Hit comedian and Honeymooners star, Jackie Gleason, embarked on a project in the early 1950s to build a one-of-a-kind party house in a wooded area north of New York City, calling the twin buildings “The Spaceship” and “The Mothership.”
A retired Orthodontist is the current homeowner of the 8.5-acre property in Cortlandt Manor, New York. In 1976 the current homeowner bought the property for only $150,000. Now, the property is being listed for a whopping $12 million.
The Jackie Gleason Show was a major hit in the mid-1950s, in fact, his show was America’s second-most watched TV show in its prime. Jackie Gleason believed he needed a home that was equally as impressive as The Jackie Gleason Show and he definitely delivered on that expectation. Gleason personally oversaw the entire five-year project. $650,000 later, his twin buildings, “The Spaceship” and “The Mothership” were completed.
The Cortlandt Manor home in New York was designed by architect Robert Cika. Margaret Bailey told Journal News that the home was constructed by a Norwegian shipbuilder, who shipped the completed pieces for final assembly.
The Mothership is the main house which was originally designed to host large parties. Gleason has invited many celebrity guests from back in the day into his home including Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, and Joe DiMaggio. The main house includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and two bars. The 14-person curved bar seats up to 14 people and has a baby grand piano with a microphone that emerges from the marble floor to provide entertainment for Gleason and his guests.
“He spent quite a bit of time up here,” Bailey said. “He loved going to the bars in the area. All the people knew him. Jackie was a partier. He wanted an escape from New York City, and this was his nirvana.”
The circular main home was constructed with glass exterior walls that offer breath-taking views and was inspired by Hollywood depictions of alien crafts. The home was featured in Popular Mechanics in April of 1960; the piece marveled at the round living room, round shower, and the eighty-foot round bed.
Audrey Meadows, a co-star in Honeymooners wrote an autobiography called “Love Alice: My Life as a Honeymooner,” and mentioned Gleason’s 8.4-acre property at 196 Furnace Dock Road, saying she recalls being surprised by a small round hole in the marble floor from which, at the push of a button, a piano emerged.
“In every room, Jackie had designed beautiful Italian marble fireplaces that were half inside and half outside the house. Unfortunately, since they were crafted in Italy, he couldn’t find workmen in the United States to install them, so he had to import Italian laborers to do the job. They surely ate well while working, since the owner was never short on groceries,” Meadows wrote about Gleason’s home.
The home has central air conditioning and a built-in surround sound system. All of the Mothership’s fireplaces were made of marble and double-sided except for the main fireplace which features a three-sided, 40-foot marble fireplace that weighed nearly 240 tons.
A gradually ascending rounded staircase, which circles the piano room, leads to the second floor which includes an office, dining room, bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and a sunroom.
Bailey said, “In this house, every decision was made by Jackie. You’re not buying just the home, you’re buying a true piece of history, and that’s what makes it different from other estates.”
The master bedroom features an eighty-foot uniquely made rounded bed with a TV mounted on the ceiling. The bathroom houses a rounded shower and a curved, built-in desk in the office. The kitchen features stainless steel appliances and glass cabinetry throughout the kitchen’s curved design.
When Bailey imagines the future owner of this home she says, “I see someone who loves architecture because there are less than a handful of round homes, especially those built around this time,” she said. “I also see someone very wealthy who loved Jackie Gleason and wants to keep a piece of that history.”
The 196 Furnace Dock Road home in Cortlandt Manor, New York is being represented by Howard Payson, Margaret Bailey and Jackie Campanelli of Re/Max Town & Country for a current price of $12 million.