Robert Goulet talks about Elvis...and that shot bullet shattered TV (Goulet didn't take Elvis shot personally)

By Christopher Blank, The Commercial Appeal (August 14, 2004)
The 70-year-old entertainer Robert Goulet is in Memphis to play King Arthur in "Camelot" at the Orpheum Theater through Sunday. Since it's Elvis Week, we asked Goulet about his part in a well-known anecdote about Elvis: The king of rock and roll was known to aim a gun at his television when he saw something there that displeased him.

THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL: And now I've got to ask you what my colleagues say is going to be the hardest question.

GOULET: I'm not Jewish. I'm not gay.

CA: No, those are easy.

GOULET: (Laughs.)

CA: You know Memphis is an Elvis town and you factor into a local legend.

GOULET: When he shot the television set? He also shot 50 other people. They told me that he had about a hundred sets in the basement. And he'd shoot the damn thing out - you know he was on pills and he didn't know quite what he was doing and he'd BANG! and they'd look at each other and say, "Get another set!" They mention me all the time. I don't know why. I remember once we sat together backstage for two hours. And he was a charming, delightful, delightful man. And at one point I said, "That's a beautiful ring you have there." He said "You like it?" I said, "It's beautiful!"

He took it off his hand and put it on mine. He gave me his ring. And years later all the jewelry I had in my house - I trust everybody. I was brought up to believe that you cannot steal, cheat or lie and I've been stolen from, cheated or lied to all of my life. And so jewelry - who needs it? But this one was something special to me and it's gone.

CA: Somebody took it?

GOULET: I hired a guy to take care of my house when I was gone. I'm so naive it's ridiculous. 'Cause, you know, when we hire people today we do a background check. I didn't do that. . . . I was in Dallas doing something and I got a call from LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department). "We have a Stutz Blackhawk, silver, with gold trim with RGG license plate?" I said "You have it? How do you have it?" "Well, we saw this guy going through Watts driving this car with the window open throwing out hundred dollar bills." He had taken all my jewelry and everything else I had of import and taken my car and driven it down to L.A. But all my good stuff is just gone, finished. It's all part of dying.

CA: So tell me a little more about the Elvis connection. We write so much about Elvis here. What was your reaction when you heard he'd shot the TV?

GOULET: The point is I knew he was not himself so therefore it wasn't anything to do with me. He shot out Mel Torme. He shot out Frank. But I get all the credit.


EIN Note: Apart from a distinguished film and stage musical career, Robert Goulet starred in the fondly remembered Second World War/espionage thriller TV series, Blue Light. In the show Goulet starred as double agent, David March.

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