Thursday, November 5, 2015

The History Of "Kilroy Was Here"...!

We've all seen the face of Kilroy. It's been around for a very long time.Did you ever wonder just where it got it's start? Well, thanks to the folks at Listverse, I'm gonna tell ya!

Kilroy Was Here

Photo credit: Luis Rubio

A war might be a strange source for fads, but soldiers need some way to entertain themselves, too. That is why “Kilroy was here” appeared during World War II. The piece of graffiti showed a bald man with a long nose sticking his head over a wall. It was simple, easy to draw, and lighthearted enough to become a popular recurring joke that endured even once the war was over.

Although Kilroy was firmly associated with America GIs, it was inspired by an older British drawing known as Mr. Chad. Chad, allegedly the 1938 creation of British cartoonist George Chatterton, also poked his bald head over the wall and said “Wot? No tea?” (Tea was substituted with sugar, tobacco, or whatever else was in short supply.)

By the end of the war, there were thousands of “Kilroy was here” drawings all over Europe and America, so this was clearly the work of thousands of soldiers, not just one guy bored out of his mind. But was there ever a real Kilroy? More than one person came forward as the real Kilroy, but the generally accepted origin is one James J. Kilroy, a shipyard inspector during the war. He had a habit of scribbling “Kilroy was here” in crayon on ships that passed inspection. In 1946, the Transit Company of America held a contest to find the real Kilroy, and James provided them with enough evidence to claim the prize, his very own trolley car.

Funny how some things survived the war to become almost a permanent fixture of modern society, isn't it? It's comforting to know that some small symbol managed to show that the humor could endure in the soldiers in spite of the darkness of the times.

Coffee out on the nice, cool patio this morning!


linda m said...

Thank you for solving the mystery of "Kilroy". I always wondered how that cartoon got started. I still see it to this day in some of the places I visit. Would love coffee on the patio, save me a spot on the swing. I'll bring some Dunkin's.

JO said...

That was an old time thing, I never knew this before and didn't know it went that far back.

We are very chilly here this morning and we are possibly in for a freeze tonight. Well this is what I have been waiting for, winter.
And I am up and running again makes me a happy camper.

Judy said...

Dad was a WWII Vet, that piece of graffiti or doddle always brought a quiet smile to his face.

Chilly here this morning in Phoenix so coffee sounds good. Linda M., thanks for the Dunkin's; I'll have a plain glazed one.

Dizzy-Dick said...

Interesting post, as always. But, I have a question. What did that fellow do with his own trolley car?

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
Some things almost seem timeless, don't they?
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Jo...
Symbol of the times, I reckon. Meant different things to many soldiers.
Thanks for dropping by today!

Hey Judy...
I would imagine some guys remember it fondly. That's a good thing!
Many thanks for coming by today!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
I don't have an answer for that question. Seems like a crazy prize to me, unless he was going to rent it to the city or something.
Thanks for stopping by today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Maybe he wanted to have the first motorhome (grin).