Have you ever heard the phrase “Kilroy Was Here”? I have, I am not sure where, but I bet it was in a Mad Magazine Super Special.
Kilroy was a drawing of a bald man with a big nose looking over a fence. Next to him were the words “Kilroy was here”.
During World War II Kilroy was EVERYWHERE. The phrase became a national joke and soon the cartoon was on patches and book covers across America.
But, how did it start?
To begin with, the cartoon of the bald man was originally British, his name is Mr. Chad. Mr. Chad is older than the Kilroy phrase, but is now forever associated with it.
George Edward Chatterton created Mr. Chad, a little fellow with the catch phrase "Wot, no _____?" The blank would be filled in with the punch line. It must have been fun for Chatterton. Let's try it:
Wot, no dandruff?
Wot, no hamper?
Wot, no Aaron Carter CDs?
Wot, no Jenny from the block?
Wot, no life insurance policy with bad credit?
Wot, no Bea Arthur lap dances?
Wot, no Tony Danza is a dork?
Wot, no I wish my hands were made of candy?
Wot, no I hate people that quote Austin Powers?
Wow, I could do that all day.
In December of 1946, the New York Times, determined James J. Kilroy of Quincy, Massachusetts as THE Kilroy in the phrase. James worked as a steel inspector and wrote "Kilroy was here" on everything he inspected.
Soon, the phrase and Mr. Chad somehow united and it became a favorite graffiti of people everywhere. Mostly, however, "Kilroy was here" is associated with the armed forces as they took Kilroy abroad and it became a pastime to try to write him in the strangest places possible.
Now if only I can get "Wot, no Bea Arthur lap dances?" to become as popular.