The Strange Odyssey of Elvis’ Shot-Up TV


When I saw the first television news report of Robert Goulet’s death, I leaned over to my wife and said, “Did you know Elvis shot a TV once because Robert Goulet was on?”  She’s usually unimpressed with my knowledge of Elvis trivia, but this time she asked, “Why?”  That told me this would make a good Elvisblog story.  My instincts were confirmed when almost all Internet news sites I checked mentioned the Elvis TV incident in their coverage of Goulet’s death.

The answer to the question of ‘why?’ is clearly explained in a quote by old Elvis buddy Marty Lacker in an interview he did with “Elvis harbored some bad feelings about Goulet from back in the late 50s when he was in the Army.  Elvis’ girl friend Anita Wood was a singer and she did shows with Goulet and Buddy Hackett.  Anita would often write Elvis in Germany, and one time Goulet added a postscript to one of them telling Elvis in a sly way that he was personally taking care of Anita.  Elvis didn’t like that and he never forgot, so when he saw Goulet on TV, he shot the TV out.”

No wonder Elvis got mad.  He’s overseas in the Army and gets a letter from his girlfriend back home, but slimy Robert Goulet writes on the bottom something like, “Don’t worry, Elvis, I’ll take care of Anita while you are gone.”  To fully understand why this would enrage Elvis, go back to the Elvisblog story on February 26, 2006.  It contains quotes from a letter Elvis wrote to Anita Wood in November 1959, including:  “I can’t explain to you how I crave you and desire your lips and your body under me, darling.”

So, Elvis was serving his Army time in Germany, sustained by thoughts of Anita Wood, and then he gets Goulet’s snide postscript.  Not only was Elvis mad, he carried that grudge against Robert Goulet for years.

All the way to 1974, when Elvis finally got some mental satisfaction by nailing Goulet on TV.  It occurred while Elvis was working at the International Hotel in Las Vegas.  He was in his top-floor suite when he saw Goulet on TV.  Elvis took out his gun, shot the TV, and (according to said, “Get that s**t outta my house!”

It’s no surprise Graceland has a different spin on all this.  In a March 2006 article, Graceland spokesman Kevin Kern is quoted, “There was nothing Elvis had against Robert Goulet.  They were friends.”  I don’t think so.  Marty Lacker’s story sounds more believable.  He was in the Memphis Mafia, and he was there.

The quote from Graceland’s Kevin Kern came at the opening of their new exhibit at Elvis After Dark on March 20, 2006.  Guess what was there?  A 25-inch RCA TV that Elvis shot out.  Spokesman Kern also told the press, “Elvis just shot out things on a random basis.  This is the only surviving television or appliance that Elvis shot out.”  Appliance?  Did Elvis shoot toasters and coffee makers, too?

According to an AP report on the exhibit opening:  “Entertainer Robert Goulet was performing on TV when Elvis Presley blasted the 25-inch RCA that’s part of the exhibit called Elvis After Dark.”  (Italics added for emphasis)

So, after thirty-two years, the Goulet TV shows up at Graceland.  How did it get there? reports:  “The TV is currently on display at Graceland.  It was found a few years ago in the attic above his father’s office.”  Sure.  Doesn’t everybody lug a huge shot-up TV to the attic to store for lengthy indefinite periods?

Let’s think about this.  Elvis blasts the Goulet TV in Vegas in 1974, and then has it crated up and shipped back to Memphis so it could be stored in his dad’s attic.  After thirty-two years, it is discovered and put on display at Graceland.

Could that improbable chain of events have actually happened?  Sorry, it’s almost easier to believe Elvis is still alive.

©  2007   Philip R Arnold, Original Elvis Blogmeister   All Rights Reserved

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