Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Why ‘The Honeymooners’ Legend Jackie Gleason Owned a Bizarre UFO-Shaped House

Why ‘The Honeymooners’ Legend Jackie Gleason Owned a Bizarre UFO-Shaped House

TV legend Jackie Gleason owned a UFO-shaped house, called the “Round House”, built in Westchester County, New York, in 1959. The Smokey and the Bandit star, who had a fascination with UFOs, affectionately called his eccentric stilted sanctuary “The Mothership” due to its striking resemblance to a flying saucer.

Urban legend (and Joe Rogan) has it that Gleason became obsessed with UFOs after Richard Nixon showed him proof of alien life while the duo was on a bender. So strong is Rogan’s belief in the tale that he calls his comedy club in Austin “Comedy Mothership“. Regardless of Jackie Gleason’s belief in the paranormal, it does appear that his house is deliberately UFO-shaped.

During the peak of his fame on the TV show The Honeymooners, Gleason personally designed a 3,950-square-foot home with two bedrooms. This was the same era in which he famously told his on-screen wife, “To the moon, Alice.” The construction of the house spanned five years and cost $650,000.

The property includes two extra residences where Gleason found solace away from work and public attention. “Jackie used the [property] as an escape from his busy schedule filming The Honeymooners,” Margaret Bailey, a broker who is co-listing the home, explained. Gleason wanted to “work and live peacefully,” Bailey told the New York Post in 2018.

Inside Jackie Gleason’s UFO-shaped home, everything is circular without any right angles. It includes an eight-foot round bed with a ceiling-mounted TV, a circular shower, built-in cabinets in the rounded kitchen, and circular furniture in the study area.

Jackie Gleason’s UFO-Shaped Home Was Constructed in an Airplane Hangar

The residence was constructed by a shipbuilder within an airplane hangar, later dismantled and transported to its location. “If you look at the ceilings, the woodwork looks like row boats,” Bailey noted. “They are the trusses that hold the house up. There are no cross-support beams because they would have had right angles.”

While Jackie Gleason’s UFO-shaped house offered refuge, he often hosted shindigs there. The Round House features four bars, with visitors such as Gleason’s friend for drinking and golfing, Richard Nixon. Gleason, a Brooklyn native from Bedford-Stuyvesant, later sold the property to CBS in a private sale, years after his time working there. It was transferred ownership twice more before being purchased by its current owner, a retired orthodontist, for $150,000 in 1976.

However, Bailey claimed Gleason’s reason for wanting the building circular had little to do with the paranormal. Gleason wanted the home to be “like a musical note that never ends,” Bailey said.