Kilroy was here is an American expression that became popular during World War II, typically seen in graffiti. Its origin is debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle became associated with GIs in the 1940s: a bald-headed man (sometimes depicted as having a few hairs) with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with his fingers clutching the wall.
"Kilroy" was the American equivalent of the Australian Foo was here which originated during World War I. "Mr Chad" or just "Chad" was the version that became popular in the United Kingdom. The character of Chad may have been derived from a British cartoonist in 1938, possibly pre-dating "Kilroy was here". According to Dave Wilton, "Some time during the war, Chad and Kilroy met, and in the spirit of Allied unity merged, with the British drawing appearing over the American phrase." Other names for the character include Smoe, Clem, Flywheel, Private Snoops, Overby, The Jeep, and Sapo.
According to Charles Panati, "The outrageousness of the graffiti was not so much what it said, but where it turned up." It is not known if there was an actual person named Kilroy who inspired the graffiti, although there have been claims over the years.
The phrase may have originated through United States servicemen who would draw the doodle and the text "Kilroy was here" on the walls and other places where they were stationed, encamped, or visited. An ad in Life magazine noted that WWII-era servicemen were fond of claiming that "whatever beach-head they stormed, they always found notices chalked up ahead of them, that 'Kilroy was here'". Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable notes that it was particularly associated with the Air Transport Command, at least when observed in the United Kingdom. At some point, the graffiti (Chad) and slogan (Kilroy was here) must have merged.
Many sources claim origin as early as 1939. An early example of the phrase may date from 1937, before World War II. The US History Channel broadcast Fort Knox: Secrets Revealed in 2007 included a shot of a chalked "KILROY WAS HERE" dated 13 May 1937. Fort Knox's vault was loaded in 1937 and inaccessible until the 1970s, when an audit was carried out and the footage was shot. However, historian Paul Urbahns was involved in the production of the program, and he says that the footage was a reconstruction.
According to one story, German intelligence found the phrase on captured American equipment. This led Adolf Hitler to believe that Kilroy could be the name or codename of a high-level Allied spy. At the time of the Potsdam Conference in 1945, it was rumored that Stalin found "Kilroy was here" written in the VIP bathroom, prompting him to ask his aides who Kilroy was. War photographer Robert Capa noted a use of the phrase at Bastogne in December 1944: "On the black, charred walls of an abandoned barn, scrawled in white chalk, was the legend of McAuliffe's GIs: KILROY WAS STUCK HERE."
Digger History, the Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services, says of Foo that "He was chalked on the side of railway carriages, appeared in probably every camp that the 1st AIF World War I served in and generally made his presence felt". If this is the case, then "Foo was here" predates the American version of World War II, "Kilroy was here", by about 25 years.. "Foo" was thought of as a gremlin by the Royal Australian Air Force,  It has been claimed that Foo came from the acronym for Forward Observation Officer.
The Oxford English Dictionary says simply that Kilroy was "the name of a mythical person". One theory identifies James J. Kilroy (1902–1962) as the man behind the signature, an American shipyard inspector. The New York Times indicated J. J. Kilroy as the origin in 1946, based on the results of a contest conducted by the American Transit Association to establish the origin of the phenomenon. The article noted that Kilroy had marked the ships as they were being built as a way to be sure that he had inspected a compartment, and the phrase would be found chalked in places that nobody could have reached for graffiti, such as inside sealed hull spaces. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable notes this as a possible origin, but suggests that "the phrase grew by accident."
The Lowell Sun reported in November 1945 that Sgt. Francis J. Kilroy Jr. from Everett, Massachusetts, wrote "Kilroy will be here next week" on a barracks bulletin board at a Boca Raton, Florida, airbase while ill with flu, and the phrase was picked up by other airmen and quickly spread abroad. The Associated Press similarly reported Sgt. Kilroy's account of being hospitalized early in World War II, and his friend Sgt. James Maloney wrote the phrase on a bulletin board. Maloney continued to write the shortened phrase when he was shipped out a month later, according to the AP account, and other airmen soon picked it up. Francis Kilroy only wrote the phrase a couple of times.
