Goulet's home may be stage, but actor can deliver on court

Media Watch

February 05, 1996|By MILTON KENT

Robert Goulet is a refined, erudite veteran of the Broadway stage, with two tours of duty in "Camelot." He's a show tunes kind of fellow, a Tony Award winner, for goodness sakes, not the kind of guy you expect to be parked on a stool using the word "youse" and threatening to "give you a pop quiz in the kisser" if you don't watch ESPN's "Big Monday" college basketball package.

Yet, there's Goulet, sitting in front of a big band in a series of delightful spots for college hoops that poke delicious fun at his image.

And don't worry. He gets the joke, capishe?

"I've done that all my life. There's nothing wrong with that [poking fun at one's self]," said Goulet. "If you take yourself seriously, you're a fool. President Clinton cannot take himself seriously or he'd never be re-elected. That's why I worry about Bob Dole."

Crafted by Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland, Ore.-based advertising firm that does all of ESPN's promos, the campaign has brought the 62-year-old Canadian a measure of hipness with members of the younger generation, who he says regularly stop him in airports or in public about the spots.

And though his image is forged with the musical theater, Goulet says he is a sports nut, taking particular note of the unbeaten Massachusetts men's basketball team and the nearly unbeaten Chicago Bulls.

One thing Goulet hasn't quite figured out is why Dallas cornerback Larry Brown, who earned Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors for picking off two passes from Neil O'Donnell in the Cowboys' win over the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, has become such a hero.

"It wasn't like something that Deion Sanders would do, coming into the play and moving to get to that point. This guy just stood there and the ball was thrown to him," said Goulet. "Come on. He did well, but, gosh almighty. He was just standing there. I could catch the gosh-darned ball."

Spoken like a pseudo lounge lizard.

Chenier's silky smooth

Perhaps because the Washington Bullets have struggled for so long and because he doesn't have the flair of, say, a Dick Vitale, Home Team Sports analyst Phil Chenier has commanded a lot of notice.

But Chenier, who was a quiet but gifted guard with the Bullets, both in Baltimore and in Washington, has developed into a fine analyst, who teaches, informs and entertains.

During the decisive third period of Friday's Washington-Portland Trail Blazers game, in which the host Bullets broke open a close game, Chenier scientifically dissected the blowout, but wasn't so self-conscious that he couldn't laugh at himself, as when play-by-play man Mel Proctor and the production crew staged a rigged trivia question.

Eye on the gridiron

CBS has announced its 24-game 1996 college football regular-season schedule, which reintroduces the network to weekly fall telecasts.

The slate, which features Southeastern and Big East conference home games, opens with a prime-time meeting between UCLA and Tennessee on Sept. 7, with national runner-up Florida traveling to meet the Volunteers two weeks later.

Other schedule highlights include the annual Florida State-Miami dust-up, held this year on Oct. 12, the Notre Dame-Navy matchup from Dublin, Ireland, on Nov. 2, and the Army-Navy game on Dec. 7.

Thought for the day

Ponder this Zen-like head scratcher offered by ABC's Mark Jones during Saturday's Virginia-Florida State game:

"Basketball is like church. Many people attend, but few understand."

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