You have to understand something about my family, to know why I care that Robert Goulet ((Here is his Wikipedia entry, and his official site.)) has died. Besides being that rare performer that is comfortable making fun of himself ((While he appeared in several comedies, including an episode of The Simpsons, this Emerald Nuts SuperBowl commercial is my favorite.)) (a quality that endeared him to today’s youthful generation), Goulet portrayed Lancelot in the Broadway production of the musical Camelot, alongside Richard Burton and Julie Andrews.
My mother had the record of the original Broadway cast when I was growing up. When I was old enough to put records on by myself, I used to rotate Camelot with a Spider-Man record I had, and a record about Sparky the talking piano/train? My memory is fuzzy on that last. But I spent the next two decades immersing myself in all things Arthurian. My mother had a lot to do with that, and it’s been a bond between us forever. We even made an Arthurian heraldry quilt together.
I’m not quite suggesting that Robert Goulet is responsible for the man I turned out to be, but thinking about him now makes me remember all those parts of my life that were affected by the Arthurian legends. As a kid I drew a lot of swords and sorcery stuff, I played Dungeons and Dragons, I read a ton of fantasy novels (not the least of which was Le Morte d’Artur, but most more along the lines of The Lord of the Rings), I was, in short, that kid in high school.
I found out this morning that my wife shares some of the nostalgia I felt on hearing of Goulet’s death. Turns out, her mother had the Camelot record, and she, too, listened to it as a kid.
In honor of Mr. Goulet’s influence (however small) on my life, I went and bought the Camelot soundtrack on iTunes this morning, and I have been listening to it this morning. Turns out I miss musical theater.