The figure was initially known in the United Kingdom as "Mr Chad" and would appear with the slogan "Wot, no sugar" or a similar phrase bemoaning shortages and rationing. He often appeared with a single curling hair that resembled a question mark and with crosses in his eyes. The phrase "Wot, no —?" pre-dates "Chad" and was widely used separately from the doodle. Chad was used by the RAF and civilians; he was known in the Army as Private Snoops, and in the Navy he was called The Watcher. Chad might have first been drawn by British cartoonist George Edward Chatterton in 1938. Chatterton was nicknamed "Chat", which may then have become "Chad". Life Magazine wrote in 1946 that the RAF and Army were competing to claim him as their own invention, but they agreed that he had first appeared around 1944. The character resembles Alice the Goon, a character in Popeye who first appeared in 1933, and another name for Chad was "The Goon".
A spokesman for the Royal Air Force Museum London suggested in 1977 that Chad was probably an adaptation of the Greek letter Omega, used as the symbol for electrical resistance; his creator was probably an electrician in a ground crew. Life suggested that Chad originated with REME, and noted that a symbol for alternating current resembles Chad (a sine wave through a straight line), that the plus and minus signs in his eyes represent polarity, and that his fingers are symbols of electrical resistors. The character is usually drawn in Australia with pluses and minuses as eyes and the nose and eyes resemble a distorted sine wave. The Guardian suggested in 2000 that "Mr. Chad" was based on a diagram representing an electrical circuit. One correspondent said that a man named Dickie Lyle was at RAF Yatesbury in 1941, and he drew a version of the diagram as a face when the instructor had left the room and wrote "Wot, no leave?" beneath it. This idea was repeated in a submission to the BBC in 2005 which included a story of a 1941 radar lecturer in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, who drew the circuit diagram with the words "WOT! No electrons?" The RAF Cranwell Apprentices Association says that the image came from a diagram of how to approximate a square wave using sine waves, also at RAF Yatesbury and with an instructor named Chadwick. This version was initially called Domie or Doomie, and Life noted that Doomie was used by the RAF. REME claimed that the name came from their training school, nicknamed "Chad's Temple"; the RAF claimed that it arose from Chadwick House at a Lancashire radio school; and the Desert Rats claimed that it came from an officer in El Alamein.
It is unclear how Chad gained widespread popularity or became conflated with Kilroy. It was, however, widely in use by the late part of the war and in the immediate post-war years, with slogans ranging from the simple "What, no bread?" or "Wot, no char?" to the plaintive; one sighting was on the side of a British 1st Airborne Division glider in Operation Market Garden with the complaint "Wot, no engines?" The Los Angeles Times reported in 1946 that Chad was "the No. 1 doodle", noting his appearance on a wall in the Houses of Parliament after the 1945 Labour election victory, with "Wot, no Tories?" Trains in Austria in 1946 featured Mr. Chad along with the phrase "Wot—no Fuehrer?"
As rationing became less common, so did the joke. The cartoon is occasionally sighted today as "Kilroy was here", but "Chad" and his complaints have long fallen from popular use, although they continue to be seen occasionally on walls and in references in popular culture.
Writing about the Kilroy phenomenon in 1946, The Milwaukee Journal describes the doodle as the European counterpart to "Kilroy was here", under the name Smoe. It also says that Smoe was called Clem in the African theater. It noted that next to "Kilroy was here" was often added "And so was Smoe". While Kilroy enjoyed a resurgence of interest after the war due to radio shows and comic writers, the name Smoe had already disappeared by the end of 1946. A B-24 airman writing in 1998 also noted the distinction between the character of Smoe and Kilroy (who he says was never pictured), and suggested that Smoe stood for "Sad men of Europe". Correspondents to Life magazine in 1962 also insisted that Clem, Mr. Chad or Luke the Spook was the name of the figure, and that Kilroy was unpictured. The editor suggested that the names were all synonymous early in the war, then later separated into separate characters.
