Lancelot has died: Robert Goulet, 1933–2007

Robert GouletYou 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.