Most people think of Jackie Gleason as a star of television. And, in fact, he was one of the BIGGEST stars on TV, a pioneer in the industry. But he was in the movies first, and after his TV glory he returned to the big screen with a great deal of success.
Gleason had been in vaudeville and on Broadway and he was given a chance in Hollywood in the early 1940s and can be seen in supporting character parts in All Through the Night, with Humphrey Bogart, and Larceny Inc. with Edward G. Robinson.
Then he moved over to Fox and appeared in bit roles in Orchestra Wives and Springtime in the Rockies. He saw his career was heading nowhere so he headed back to New York.
After modest success on Broadway and in nightclubs he hit it BIG on television. Then in 1961 he returned to the silver screen as Minnesota Fats in The Hustler. He was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. And his second film career was launched.
If you only see a few of Gleason’s films we suggest The Hustler, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Papa’s Delicate Condition,(pictured above) and his last film, Nothing in Common. (below)
Skip the Smoky and the Bandit series. They were a waste of his considerable talent.