volumes on the subject. He is an accomplished hypnotist. He has even held sessions with spiritualists. He has started to write a novel called Brother Miracle, tying psychic phenomena to religion in the story of a monk who experiences an extraordinary manifestation of psychic power. The novel's conclusion, says Jackie, is that "faith is to be placed in God and not in bizarre activities."
Last week Jackie Gleason's own activities were not so bizarre as they often are when his time is his own. Working hard at his new film, he was up at dawn every morning, plowing through take after take all day until 7 p.m. But he found time to irradiate at least one afternoon, sitting on a favorite banquette at Manhattan's 21 Club (a temporary off-Shor island), buying drinks for friends, marshaling waiters like a field general.
If he had an air of self-confidence, he was entitled to it. His new career as a movie actor is seemingly unlimited: he has already signed for Soldier in the Rain, under the direction of Blake Edwards (Breakfast at Tiffany's), and he is completing negotiations for another film, as yet untitled. that will be directed by Robert Rossen (The Hustler ). But if. by some improbable fiscal catastrophe, all the things he has going for him should come crashing down, if CBS should go bankrupt and his $100,000 a year be cut off. if Hollywood should evaporate, and the $650,000 house in Peekskill were to float away on the little stream it straddles, Jackie Gleason would still have a way to stay solvent. Since the age of 13, he has had something to fall back on. As Paul Newman says at the fadeout of The Hustler: "Fat man, you shoot a great game of pool."