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  #1  
Old 10-21-2006, 10:43 PM
jsgoddess jsgoddess is offline
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Kilroy?

My sister is 43 and when I commented to her yesterday about the ads a local candidate (Mary Jo Kilroy) is running on TV, I mentioned that Kilroy is using the little Kilroy picture. My sister says she has never encountered either "Kilroy was here" or the graffito. My 45-year-old husband and my 35-year-old self both boggle at that, but perhaps we are the unusual ones.

So, are you familiar with "Kilroy was here" and the accompanying cartoon/graffito?

If so, where did/do you encounter it? (I first remember it from Bugs Bunny.)

And how old are you?
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  #2  
Old 10-21-2006, 10:57 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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I am 40, I cannot remember not knowing about Kilroy. I remember seeing it in movies and Looney Tunes likes you mentioned. I still remember seeing it on walls in school.
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  #3  
Old 10-21-2006, 10:59 PM
Sierra Indigo Sierra Indigo is offline
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I'm 22, and I've known about Kilroy for as long as I can remember. I can't say if I learned it from Bugs or from another source, but there you go.
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  #4  
Old 10-21-2006, 11:01 PM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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Kilroy was a WWI /Korean war icon. It's supposed to have originated w/ a shipyard inspecter and was soon adopted by G.I.'s and then made it's way into the American culture. In the 40's and 50's you might see the little drawing almost anywhere. My dad and a service buddy started a business after the war. My dad's partner visited our hose one day when no one was home, he was a practical joker and thought it would be funny to leave Kilroy messages around the house. They were in kit. cabinets, the bathroom medicine cabinet and even in my mother's dresser drawers. My mom was furious. I think dad found it funny, until he went to smoke his pipe. The guy had cut rubber bands into tiny pieces and put them into my dad's tobacco tin.I'm just shy of 68 and I remember it well.
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  #5  
Old 10-21-2006, 11:23 PM
DJ Motorbike DJ Motorbike is offline
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I'm 30 and I believe I first came across "Kilroy was Here" from having read MAD Magazine as a child. Much later, I became aware of its significance.
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  #6  
Old 10-21-2006, 11:52 PM
Ruby Ruby is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Motorbike
I'm 30 and I believe I first came across "Kilroy was Here" from having read MAD Magazine as a child. Much later, I became aware of its significance.
It has a significance?
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  #7  
Old 10-21-2006, 11:57 PM
JimOfAllTrades JimOfAllTrades is offline
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My father said that he saw the Kilroy picture in South America during World War II.

He was a radioman onboard a sub-chaser that was in port in Chile for a few days. On shore leave he went sight-seeing to the “Christ of the Andes” on the border of Chile and Argentina.

He says that on the base of the statue, someone had drawn the Kilroy picture, and underneath had written “Kilroy pasa por aqui” which I don’t think is quite the normal “Kilroy was here”, but that’s what he said he saw.

This would have been in about 1944 or so. It was very well known then.
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  #8  
Old 10-22-2006, 12:08 AM
lavenderviolet lavenderviolet is offline
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I am 23 and I've known about it since I was a teenager at the very least. I don't remember where I saw it first and can't say that I recall seeing it lately, though, so I can easily imagine someone might not be familiar with it.
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  #9  
Old 10-22-2006, 12:10 AM
DJ Motorbike DJ Motorbike is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruby
It has a significance?
Yeah, I think so. For one, Cecil wrote about it.
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  #10  
Old 10-22-2006, 01:07 AM
Colibri Colibri is offline
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I'm 55. It was still common when I was a kid. My father was a WWII vet (in the Navy in the Pacific) and used to doodle Kilroys a lot.
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  #11  
Old 10-22-2006, 07:00 AM
Khadaji Khadaji is offline
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Here is a link for those who have never seen it.

I am familiar with it. 45 here.
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  #12  
Old 10-22-2006, 07:38 AM
betenoir betenoir is offline
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I'm 37 and I've always known about it. Well since I started knowing things. I have no idea from where...Mad Magazine is a good possiblity.
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  #13  
Old 10-22-2006, 09:12 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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Ok, I will be the doofus. I am 33 and I know about the story basically from Cecil but I am not sure what the drawings are and I don't remember them from TV cartoons either. I just know it in an academic way and have never noticed anything about Kilroy in real life.
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  #14  
Old 10-22-2006, 09:51 AM
WotNot WotNot is online now
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I'm a 44-year-old Englishman, and I've known of "Kilroy was here" and the Chad character since I was a small child. It wasn't until some time later, in my late teens probably, that I first saw them together – and then from an American source (it may well have been Bugs Bunny, or something similar).

