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Gleason's newest pride is a $30,000, two-toned (opal and burgundy) Rolls-Royce, and he boasts that the front bumper arrives at any selected destination about "three weeks ahead of me." But his most spectacular acquisition is the $650,000 office-home which he has built for himself near Peekskill, N.Y. Comedian George Jessel describes the place as "a sort of bar with a built-in house." It is basically an immense rotunda, with circular rooms, circular terraces, circular shower baths, and a circular skydome. It has a 270-ton fireplace-barbecue pit of white Carrara marble, a piano that revolves majestically, and a stereo machine that plays 400 selections. Called ''Round Rock." the house would certainly make Samuel Taylor Coleridge think he was back in Xanadu, for past it flows one of the minor rivers of Westchester County, complete with trout, perch, smallmouth bass and fat, fat catfish.
Gleason stoutly asserts that the place is a "studio," designed for business and even for broadcasting TV shows. He points out that he himself lives in another, quite ordinary house elsewhere on the twelve-acre property. So the pool table is covered with light blue felt instead of the standard green"blue happens to photograph better on television." So the one bed in the house is 8 ft. in diameter and absolutely roundall sorts of people in Brooklyn, says Gleason. are buying round beds these days.
Fairway & Broadway. During his year off, Gleason took up golf. As in everything else, he was determined to be "the best." "He was out on the course practicing before the caddies got up," says a friend. Soon he was shooting in the low Sos, occasionally dipping into the 705. He goes around on an electric cart, playing as many as 72 holes a day. He has played with Toots Shor and says of the great-bellied Clamhead. "If he puts the ball where he can hit it. he can't see it, and if he puts it where he can see it. he can't hit it." Perhaps because of his pool-trained eye, Gleason is best with a putter. Last season, while losing a handicap match on TV to Open Champion Arnold Palmer, he sank putts of well over 40 ft. on two consecutive greens.
He also cut a few records during his "idle" year. For Gleason, a man of in numerable parts, is a writer of music, too. He picks out tunes with one finger and ' has an arranger dress them up. He has written themes for his TV shows, and he did all of the score for Gigot. Since the early '50s. he has turned out some 30 albums with titles like Music to Change Her Mind and subtitles like Music for Sippin', Listenin', Dancin' and Lovin'. It is mainly quiet, seductive music that suggests Log Cabin syrup poured over a slowly turning pizza. The records have sold close to 5,000,000 copies and have grossed about $17 million.