Is the moon tired? Is the sun tired? Look how hard they work, never missing a night or a day since the beginning of human memory, the most welcome sight on this man's planet, the greatest show on earth. Of course it's fitting that the closest competition they've got in New York today is Elvis Presley. You remember Elvis. He's the only performer in American history ever to become the god of his decade without once having played this city.
How'd he get away with it? Oh, immortal snub! We ought to run him out of town instead of treating him like he was heaven's messenger. Here it is, almost 20 years later, and he's just coming around to pay his dues to New York, four shows at the Garden beginning tonight, all sold out. What kind of values must Elvis have to ignore us so long? What kind of values must we have to behave as if we've never seen anything like him?
But then we haven't. No matter what flaws you might find in Elvis' character, no matter what faults you might see in his beliefs, his dimensions or his lifestyle, he remains unquestionably one of the true originals in our universe, like the moon and the sun, shining bright, never tiring, still one of our most welcome spectacles, still one of the greatest shows on earth.
It's to my regret that I never really got to meet him. Oh, we talked on the phone once, a long time ago, in the days when he had just become a certified sensation. I was on the night rewrite desk of The Post and he was some flashy big name out in Hollywood and I called him up to ask him some silly questions about some silly romance that didn't really have anything to do with him, me or you.
Even so, I remember being impressed with his charm and his style in fielding my conversation, this hayseed dummy, this hick kid, this backwoods dope who wasn't supposed to know anything except how to swing his hips in public the way everybody wished they could swing them in bed.
It wasn't until 1969 that I actually got to see what he looks like, with a face that seems to grow more beautiful with age, full of colour and contrasts and symmetry, like a flower that attracts and stuns you with its breath-taking visual drama, the kind of face that could be a man's or a woman's and still leaves you smitten.
But I never really got to talk to Elvis, never really got to meet him. It's still a regret. Now he's in New York to put on his first show for this city. How could he ever have made it without us? They used to call him The King, and he, still is a king. We're glad to have him here, Elvis Pelvis. The moon and sun are his competition. I never really got to talk to them either.