Romanian Kilroymania

from Alexandru Bucur

Some technical notes: Most of the captions were just basic inscriptions of "Kilroy was here," and although some of them were stenciled in black spray paint rather than just drawn with a marker, none of them actually bore the distinctive baldheaded, u-nosed cartoon character usually associated with the legend. This also suggests a possible source for the "kilroymania" in the Bugs Bunny cartoon "Haredevil Hare" (mentioned in the "sightings" area of Kilroy Was Here) that was also shown in Romania on Cartoon Network, since that particular animation featured only the caption, without the drawing. Apparently a lot of people picked it up, seeing that I occasionally spotted incarnations of Kilroy in graffiti around several cities of Romania, but I'm pretty sure very few actually knew what the phrase meant or where it had originated.

So in the end, the Kilroy Legend does live on!

Warm regards from Europe, Alexandru Bucur

This is the form and handwriting of the original few messages. The first ever graffiti was written in an elevator, and kept reappearing despite persistent attempts to erase them by the cleaning staff.

These two messages, placed only a few feet apart, are obviously the work of the same person, and belong to the second wave, when many copycats' work appeared along with the "original" Kilroy. I should add that all the
surviving messages are in the same area, in a part of the "Old Building" that was closed for repairs, following a small earthquake causing some cracks in the structure, and the concern that the whole edifice might collapse in a more consistent tremor.

Inscription in the tower of the old building, (the construction with the orange graffiti on its side in the snapshot of the same), a popular hangout for students, especially since laws regarding the use of alcohol on campus are quite relaxed, to the point that alcoholic beverages are sold in the cafeteria. There was a vague attempt to ban smoking from the university's halls and studios, but that was scrapped quickly following a near-revolt of the professorial staff. The tower sits atop the closed area, and although the entrance was boarded in at a certain time, access was never formally prohibited, so it remains popular to this day. Judging by the Double "l" in the name, this caption is a late addition to the phenomenon.

This example shows us that this Kilroy is from a a very cunning individual, capable of changing his handwriting. Here he's trying to imitate mine. In fact I had forgotten about this particular entry, on a paper-covered message board outside the "Technical Science" staffroom, after failing an exam in this department. The name mentioned is that of the particular teacher responsible for the exam. A few months afterwards a reexamination was held (we are allowed one free reexamination for each failed test in the next exam session, and paid ones afterwards) and I passed with flying colours, forgetting all about the message I drew in anger, until the hunt for Kilroy led me back in that particular area of the school.
(still the old building, a part of it that has been restored and has since reopened for "business")

Message characteristic of the latter period of the "outbreak" when people were getting rather annoyed with the whole thing. In fact this piece of text is placed close to the one in picture three, but I chose to present it chronologically rather than based on location.

As you probably guessed, this is a picture of me, conveniently placed in the shade not to reveal my secret identity . . . I am a wanted man after all. . . In the background is the facade of the Old Building.

Click the image for a latger view

Click the image for a latger view

New school: The "modern" part of the university, built in the early 70s. The whole campus has a triangular shape covering about two city blocks (there still is a piece of road, complete with sidewalks, in the middle of the interior courtyard) The university is placed in the centre of Bucharest, the capital of Romania, in one of the most densely built areas of the city. The white corner on the left of the photograph belongs to an 18th century church, "Biserica Enei."

Old School: finally, a general view of the much talked about "Old Building." It was constructed in 1902, in an architectural style specific to Romania (called "Neo-Romanian")that was loosely based on the traditional Walachian building fashion and was closely connected to the Art Nouveau movement taking place in the rest of the world at the same time. It is now partly closed for repairs, having survived two major earthquakes (in 1940 and 1977, the latter registering 7.2 on the Richter scale), countless milder others, and the brutality of two wars. Bucharest was bombed during both. In WW2 it suffered the onslaught of American, British, Russian and finally German planes, and was one of the focal points of the Anti-Communist Revolution of 1989, bullet and shell marks still visible on its facade. Further information on the school can be obtained on their website:

Click the image for a latger view

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