I think that in the UK, Chad (if remembered at all) is still mostly associated with "Wot? No …?"
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  #15  
Old 10-22-2006, 09:54 AM
freakstasy freakstasy is offline
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24. It's interesting -- I only became aware of Kilroy a few days ago, and already there's a discussion about it. But if I hadn't learned about it, I probably would have overlooked this thread and continued on with my life blissfully unaware of that piece of graffito.
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  #16  
Old 10-22-2006, 10:07 AM
Kamino Neko Kamino Neko is offline
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I first saw the Kilroy picture in....grade 2, probably, first saw 'kilroy was here' sometime around grade 5.

I'm 29.
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  #17  
Old 10-22-2006, 10:13 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Oh, God, Neil, you're such a killjoy, aren't you? Hey, everyone, I'll bet I know what Neil writes in public lavatories. [scribbles in the air] Look out, Killjoy was here! - Ric, The Young Ones, 'Summer Holiday'
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  #18  
Old 10-22-2006, 10:17 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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I became aware of it in 1983 with the release of the Styx album "Kilroy was Here". That is also where I became aware of the phrase "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto".
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  #19  
Old 10-22-2006, 10:37 AM
Monstera deliciosa Monstera deliciosa is offline
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I'm 46, and I became of aware of Kilroy sometime in elementary school. Making Kilroy drawings was popular when I was in about fifth or sixth grade.
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  #20  
Old 10-22-2006, 10:57 AM
KlondikeGeoff KlondikeGeoff is offline
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In what will probably be a futile attempt to dispel ignorance, in WWII (in which I served toward the end), "Kilroy Was Here" was just about everywhere there was a flat surface on which to write.

However, only those words appeared. It was an entirely different thing where the little guy looking over the fence was drawn. He was not Kilroy, but SMOE. Usually he appeared alone, but sometimes "SMOE" was written underneath. I don't know what the hell that stood for.

It's probably far too late to separate the two now, alas. Anyhoo, I'm 79.
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  #21  
Old 10-22-2006, 11:03 AM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlondikeGeoff
However, only those words appeared. It was an entirely different thing where the little guy looking over the fence was drawn. He was not Kilroy, but SMOE. Usually he appeared alone, but sometimes "SMOE" was written underneath. I don't know what the hell that stood for.

It's probably far too late to separate the two now, alas. Anyhoo, I'm 79.
From here:
Quote:
The cartoon part of the graffito has a different origin. According to Dave Wilton, it is originally British, named Mr Chad, and apparently predates Kilroy by a few years. It commonly appeared with the phrase "Wot, no ____?" underneath, with the blank filled in by whatever was in short supply in Britain at the time--cigarettes, Spam, etc. The Oxford English Dictionary lists Chad's origin as "obscure" but it may have been created by British cartoonist George Edward Chatterton.

Sometime during the war, Chad and Kilroy met and merged, the American phrase appearing under the British drawing.

The combined logo acquired momentum, appearing wherever servicemen travelled, and quickly infected the civilian population. The mania peaked during the war, lingered into the 50s, and then pretty much died out, the joke forgotten as memories of World War faded.
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  #22  
Old 10-22-2006, 01:31 PM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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Just for the hell of it I checked the SSDI and found only 3 James J. Kilroys, one born 1912, one 1915, both cards issued in Mass., and the third born 1920 w/ his card issued in N.J., so the UL stays alive for now.
http://ssdi.rootsweb.com/cgi-bin/ssdi.cgi
Any Dopers have access to background info. to see if any of the three ever worked in a shipyard during that era?
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  #23  
Old 10-22-2006, 02:18 PM
AngelicGemma AngelicGemma is offline
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I've seen the picture before. My Dad used to draw it. But I don't recognise "Kilroy was here."
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  #24  
Old 10-22-2006, 02:26 PM
Hakuna Matata Hakuna Matata is offline
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I always thought the Starbucks headquarters logo was a play on Kilroy

http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/dayart...arbuckstop.jpg

but maybe I am reading something into it
But I am 47 and have known about Kilroy since I was 10
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  #25  
Old 10-22-2006, 02:30 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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I found this (just the one line):
Quote:
November 24, 1962 in History
James J Kilroy, tank inspector (Kilroy was here), dies at 60
And this:
Quote:
"Now my father was the original Kilroy, and he could prove it..." "My mother died in 1991. Her name was Margaret too, and she was the one who convinced my father a trolly would make a wonderful gift for the family. She said it could be parked in the yard, and the children could use it as a playhouse." Margaret, who still lives in Halifax, said her father died in 1962.
And this:
Quote:
Kilroy - U.S. military graffito character dates to 1945 and is said to be either Sgt. Francis J. Kilroy Jr., U.S. Army Air Transport, whose friend or friends began writing his name everywhere as a prank; or war materiéls inspector James J. Kilroy of Quincy, Mass., who wrote "Kilroy was here" on everything he checked.
And from findagrave:
Quote:
Birth: Sep. 26, 1902
Death: Nov. 24, 1962

American Folk Figure. He was the originator of the ubiquitous World War II expression and doodle "Kilroy was here." The "Kilroy was here" phrase seemed to appear everywhere during World War II.

