Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
 

That Time Elvis used a TV Screen of Robert Goulet for Target Practice

Barbara Stepko

It’s part of Elvis Presley lore, right up there with the pink Cadillac and a surreal, bleary-eyed Oval Office meeting with President Richard Nixon. We’re talking, of course, about the time Elvis filled the screen of his 25-inch RCA TV full of buckshot. Because of Robert Goulet.

What prompted this bit of gunplay? It depends on who you ask. The company line was that Elvis, well, just enjoyed shooting stuff.

Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon shaking hands.

Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon shaking hands.

“There was nothing Elvis had against Robert Goulet. They were friends,” assured Kevin Kern, a spokesman for Graceland — Elvis’s former home, now a pilgrimage for his many fans — to the Associated Press, in 2006. “But Elvis just shot out things on a random basis.”

He sure did. Take a trip to a $45 million entertainment complex which opened in March 2017 across the street from Graceland and you’ll find a television with a bullet hole, among other memorabilia, including sequined jumpsuits, guitars, and, yes, the aforementioned Cadillac Fleetwood.

Robert Goulet. Photo by Vera Goulet CC BY 3.0

Robert Goulet. Photo by Vera Goulet CC BY 3.0

Goulet himself said that he and Elvis were friends — and, hey, no hard feelings about the target practice and all. In a 2004 interview with Christopher Blank for The Commercial Appeal, the crooner said, “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!” …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 [Sinatra]. But I get all the credit.”

Presley in a publicity photo for the film ‘The Trouble with Girls’, released September 1969

Presley in a publicity photo for the film ‘The Trouble with Girls’, released September 1969

But one of The King’s closest friends, Marty Lacker, offered a far different explanation in an interview with elvisinfonet.com. Apparently, in the late 50s, when Elvis was in the army and stationed in Germany, his girlfriend at the time, singer Anita Wood, was performing with Robert Goulet and comedienne Buddy Hackett.

Related Video:

Wood dutifully wrote to Sergeant Presley and, apparently, Goulet added a note to one of her letters, informing Elvis that he was personally “taking care” of Wood (wink, wink).

Robert Goulet and Julie Andrews in Camelot

Robert Goulet and Julie Andrews in Camelot

Elvis didn’t appreciate Goulet’s randy sense of humor and carried a grudge the size of Graceland, for years. In 1974, Elvis was relaxing in his swanky penthouse suite at the International Hotel in Vegas when he spotted Goulet on the tube. (The crooner was appearing as a guest co-host on The Mike Douglas Show.) Supposedly, Elvis yelled, “Get that s**t outta my house!” And with that, he aimed and fired.

Graceland living room. Photo by David Brossard – Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Graceland living room. Photo by David Brossard – Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

Not long afterward, the tale of Elvis and his itchy trigger finger would find its way into the newspapers. In Douglas’s 2000 autobiography, I’ll Be Right Back: Memories of TV’s Greatest Talk Show, he claimed that Elvis was concerned that Douglas might have read about the shooting and gotten the wrong idea.

Read another story from us: The Story of Graceland – How Priscilla Presley’s Bright Idea Saved Elvis’ Fortune

He rang up Douglas to apologize, assuring him that Goulet was the intended target. No hard feelings replied Douglas, who then tried to land Presley for his show, but no dice.

We hope you are enjoying The Vintage News. Please consider helping us with our journey to bring popular historical content to everyone by becoming a supporter today. Thanks.

Become a Supporter