[Ads-l] "Who was Kilroy?" June 26, 1945 (in-print antedating?)

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 27 14:14:42 UTC 2021

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

"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


[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]


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.")

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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