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I AM HERE / KILROY  


The image of Kilroy is emblazoned upon our collective unconscious.
His roots go back to ww2 where a river inspector on ships going out to fight would use this engaging icon to show inspection with the phrase “Kilroy was here”. Soldiers soon adopted killjoy, scrawling his visage throughout conquered land. Across walls, signs and dotting the vast landscape Killroy grew and made his way into our hearts to this day. He is a reminder of our past and a guardian as we move into a bright future.


The Story Behind the Phrase "Kilroy Was Here"
For a few years during and after World War II, he was ubiquitous: a doodle of a big-nosed man, peering over a wall, accompanied by the inscription "Kilroy was here." At the height of his popularity, Kilroy could be found just about everywhere: in bathrooms and on bridges, in school cafeterias and on homework assignments, in the holds of Navy ships and painted on the shells of Air Force missiles. A classic Bugs Bunny cartoon from 1948, "Haredevil Hare," shows just how deeply Kilroy had penetrated into pop culture: thinking he's the first rabbit to land on the moon, Bugs is oblivious to the slogan "Kilroy was here" prominently etched on a rock behind him.

The Prehistory of "Kilroy Was Here"

Where did the meme—and that's exactly what it was, 50 years before the invention of the internet—"Kilroy was here" come from? Well, graffiti itself has been around for thousands of years, but the Kilroy drawing seems to have derived from a similar graffito, "Foo was here," popular among Australian servicemen during World War I; this was also a depiction of a big-nosed cartoon figure peering over a wall, but it was not accompanied by any words.

Around the same time Kilroy was popping up in unexpected places in the U.S., another doodle, "Mr. Chad," was appearing in England. The Chad doodle may have derived from the Greek symbol for Omega, or it may have been a simplified adaptation of a circuit diagram; whatever the case, it carried the same "someone is watching" connotation as Kilroy. At some point shortly before the outbreak of World War II, it seems, Foo, Chad, and Kilroy merged their memetic DNA and mutated into the classic "Kilroy was here."

Where Did "Kilroy" Come From?
"Kilroy Was Here" Goes to War

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