<snip>

James Kilroy was also a Boston City Councillor and state representative. He died in Halifax, Massachusetts.
However, that site claims that Kilroy used the Chad cartoon; which other sources say was a British invention. But it appears that James Kilroy did exist, and died in 1962.
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  #26  
Old 10-22-2006, 02:32 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
I found this (just the one line):
Fixing the first link.
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  #27  
Old 10-22-2006, 02:44 PM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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I ran into the phrase in some sort of cartoon, too. Can't remember if it was in Bugs Bunny or in a print cartoon that I saw it first. I remember my dad disparaging the fact that they got the drawing wrong and explaining both the history and the proper way to draw it.

It didn't end there, either. He had to research it later and get back to me with cites in print.
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  #28  
Old 10-22-2006, 02:45 PM
A.R. Cane A.R. Cane is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny L.A.
I found this (just the one line):

And this:

And this:

And from findagrave:

However, that site claims that Kilroy used the Chad cartoon; which other sources say was a British invention. But it appears that James Kilroy did exist, and died in 1962.
The game's afoot!

I know, I know, it's just that I always wanted to use that line.
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  #29  
Old 10-22-2006, 03:02 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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I first saw the Chad drawing associated with Kilroy in the late 1970s. I really don't recall any wartime photos of "Kilroy was here" associated with the Chad drawing, although I will not insist that they never appeared together.

(Chad always looked like Segar's/("Ceegar's") Alice the Goon, to me. I have no idea what influence Segar and Alice might have had on Chad (or the reverse). The drawing is sufficiently simple that more than one artist could have come up with quite similar designs.)
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  #30  
Old 10-22-2006, 03:28 PM
samclem samclem is offline
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The guy who died in 1962 was indeed the claimant to the origin. But, did he really do it?

The American Transit Association conducted a contest in 1946, awarding the prize of a streetcar to whomever could come up with the best explanation of the origin of "Kilroy."

Mr. James J. Kilroy won that prize in November of 1946(not 1948 as the website http://www.killroy.com/history.htmoffered by Johnny L.A. said).

Even if this guy's story is true, that he inscribed his name inside of parts, how can we say for sure that this was what inspired the mania?

I remember drawing the "Chad" cartoon in school in the 1950's. And, being an American, that was Kilroy to me, at that time.
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  #31  
Old 10-22-2006, 03:45 PM
hopesperson hopesperson is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537
I became aware of it in 1983 with the release of the Styx album "Kilroy was Here". That is also where I became aware of the phrase "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto".
Same here. Were it not for that album and song, I'm not at all certain that I would have any real awareness of the "Kilroy" phenomenon. I'm 33.
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  #32  
Old 10-23-2006, 08:52 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hopesperson
Same here. Were it not for that album and song, I'm not at all certain that I would have any real awareness of the "Kilroy" phenomenon. I'm 33.

I think I have a vague recollection from old Bugs Bunny cartoons.
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  #33  
Old 10-23-2006, 12:53 PM
Spectre of Pithecanthropus Spectre of Pithecanthropus is offline
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I'm 48, and I can't remember not knowing.

But I don't know where I learned about it. Probably Mad Magazine.
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  #34  
Old 10-23-2006, 02:06 PM
betenoir betenoir is offline
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There was a real Kilroy!!!??? Colour me gobsmacked (and no I don't no what colour that is).

I hope he got arrested for peering over all those fences.
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  #35  
Old 10-23-2006, 02:19 PM
Loach Loach is offline
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I heard of it long ago, probably from Looney Tunes. I seem to remember asking my father about it and getting the story. I am 39. My father was born in 1927.
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  #36  
Old 10-23-2006, 02:50 PM
Misnomer Misnomer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msmith537
I became aware of it in 1983 with the release of the Styx album "Kilroy was Here". That is also where I became aware of the phrase "Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto".
Seconded.

I was living in Yorkshire at the time, and whenever my friends or I drew it we'd write "Kilroy woz 'ere."
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  #37  
Old 10-23-2006, 03:47 PM
Sternvogel Sternvogel is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ Motorbike
I'm 30 and I believe I first came across "Kilroy was Here" from having read MAD Magazine as a child.
I'm 47, but I also recall the graffito's appearance in the background of a panel in a MAD TV or movie parody. I was in high school at the time, and a classmate showed me a Kilroy drawing he had done either a few days before or a few days after I read the particular issue of MAD. It was thus the combination of these two sightings that implanted Kilroy into my permanent memory, although I had likely seen the cartoon on a couple of previous occasions without really wondering about its relevance.
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  #38  
Old 10-23-2006, 05:39 PM
Boulter's Canary Boulter's Canary is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WotNot
I'm a 44-year-old Englishman, and I've known of "Kilroy was here" and the Chad character since I was a small child. It wasn't until some time later, in my late teens probably, that I first saw them together – and then from an American source (it may well have been Bugs Bunny, or something similar).

