The Actor's Prayer (12:18)
Many a digger has been lost amid the thrift-store stacks of too-common records. Nothing is more disheartening than assaulting a bin of mold-encrusted record jackets, hoping for a find, and seeing copy after copy of Ed Sullivan Presents, loose Longines Symphonette collections and Columbia Special Products Christmas collections. Jackie Gleason is another of the chief offenders, with every thrift store offering your chance to own multiple copies of Jackie Gleason Presents Music for Lovers or Jackie Gleason Presents Music for Dining or Jackie Gleason Presents Music to Make You Hate Record Collecting.
Here's one that you won't find clogging the thrift-store bins. Recorded in 1960 as a favor for The Marsalin Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts, this 10" oddity begins with Gleason reciting the Actor's Prayer, complete with organ accompaniment, then morphs into a full-on assault on your wallet. Founded in 1957 by Catholic priest and psychologist James E. Hayden, Marsalin's goal was to deal with the spiritual aspects of mental illness. This album was released as part of a fundraising drive to create a state-of-the-art hospital in Brookline. It was never built, and Marsalin eventually resettled in Holliston, Massachusetts.
Based on the thrift-store castoffs, that would make this the only Jackie Gleason album that didn't sell several million copies. Also note that Gleason's suggestion that religion and psychiatry should get together would give Tom Cruise fits.