[Ads-l] "Who was Kilroy?" June 26, 1945 (in-print antedating?)
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 1 12:17:22 UTC 2021
Fred discovered that the phrase "Who is Kilroy?" appeared in the April
21, 1945 issue of the Texacts newspaper of the Sheppard Field Army (as
mentioned previously on this thread).
The early citations for Kilroy signs and graffiti do not mention any
pictures of the character.
I wondered: When did a Kilroy-like picture first appear? What name was
first assigned to the Kilroy-like picture?
JL helpfully pointed out that a picture of Kilroy (together with the
name Kilroy) appeared on a button which is being sold on eBay. The
year 1943 appeared on the edge of the button, but it is not clear when
the button was actually created.
JL also pointed to a picture of Kilroy (together with the name Kilroy)
that appeared on a plane; however, it is not clear when the image was
Dave Wilton has posted a wonderful piece of evidence on his Word
Origins website. A "Useless Eustace" cartoon by artist Jack Greenall
published in London’s "Daily Mirror" on December 11, 1937 included a
Kilroy-like image on the wall behind a bank teller. No name was
specified for the image.
The 1937 artwork by Jack Greenall displayed two question marks above
the figure. They probably signaled an interrogative mental state for
the unnamed 1937 figure. (The later Mr. Chad figure sometimes has a
strand of hair shaped like a question mark.) I double-checked this
citation, and it is accurate. The cartoon is accessible via
Website: Word Origins
Title: Kilroy was here / Mr. Chad
Author: Dave Wilton
Date: 22 March 2021
The name "Mr. Chad" was attached to the figure in a "Daily Mirror"
article dated September 10, 1945. The article included several
illustrations of Mr. Chad. Some illustrations of Mr. Chad depicted a
single strand of hair shaped like a question mark.
The following questions accompanied the Mr. Chad figure according to
the "Daily Mirror".
"What, no dialling tone?"
"What, no cigarettes?"
"What, no more doodle-bugs?"
Later newspapers employed "Wot" instead of "What".
Date: September 10, 1945
Newspaper: Daily Mirror
Newspaper Location: London, England
Article: How Mr. CHAD was born
Quote Page 7, Column 2
Database: British Newspaper Archive
The name "Smoe" was specified for a Kilroy-like image in a Tucson,
Arizona newspaper on October 21, 1945. The article did not include a
picture, but the journalist did describe the image.
Date: October 21, 1945
Newspaper: The Arizona Daily Star
Newspaper Location: Tucson, Arizona
Article: Tucson In Particular
Author: Nancy Lunsford
Section 2, Quote Page 3, Column 1
This week the front of the Post contains a small article entitled "Who
is Kilroy?" Seems he is the little man who has just been there and who
haunts the ferry command all around the world. I heard the other day
about a character named "Smoe," who invaded England along with the
Yanks and brought along his sister Lena. Smoe is just about as
mythical and as ever-present as the ferry command Kilroy, only Smoe
leaves his picture wherever he goes--his nose, his eyes, and a pair of
hands, peeking over a wall. Smoe is a sterling character, who does
everything right--he may appear beside a door saying "Smoe closes the
door, why don't you?"
On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 11:31 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here are three letters from Newsweek. Sorry, I cannot share the
> accompanying illustration. Smoe looks like a more detailed version of
> Kilroy with a spit-curl. The Newsweek illustration was made by someone
> who clearly enjoyed making cartoons; hence, the image of Smoe was more
> sophisticated than the basic Kilroy image.
> Date: December 17, 1945
> Periodical : Newsweek
> Section: Letters
> Title: Smoe Was There, Too
> Quote Page 18
> Publisher: Newsweek Publishing, New York
> Database: ProQuest
> [Begin excerpt - check for typos]
> Smoe Was There, Too
> In your issue of Dec. 3 you mention the fabulous Kilroy as the most
> famous man in the Army Air Forces. I dispute Kilroy’s right to this
> title and think that thousands of men in the Fifth, Eighth, Ninth,
> Fifteenth, Twentieth, and Continental Air Forces will back me in
> nominating “Smoe” to the office. Smoe has been publicized on the walls
> of barracks, mess halls, and latrines all over the world. The last I
> heard of Smoe he was seeking a discharge at Sioux Falls Army Air Field
> in South Dakota.
> JOSEPH F. DIEMER
> Leonia, N. J.
> NEWSWEEK wired Sioux Falls Army Air Field about Smoe and received the
> following telegram in reply:
> KILROY IS A PIKER. SMOE ORIGINATED IN RADIO SCHOOL HERE IN 1943 FROM A
> MEANINGLESS LETTER SCRAMBLE USED IN CODE PRACTICE, AND SPREAD OVER
> EARTH AS AAF MEN SHIPPED ABROAD. SMOE IS SNIDE CHARACTER GIVEN TO
> SCRIBBLING NAME ON BARS, DUSTY WINDOWS, BARE WALLS, TOMBSTONES. A
> PORTRAIT USUALLY ACCOMPANIES HIS SIGNATURE CONSISTING OF HANDS, A
> NOSE, AND SPIT CURL PEEPING OVER A FENCE.
