Closing the gaps #4: The Golden Girls

Years have passed, and “Closing the gaps” is back. Isn’t it marvelous? :) I decided for the fourth installment after this long break to have a closer look at Quentin Tarantino‘s notorious cameo in the classic TV series The Golden Girls. The previous episodes #1, #2 and #3 have also been updated, if you want to check them out.

Since it can be easily found on YouTube (albeit in terrible quality I’m afraid), let’s have a look first and then discuss it:

How did that happen, and what’s so special about this cameo? The way Quentin Tarantino ended up impersonating Elvis on part one of a double episode of the classic TV show The Golden Girls, reportedly went down this way:

Tarantino is the one in the back playing a younger, 50s era Elvis, while most of the other impersonators are depicting an older Vegas-era Elvis. The episode was called “Sophia’s Wedding” and first aired in November 1988. The same footage was re-used two years later in an episode called “The President’s Coming!” as a flashback sequence. Quentin talked about this cameo in a popular 1994 interview in Playboy Magazine:

Playboy: You once appeared as an Elvis impersonator on The Golden Girls. Do you consider that a high point or the nadir of your acting career?

Tarantino: Well, it was kind of a high point because it was one of the few times that I actually got hired for a job. I was one of 12 Elvis impersonators, really just a glorified extra. For some reason they had us sing Don Ho’s Hawaiian Love Chant. All the other Elvis impersonators wore Vegas-style jumpsuits. But I wore my own clothes, because I was, like, the Sun Records Elvis. I was the hillbilly cat Elvis. I was the real Elvis; everyone else was Elvis after he sold out.

Interesting to note here is, that this was before Quentin wrote and directed Reservoir Dogs. He got the role via his new manager at the time, Cathryn James, as the book “Rebels on the Backlot” explains. Some further details about this episode of Tarantino’s career can be found on the blog Chronical Snobbery (Twitter) where it is extensively analyzed in a 2007 blog post that’s highly recommended.

Closing the gaps is a column at The Quentin Tarantino Archives, highlighting lesser-known episodes in Tarantino’s career, in ten installments. Your comments and thoughts are most welcome in the forum.

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Sebastian is the founder and owner of the Tarantino Archives and has been a fan and observer of QT for over two decades now, cherishing his work and the window in the the wider world of cinema his movies have opened up. Inspired as such, he runs the Spaghetti Western Database (SWDb), the Grindhouse Cinema Database (GCDb), Furious Cinema, its German sister Nischenkino and The Robert Rodriguez Archives. He lives in Berlin.

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