Similar drawings appear in many countries. Herbie (Canada), Overby (Los Angeles, late 1960s), Flywheel, Private Snoops, The Jeep, and Clem (Canada) are alternative names. An advertisement in Billboard in November 1946 for plastic "Kilroys" also used the names Clem, Heffinger, Luke the Spook, Some, and Stinkie. "Luke the Spook" was the name of a B-29 bomber, and its nose-art resembles the doodle and is said to have been created at the Boeing factory in Seattle. In Chile, the graphic is known as a "sapo" (slang for nosy).
Kilroy has been seen in numerous television series and films and in computer and video games. Peter Viereck wrote in 1948 that "God is like Kilroy. He, too, Sees it all." Isaac Asimov's short story "The Message" (1955) depicts a time-travelling George Kilroy from the 30th century as the writer of the graffiti. Thomas Pynchon's novel V. (1963) includes the proposal that the Kilroy doodle originated from a band-pass filter diagram.
Ken Young wrote a parody of "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" which was transmitted to Apollo 8 on December 25, 1968. It featured the lines "When what to his wondering eyes should appear, but a Burma Shave sign saying, 'Kilroy was here'." Kilroy was also featured on New Zealand stamp #1422 issued on March 19, 1997.
In the 1970 film Kelly's Heros, in the last but one scene, Captain Maitland enters the bank and finds a Kilroy drawn on the wall with the words "Up Yours, Baby". Presumably it was painted by one of Kelly's crew on the wall. Use of the word "baby" implies that it may have been Oddball.
In the 1975 M*A*S*H episode "The Bus," Hawkeye Pierce (Alan Alda) writes "Kilroy" in a dust-encrusted bus window as B.J. Hunnicutt (Mike Farrell) peers out from behind the window, his hands and nose resting on its top edge.
In 1983 the American rock group Styx released their album Kilroy Was Here with the song "Mr. Roboto" revealing who Kilroy was. Dennis DeYoung, the lead vocalist of Styx, had the nickname of Kilroy. In subsequent interviews he stated that the song was about himself.
Caught in the Act is a live double album by Styx, released in 1984. It contains one new song, "Music Time", which was released as a single, reaching #40 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
Caught in the Act is also the name of a VHS video recording that featured the band acting out the concept established in their Kilroy Was Here album. A DVD version was released on December 11, 2007.
Shortly after this album's release, Tommy Shaw announced his departure from the band, to pursue a solo career. The band then went into hiatus for the rest of the 1980s. Caught In The Act would ultimately prove to be the final album by the massively successful 1975-84 Styx lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Shaw, James Young, Chuck Panozzo, and John Panozzo; by the time Shaw returned to the band in 1995, John Panozzo's declining health prevented his participation, and he died in 1996.Come Sail Away – The Styx Anthology
Come Sail Away – The Styx Anthology is a musical album by Styx, released on May 4, 2004. It is a compilation consisting of two compact discs and contains a thorough history of the band. The album encompasses many of the band's most popular and significant songs, ranging from the band's first single from their self-titled album, "Best Thing," through the song "One with Everything," a track included on Styx's most recent album at the time of release, Cyclorama.
The most notable omission from the compilation is "Don't Let It End," Dennis DeYoung's top-10 single from their 1983 album, Kilroy Was Here. Another omission includes the top-30 hit "Love at First Sight" from 1990's Edge of the Century. Additionally, no material from their 1999 album, Brave New World, is included.
This is the only Styx compilation album to date to combine the original versions of songs from the band's early Wooden Nickel albums with their later material. Their Wooden Nickel breakout hit "Lady" was included on the 1995 Greatest Hits collection, but as a note-for-note re-recording, labelled "Lady '95." As such, this is the first truly career-spanning collection for the band ever compiled.
In 2006, the album was re-released and repackaged as part of the Gold series.Don't Let It End
"Don't Let It End" is the third track and the second top 10 single on the 1983 album Kilroy Was Here, by Styx.