I think that in the UK, Chad (if remembered at all) is still mostly associated with "Wot? No …?"
I'm a 49-year-old Englishman and Wot WotNot said, though I didn't see 'Kilroy was here' and Chad together until I was in my late 20's.
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  #39  
Old 10-23-2006, 06:17 PM
Ignatz Ignatz is offline
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Charles Osgood, of CBS News "I'll see you on the radio" fame, wrote, in 2001, the book, Kilroy Was Here-The Best American Humor from World War II.

A very good read.
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  #40  
Old 10-23-2006, 06:50 PM
Misnomer Misnomer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Me
Seconded.

I was living in Yorkshire at the time, and whenever my friends or I drew it we'd write "Kilroy woz 'ere."


I forgot: I'm 35.
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  #41  
Old 10-23-2006, 08:16 PM
Johnny L.A. Johnny L.A. is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betenoir
There was a real Kilroy!!!??? Colour me gobsmacked (and no I don't no what colour that is).
There was a real Murphy (of Murphy's Law fame) as well.

Yeah, I know I posted that link in another thread a couple of days ago; but it's a fascinating story, and EAFB is my old stomping grounds.
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  #42  
Old 10-23-2006, 09:35 PM
movingfinger movingfinger is offline
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When I was a kid my dad brought home a little plastic Kilroy, designed to be worn in a shirt pocket (much like nerd-packs later). His long nose and the fingers of his hands extended over to the outside of the pocket, and a small screw could be tightened to hold Kilroy in place.

The whole thing was about two inches by two inches, and liver-red, for some reason. I said it was plastic, but it may have been Bakelite. This was the late forties. I am sixty-three.

I wonder what such an object would fetch on e-Bay these days?
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  #43  
Old 10-23-2006, 10:36 PM
Gerome Gerome is offline
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I'm 21, and only learnt about Kilroy from Thomas Pynchon's V. I had, however, seen it around before that, but had no idea it had any significance.
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  #44  
Old 10-24-2006, 01:09 AM
GIGObuster GIGObuster is online now
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Code:
                                        KILROY
                                             WAS
                                               HERE!
              _______
            /   o o   \
-----o000---!---/ \---!---000o----
               (___)
40 here, I found the phrase first in the Loony Toones cartoons and later in the Straight dope report by Dex.

However, I could have seen that first (circa 1975) in an Asimov tale: a time traveler, under tight controls, goes back in time to only observe WWII. The time managers scanned the area an observer could be put in and then removed safely, but the traveler could not resist leaving a message:

Quote:
Someone, perhaps that man running for shelter, would read it and know that along with all the heroes of the twentieth century was the "pure observer," the man from the thirtieth century, George Kilroy. He was there!
"The Message", by Isaac Asimov, in "Earth Is Room Enough" 1955
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  #45  
Old 10-24-2006, 11:48 AM
betenoir betenoir is offline
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For the record my SO tells me Mr. Chad is still in circulation...altough no doubt less so than 50 years ago. But still there. And he looks just like Kilroy.
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  #46  
Old 10-24-2006, 12:16 PM
Troy McClure SF Troy McClure SF is offline
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I know the Kilroy thing due to countless back issues of MAD Magazine I bought when I was a kid. Both of my knowledge of history comes from these and old Donald Duck/Carl Barks comics.
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  #47  
Old 10-24-2006, 01:25 PM
Jake Jake is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KlondikeGeoff
In what will probably be a futile attempt to dispel ignorance, in WWII (in which I served toward the end), "Kilroy Was Here" was just about everywhere there was a flat surface on which to write.

However, only those words appeared. It was an entirely different thing where the little guy looking over the fence was drawn. He was not Kilroy, but SMOE. Usually he appeared alone, but sometimes "SMOE" was written underneath. I don't know what the hell that stood for.

It's probably far too late to separate the two now, alas. Anyhoo, I'm 79.
Maybe it was Al Capp's SHMOO. http://www.deniskitchen.com/docs/new_shmoofacts.html
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  #48  
Old 10-24-2006, 04:27 PM
Governor Quinn Governor Quinn is offline
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I am familiar with it, I no longer remember where I learned about it (except that the knowledge came about a decade ago), and I am 21.
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