[Ads-l] "Who was Kilroy?" June 26, 1945 (in-print antedating?)
adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 27 15:31:11 UTC 2021
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
Title: Smoe Was There, Too
Quote Page 18
Publisher: Newsweek Publishing, New York
[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.
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.
> 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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