The song was written and sung by Dennis DeYoung. The track is a mid-tempo ballad about one who breaks up with a lover and pleads to get the person back. The song reached #6 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in June 1983 and #56 in the UK Singles Chart. It also reached #15 on the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart the week of July 2, 1983. At the time, it was the seventh Styx single to peak in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
According to Dennis DeYoung in a 2005 interview with classicrockrevisited.com, the track was originally slated as the first single from Kilroy Was Here until the staff at A&M suggested "Mr. Roboto".
Despite the song's enormous success along with "Show Me the Way", "Babe" and "The Best of Times", it has not been performed live by the band since singer Dennis DeYoung was dismissed in 1999. DeYoung, however, still performs the song regularly on his solo tours.Foo was here
"Foo was here" is an Australian graffiti signature of popular culture, especially known for its use during World War I, but also became popular among Australian schoolchildren of post-war generations.
Foo (or Mr Chad) is shown as a bald-headed man (sometimes depicted with a few hairs) peering over a wall (usually with three fingers from each hand appearing to clutch over the wall as well), with the simple inscription "Foo was here".
Digger History, the Unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Services, says of Foo that "He was chalked on the side of railway carriages, appeared in probably every camp that the 1st AIF World War I served in and generally made his presence felt". If this is the case, then "Foo was here" predates the American version of World War II, "Kilroy was here", by about 25 years.
It has been claimed that "Foo" probably came from the acronym for Forward Observation Officer, but this is likely to be a backronym.French Leave (1948 film)
French Leave is a 1948 American comedy film directed by Frank McDonald and starring Jackie Cooper, Jackie Coogan and Renee Godfrey. It is the sequel to the 1947 film Kilroy Was Here and is sometimes known by the alternative title of Kilroy on Deck.
The film's sets were designed by the art director Dave Milton, one of the resident set designers at Monogram Pictures.Heavy Metal Poisoning
"Heavy Metal Poisoning" is a song by American rock band Styx. It was included as the fifth track on their 1983 studio album Kilroy Was Here.
The song in the story of Kilroy Was Here has the character of Dr Righteous (portrayed by James "JY" Young) preaching the "evils" of rock and roll. Although the song got only minor airplay on FM rock radio, its music video received significant airplay on MTV.
It would be released as a B-side to the single "Music Time" (from the band's 1984 double live album Caught in the Act) in 1984.High Time (song)
"High Time" is the third and final single from the 1983 album, Kilroy Was Here, by Styx. It reached number 48 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart. In a 2009 interview, Dennis DeYoung revealed that "High Time" was released as the third single at the last minute by A&M Records. This happened because Styx member Tommy Shaw refused to have the song "Haven't We Been Here Before" released.James J. Kilroy
James J. Kilroy (September 26, 1902 – November 24, 1962) was a worker at the Fore River Shipyard who is believed to have been the origin of the "Kilroy was here" expression.Kilroy Bluff
Kilroy Bluff (81°15′S 159°42′E) is an ice-covered bluff, 1,040 metres (3,400 ft) high, on the west side of Nursery Glacier at the junction with Jorda Glacier in the Churchill Mountains of Antarctica. The east face of the feature is indented by twin cirques that resemble eyes. Under certain light conditions the appearance of the bluff is reminiscent of the ubiquitous graffiti of World War II: a caricature of a head peering over a wall and the message "Kilroy was here".Kilroy Was Here (1947 film)
Kilroy Was Here is a 1947 American comedy film directed by Phil Karlson and written by Dick Irving Hyland. The film stars Jackie Cooper, Jackie Coogan, Wanda McKay, Frank Jenks, Norman Phillips Jr. and Rand Brooks. The film was released on July 19, 1947, by Monogram Pictures.Kilroy Was Here (1983 film)
Kilroy Was Here is a short film made to tie in with the Styx album of the same name. It was played at the beginning of each Styx show on their 1983 tour. It was written and directed by Brian Gibson of Still Crazy, What's Love Got to Do With It, The Josephine Baker Story and Poltergeist II fame. The VHS video release of the mini-film and live concert is also known as Caught in the Act in the United States.Kilroy Was Here (album)
Kilroy Was Here is the eleventh studio album by the rock band Styx, released on February 22, 1983. The album is named after a famous World War II graffiti, 'Kilroy was here'. It was the final album of original material to be released by the "classic" lineup of Dennis DeYoung, Tommy Shaw, James "J.Y." Young, John Panozzo, and Chuck Panozzo.
