In Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, there are jokes about Elvis Presley that clearly relate to at least three of the four apocalyptic horsepersons.

  • The newspaper War works for is described as follows:

    A typical National World Weekly would tell the world how Jesus' face was seen on a Big Mac bun bought by someone from Des Moines, with an artist's impression of the bun; how Elvis Presley was recently sighted working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines; how listening to Elvis records cured a Des Moines housewife's cancer; how the spate of werewolves infesting the Midwest are the offspring of noble pioneer women raped by Bigfoot; and that Elvis was taken by Space Aliens in 1976 because he was too good for this world.*

    *Remarkably, one of these stories is indeed true.

  • Famine inspects a Burger Lord in Des Moines, where he finds the cook singing Love Me Tender to himself; since this clashes with the recorded Burger Lord jingle, Famine makes a mental note to have him fired.

  • The Horsepersons are gathering for the apocalypse. An arcade trivia game asks for the year when Elvis died, and Death reveals himself by saying:


Most of the stuff involving the horsepersons happens to each of them in parallel, so it seems strange to have three Elvis jokes but not a fourth. Is there a similar joke involving Pollution that I've missed, or does he get to be the only Horseman of the Apocalypse with no connection to Elvis?

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    Pollution is a newcomer to the Four Horsepersons, so it sort of makes sense that he's the one without an Elvis joke. – Royal Canadian Bandit May 19 '14 at 8:25

I didn't find any direct joke concerning Elvis and Pollution in Good Omens yet, but the fact that the fourth horseman is described as "a young man dressed all in white. [...] He looked like Victorian Romantic poets looked just before the consumption and drug abuse really started to cut it" can be seen as covert references to Elvis' well known suiting habits and no less well known drug problems.

Since Pollution is also known for its white horse, it may be only a cosmetic choice from Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett to match a color theme, but the romantic poet reference can't be explained easily using only the Pollution theme.

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    Also, Pollution's totem is a crown, and Pestilence retired around the time Elvis was born. Huh... – Micah Oct 18 '12 at 17:36
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    @Micah The fourth horseman may, in fact, be Elvis... When you know a bit about fast foods environmental impact (energy used, meals wasted...), why don't work in one as cook if you are Pollution? Especially when we factor in Pollution affinity with discarded packages. – Eureka Oct 18 '12 at 18:22
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    Death was the one with the pale horse: bartleby.com/108/66/6.html If you consider black to be Famine (red is obviously War), then that leaves the white horse. – mcw Oct 22 '12 at 20:25
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    I think the romantic poet thing is a red herring. Pratchett likes this simile; IIRC in Witches Abroad, the cat Greebo takes on human form and is described as looking like a romantic poet who had given up on the opium and tried red meat instead. – Royal Canadian Bandit May 19 '14 at 8:27
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    The three other quotes all allude to the fact that Elvis is, in fact, "working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines". Pollution is not working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines. Ergo, Pollution is not Elvis. – Theoriok Aug 20 '18 at 11:09

When Pollution entered the biker bar,

the wind blew empty crisp packets and newspapers and ice cream wrappers with him. They danced around his feet like excited children, then fell exhausted to the floor.

He also wears an all-white suit, and has a crown as his totem (ie., the king). Pestilence also retired the year after Elvis was born, and Death swears he never killed Elvis.

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    The three other quotes all allude to the fact that Elvis is, in fact, "working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines". Pollution is not working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines. Ergo, Pollution is not Elvis. – Theoriok Aug 20 '18 at 11:09
  • ... but can you trust the reports that Elvis is in fact working in a Burger Lord in Des Moines, or is he just the archetypal "man works down the chip shop swears he's Elvis"? – Prime Mover Jun 8 '20 at 21:13

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