who is kilroy?
If you’ve lived long enough and been even remotely aware of your surroundings, chances are pretty good you’ve bumped into some “Kilroy was here” graffiti somewhere or other. So who is Kilroy?
During World War II the phrase “Kilroy Was Here” suddenly and mysteriously began showing up all over war-torn Europe. Regardless of where you found yourself, Kilroy apparently had been there before you. Bullet-riddled walls, tanks, battleships, even Paris’ Eiffel Tower, all had been christened by Kilroy.
Later, a British artist added the cartoon doodle that came to be associated with Kilroy – that of a big-nosed interloper peering over a wall with the now-ubiquitous “Kilroy was here” alongside. Unlike the artist, however, nobody really knows the origin of the original Kilroy and why so many adopted the famous imprimatur for themselves. In short order, the original Kilroy spawned thousands – if not tens of thousands – of copycats and soon Kilroy was a global phenomenon.
We like to believe “Kilroy” was simply staking a claim, however temporary, to his existence on this earth, the need to make such an announcement no doubt intensified by a raging world war and the very real risk of dying all too young. That so many others chose to scrawl the same words and doodle wherever they happened to be demonstrated – at least to us – the birth of one of the first viral social media campaigns.
The Kilroy brand has by no means disappeared. Kilroy can be found on virtually any public service you can imagine and we picture a day when perhaps humans no longer grace this earth but Kilroy still does, a day when perhaps an alien species arrives on our burned out planet and stumbles across the statement and wonders, “Who was this Kilroy character?”