> THE RUMOR THAT SMOE DISCHARGING IS VILE CANARD. SMOE RE-ENLISTED.
> SUGGEST YOU CHECK REPORT THAT EXPLORERS OPENED TUTANKHAMEN TOMB TO
> FIND THE LEGEND "SMOE WAS HERE."
> CAPT. G.M. ZITER
> PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER
> ARMY AIR FIELD
> SIOUX FALLS, S.D.
> I used to be stationed at Sioux Falls Army Air Base, where the Smoe
> myth got its start, and did quite a bit of cartooning while I was
> there. I thought you might be interested in these two versions of
> Smoe. The one showing him as a gunner is more popular with
> radio-operator gunners than the spit-curl version.
> SGT. ROBERT Z. SIMMONS
> New York, N.Y.
> [End excerpt]
> On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 10:54 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
> <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > The December 17, 1945 issue of Newsweek has a picture of Smoe that is
> > a closer match to Kilroy. Smoe is peering over a fence. Smoe has a
> > Kilroy-like nose and hands. The Newsweek Smoe is more elaborate than
> > the simple Kilroy figure because the Newsweek illustration is by a
> > skilled artist. I will follow this message with a post containing the
> > text of two accompanying letters about Smoe.
> > Garson
> > On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 10:18 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
> > <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > >
> > > I meant to say: "Smoe" does not have hands, but he does have a
> > > Kilroy-like nose.
> > >
> > > My word processing software repeatedly changed "smoe" to "some".
> > > Garson
> > >
> > > On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 10:14 AM ADSGarson O'Toole
> > > <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > >
> > > > What is the earliest solid citation for a picture of Kilroy? Here is a
> > > > December 1945 citation that includes a picture of the character "Smoe"
> > > > which is similar to Kilroy. Follow the link to see a clipping with
> > > > illustrations.
> > > >
> > > > "Some" does not have hands, but he does have a Kilroy-like nose
> > > >
> > > > Date: December 31, 1945
> > > > Newspaper: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
> > > > Newspaper Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
> > > > Article: Smoe Is Watching, So Look Out!
> > > > Author: Constance Humphrey (Post-Gazette Staff Writer)
> > > > Quote Page 9, Column 2 to 4
> > > > Clipped by: sslunsford6 on 29 Jun 2019
> > > > Database: Newspapers.com
> > > >
> > > > https://www.newspapers.com/clip/33355395/smoe-is-watching-so-look-out/
> > > >
> > > > [Begin excerpt]
> > > > You're likely to find Smoe's countenance scrawled on a piece of paper
> > > > in your coat pocket, his long and bulbous nose draped over the edge of
> > > > a horizontal line. His half-shut eyes will peer accusingly at you. His
> > > > motto, "Smoe Is Watching" will send 'a shiver up your spine.
> > > > . . .
> > > > Smoe has friends and helpers, too. There's "Nate the Fox," who sticks
> > > > his nose, eyes and ears around corners just like Smoe. The sight of
> > > > Nate is enough to make you swear off for life.
> > > >
> > > > Other friends of Smoe are the now-famous Kilroy whose name appeared
> > > > everywhere in advance of United States troops during the war. "Kilroy
> > > > was here," his legend reads, and don't be surprised if you find it
> > > > scrawled on the mirror as you shave tomorrow.
> > > > [End excerpt]
> > > >
> > > > Garson
> > > >
> > > > On Sat, Mar 27, 2021 at 9:32 AM <dave at wilton.net> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > While I have no problem believing a 1943 or 1944 date for "Kilroy," the restored aircraft is not good evidence. For one thing, it has invasion stripes, but the aircraft in question was manufactured in 1945, some nine months after D-Day, and never left the United States, used for training. Clearly the restorers took some liberties and produced a "representative" paint scheme rather than an accurate one.
> > > > >
> > > > > Similarly, the buttons aren't great evidence. All sorts of after-the-fact memorabilia are produced for sale (sometimes honestly sold as replicas, sometimes not). Or, they could genuinely be WWII-era, but the exact date an estimate. Without documentation of provenance, I wouldn't trust it.
> > > > >
> > > > > From my own experience recently researching Kilroy for my site, I had to give up finding a WWII-era photo to illustrate the entry. The only genuine ones I could find were a couple of poor-quality scans from newspaper archives—all from 1945. Virtually all those on the web are photoshopped or stills from WWII video games that look good at low resolution but are obviously CGI when examined closely. (My fave was a Sherman tank in Normandy that bore the words "Kilroy was here" and directly below that "Epstein was murdered.")
> > > > >
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