by Art Chantry:
KILLROY WAS HERE!
during WW2, this was THE fad graffiti and it covered the entire planet. everywhere the US war effort went(especially where ever the air transport command), there were “killroy’s” scribbled everywhere. this killroy i show you is the official british version – “mr. chad” the aussies called him “foo.” he was also known in other places over the years as ‘”shmoe”, “clem”, “flywheel”, private snoops”, “overby”, “sapo” and (of course) “the jeep” (after the oddly magical character in early popeye comic strips.)
so, where did this image come from? who created it in the first place? nobody knows. like bigfoot or ET, killroy is one of those enduring mysteries of time and space. we’ll really never know.
one legend has it that was a shipyard inspector in quincy, massachusetts, named “j.j. killroy” was the guy who started scribbling it on everything they shipped out to the war effort. others claim it was derived by/from a british cartoonist back in 1938 (thus making ‘chad’ an earlier name than ‘killroy’.)
where ever killroy came from (i seem to remember seeing it in photos that predate the second world war as well), he became so popular during world war two that he came home with the troops and started showing up all over amercia – even decades after the war. he’s become as ubiquitously american as apple pie and the wienermobile.
i remember thinking i was real clever scribbling ‘killroy was here’ on a school bathroom wall (yeah, i was a dork). little did i know that it was the most famous graffiti of all time.
he’s an annoying little fucker, ain’t he?
….i noticed i spelled “kilroy” with two “L’s” throughout my essay. since he’s known by so many names over the years, i figger that however i spell or mis-spell “kil(l)roy”, it’s totally legit. just the same, i did notice my snafu”