The album spawned two hit singles, the synth-pop "Mr. Roboto" which later became one of their signature songs, and the power ballad "Don't Let It End". both of them were major hits in 1983, peaking at #3 and #6 respectively.
The hard rocker "Heavy Metal Poisoning", fifth track on the album, begins with the backmasked Latin words "annuit cœptis, novus ordo seclorum". Translated from the Latin, these words mean "[he/she/it] has favored our undertakings, a new order of the ages". These are the two mottoes from the Great Seal of the United States on the reverse side of the United States one-dollar bill.
The album is certified platinum by the RIAA. As of 2019, it is the last studio album by the band to be certified platinum.Kilroy was here (disambiguation)
Kilroy was here is an American expression that became popular during World War II, typically seen in graffiti.
Kilroy Was Here may also refer to:
Kilroy Was Here (album), a 1983 album by Styx
Kilroy Was Here (1947 film), an American comedy film
Kilroy Was Here (1983 film), a short film made to tie in with the Styx album
Killroy Was Here (upcoming film), an upcoming American horror anthology film based on the graffiti phenomenonMove (The Move album)
Move is the debut album by The Move, released on the Regal Zonophone label. The only one which was recorded by the group’s initial line-up before bassist Ace Kefford left, it includes both sides of their third and fourth singles ("Flowers in the Rain" and "Fire Brigade"). "Flowers in the Rain" was the first ever song played on Radio 1 in September 1967 by Tony Blackburn.Mr. Roboto
"Mr. Roboto" is a song written by Dennis DeYoung of the band Styx, and recorded on the Styx album Kilroy Was Here. It was also released as a 45 RPM single in a 4:44 radio edit, which has the synthesizer intro removed (available on Greatest Hits released by PolyTel in Canada in 1992), with the song "Snowblind" (from their previous album Paradise Theatre) as the B-side. In Canada, it went to #1 on the RPM national singles chart, becoming their third single to top the charts in that country (following "Babe" in 1979–80 and "The Best of Times" in 1981). In the U.S., it reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100.ROCK
ROCK may refer to:
Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad
Rho-associated protein kinase, a serine/threonine-specific protein kinase
Rollergirls of Central Kentucky, roller derby league based in Lexington, Kentucky
R.O.C.K., a 1986 hard rock/heavy metal album by Kirka
Robert Orin Charles Kilroy, from the Styx rock opera Kilroy Was Here, see Mr. RobotoStyx (band)
Styx is an American rock band from Chicago that formed in 1972 and became famous for its albums released in the late 1970s and early 1980s. They are best known for melding hard rock guitar balanced with acoustic guitar, synthesizers mixed with acoustic piano, upbeat tracks with power ballads and incorporating elements of international musical theatre. The band established itself with a progressive rock sound in the 1970s, and began to incorporate pop rock and soft rock elements in the 1980s.
Styx is best known for the following hit songs which hit the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100: "Lady", "Come Sail Away", "Babe", "The Best of Times", "Too Much Time on My Hands", "Mr. Roboto" ,"Don't Let It End", and "Show Me the Way". Other notable songs include "Renegade", "The Grand Illusion", "Blue Collar Man", "Crystal Ball", "Fooling Yourself", "Rockin' the Paradise", "Boat on the River", and "Suite Madame Blue". Styx has had 4 consecutive albums certified multi-platinum by the RIAA as well as 16 top 40 singles in the US, 8 of which hit the top 10. Of their 8 Top 10 singles, 7 were written and sung by founding member and former lead singer Dennis DeYoung, including their #1 chart topper, "Babe". DeYoung has not toured with the band since 1999 after being ousted by guitarists James "J.Y." Young and Tommy Shaw in an acrimonious split.The Message (short story)
"The Message" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the February 1956 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and reprinted in the 1957 collection Earth Is Room Enough. "The Message" provides a fanciful origin of the expression "Kilroy was here". A very short story, it contains only 579 words.