Elvis Shot at His TV When This Singer Was Performing
The television and the bullet are both on display at Graceland.
When you're one of the most famous people on the planet, anything you ever come into contact with can become memorabilia, not matter how strange it seems. In the case of Elvis Presley, that includes a TV with a bullet hole in the screen. That set is on display at Graceland because the singer famously shot it while a fellow musician was performing on a TV show.
Oddly enough, that TV isn't the only one Presley took aim at—it's just the only one that was kept for the museum. Read on to find out more about the King's surprising habit, including what he was watching at the time he shot this particular television set.
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Presley shot the TV when another singer was performing.
In 2006, a spokesperson for Graceland, Presley's home that was turned into a museum, shared the story of the 25-inch RCA TV and explained that Presley was watching a performance by actor and singer Robert Goulet at the time.
"There was nothing Elvis had against Robert Goulet. They were friends," Kevin Kern told the Associated Press (via PBS). "But Elvis just shot out things on a random basis."
Goulet didn't take it personally.
In a 2004 interview with Memphis' The Commercial Appeal (via Elvis Information Network), Goulet was asked about Presley's extreme reaction to his performance.
"When he shot the television set? He also shot 50 other people," Goulet said. "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."
Goulet said that he found Presley to be "a charming, delightful, delightful man." He added of the TV shooting, "The point is I knew he was not himself so therefore it wasn't anything to do with me. He shot out Mel Tormé. He shot out Frank [Sinatra]. But I get all the credit."
The TV still works.
According to Express, during a virtual tour of Graceland, archivist Angie Marchese explained that the TV, which had been at Presley's Palm Springs home, continued working after he shot it.
"It's true, Robert Goulet was on TV and the actual bullet that was in the TV missed all the tubes," Marchese said. "This TV still does work and the bullet that was inside the TV is part of the collection."
Marchese said that the TV was preserved so that it could remain in the collection in its original state. "We actually went inside to preserve this screen and epoxied it so those cracks would not spread anymore," she continued.
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This was a habit of Presley's.
As reported by Express, Presley's cousin and a member of his famous Memphis Mafia entourage, Billy Smith, talked the star's TV-shooting tendencies on his son's Memphis Mafia Kid YouTube channel.
During a fan Q&A, Smith responded to a question why Presley did this. "Most the time 'cause he wanted to," Smith said. "It varied from a lot of different things. It might be something he saw on TV or it might be something that had been bothering him."
Smith continued, "A lot of times you had to wait a little later until Elvis kind of went through whatever was bothering him and then he would he would tell you." Smith said that Presley "could have been mad at somebody or something that happened" and he would "take it out on" a TV.
"He shot several TVs," Smith said. "A lot of times I found it funny, in a way, because of just the way he was. He responded quickly. If something was bothering him, it was, you know take the gun, boom! And he never thought about it twice."
The TV is on display in a special room at Graceland.
In 2017, a new $45 million entertainment complex opened at Graceland, which houses the Goulet TV, as well as other Presley memorabilia, including some of his outfits. Inside the Graceland mansion, there is also the legend's entertainment room, which has several TVs.
"You're getting the full gamut of who Elvis Presley was," his wife, Priscilla Presley, said at the opening, as reported by PBS. "You're getting to see and participate a bit in his life and what he enjoyed and what he loved to collect."
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