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Old Mar 23, 2008, 8:44 AM   #1
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Since this is getting posted multiple times may as well have the explanation to go with it.

KILROY WAS HERE!
In 1946 the American Transit Association, through its radio program,"Speak to America," sponsored a nationwide contest to find the REALKilroy, offering a prize of a real trolley car to the person who could prove himself to be the genuine article.

Almost 40 men stepped forward to make that claim, but only James Kilroyfrom Halifax, Massachusetts had evidence of his identity.

Kilroy was a 46-year old shipyard worker during the war. He worked as achecker at the Fore River Shipyard in Quincy. His job was to go around
and check on the number of rivets completed. Riveters were on pieceworkand got paid by the rivet.

Kilroy would count a block of rivets and put a check mark in semi-waxedlumber chalk, so the rivets wouldn't be counted twice. When Kilroy went
off duty, the riveters would erase the mark.

Later on, an off-shift inspector would come through and count therivets a second time, resulting in double pay for the riveters.

One day Kilroy's boss called him into his office. The foreman was upset about all the wages being paid to riveters, and asked him toinvestigate. It was then that he realized what had been going on.

The tight spaces he had to crawl in to check the rivets didn't lendthemselves to lugging around a paint can and brush, so Kilroy decidedto stick with the waxy chalk. He continued to put his checkmark on each job he inspected, but added KILROY WAS HERE in king-sized letters nextto the check, and eventually added the sketch of the chap with the longnose peering over the fence and that became part of the Kilroy message.Once he did that, the riveters stopped trying to wipe away his marks.

Ordinarily the rivets and chalk marks would have been covered up withpaint. With war on, however, ships were leaving the Quincy Yard so fastthat there wasn't time to paint them.

As a result, Kilroy's inspection "trademark" was seen by thousands ofservicemen who boarded the troopships the yard produced. His message
apparently rang a bell with the servicemen, because they picked it upand spread it all over Europe and the South Pacific. Before the war'send, "Kilroy" had been here, there, and everywhere on the long haul toBerlin and Tokyo.

To the unfortunate troops outbound in those ships, however, he was acomplete mystery; all they knew for sure was that some jerk namedKilroy had "been there first." As a joke, U.S. servicemen began placingthe graffiti wherever they landed, claiming it was already there whenthey arrived.

Kilroy became the U.S. super-GI who had always "already been" whereverGIs went. It became a challenge to place the logo in the most unlikely
places imaginable (it is said to be atop Mt. Everest, the Statue ofLiberty, the underside of the Arch De Triumphe, and even scrawled inthe dust on the moon.)

And as the war went on, the legend grew. Underwater demolition teamsroutinely sneaked ashore on Japanese-held islands in the Pacific to map
the terrain for the coming invasions by U.S. troops (and thus,presumably, were the first GI's there). On one occasion, however, theyreported seeing enemy troops painting over the Kilroy logo!

In 1945, an outhouse was built for the exclusive use of Roosvelt,Stalin, and Churchill at the Potsdam conference.

The first person inside was Stalin, who emerged and asked his aide (inRussian), "Who is Kilroy?" .

To help prove his authenticity in 1946, James Kilroy brought alongofficials from the shipyard and some of the riveters. He won thetrolley car, which he gave to his nine children as a Christmas gift and set it up as a playhouse in the Kilroy front yard in Halifax,
Massachusetts.

So now You Know!



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Old Mar 24, 2008, 6:58 PM   #2
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Bynx,

Thanks for this bit of info. I always wondered.
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 6:20 AM   #3
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Bynx wrote:
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Since this is getting posted multiple times may as well have the explanation to go with it.
I was reluctant to post a photo of the World War II Memorial in the Funny Photos Forum, but then I figured "What the heck? It's funny!"

Someone involved in the design and construction of the World War II Memorial had enough of a sense of humor to include 'Kilroy', and I think that effort should be acknowledged.

And I think the same goes for the person that gave Cape Canaveral the telephone Area Code of 321!
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Old Mar 26, 2008, 6:24 AM   #4
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selvin wrote:
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Bynx,

Thanks for this bit of info. I always wondered.
I prefer the Snopes version. See http://www.snopes.com/language/phrases/kilroy.asp
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