The Quick 10: 10 Famous Pieces of Graffiti

Graffiti has come a long way over the years. Largely thanks to artists like Banksy and Blek le Rat, some graffiti is now recognized as the clever art form it really is. In fact, some Banksy pieces have even been taken from their original locations and installed in museums like the Tate Modern. Check out these 10 messages that have scribbled their way into pop culture.

1. You know "Surrender Dorothy" as the skywritten message in The Wizard of Oz, of course, but it has also become a famous piece of graffiti in the D.C. area. Someone with a sharp eye and a good sense of humor thought the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kensington, Maryland, looked quite like something out of Oz. To make sure everyone else noticed the resemblance as well, an anonymous artist scrawled "Surrender Dorothy" on a railroad bridge approaching the building. It first appeared in 1973 and the original is long gone, but homages pop up every now and then.

2. "Kilroy was here" is arguably the most famous piece of graffiti ever. It's certainly made the rounds, that's for sure. There are several stories as to how the little doodle originated, so your guess is probably as good as anyone else's. Many claim the little guy was a WWII tag, but at least one documentary shows a "Kilroy was here" tag from Fort Knox dated 1937. He's often used to poke fun at dictators, whether the stories are true or not: Hitler allegedly was concerned that Kilroy was a super-spy of some sort; Stalin supposedly asked who this Kilroy person was after seeing his name in a VIP bathroom. Hmm. Kilroy may have been real - the New York Times once said they found him and his name was actually J.J Kilroy. The Lowell Sun claimed his named was Frances J. