These days, Quentin Tarantino is best known for his excessively violent, beautifully shot films that oscillate between quick outbursts of hair-raising gore and 20-minute perfectly articulated dialog scenes. But once upon a time, the writer/director was just a working stiff in Hollywood, eager for any job that would get him in front of the camera and a few bites of food at the craft service table.
Tarantino landed one such job in 1988, a few years before selling his screenplay for True Romance and becoming an indie film phenom with Reservoir Dogs. Along with his perfectly coiffed pompadour, Tarantino briefly appeared as an Elvis impersonator, alongside 11 other Elvis impersonators, in an episode of The Golden Girls, as Dangerous Minds points out. Check him out singing “Hawaiian Wedding Song” from Blue Hawaii at 5:25 in the clip below. He’s the one in the middle of the back row doing a very weird and distracting thing with his arms.
“Well, it was kind of a high point because it was one of the few times that I actually got hired for a job,” Tarantino said in a 1994 interview with Playboy. Proving that he was very particular about his musical taste even back then, the director noted that the other Elvis impersonators dressed in the easily recognizable Vegas-style jumpsuits, “But I wore my own clothes, because I was, like, the Sun Records Elvis… I was the real Elvis; everyone else was Elvis after he sold out.”
While Tarantino’s longtime Elvis obsession may have made him perfect for this role, the story should be an inspiration to any aspiring actor or filmmaker out there today. Just because you’re currently working as “Madonna impersonator #7” on a middling episode of Modern Family doesn’t mean you won’t be able to someday make your two-part, hyper-stylized, modern samurai epic. Though you should probably create something else, since that’s already been done.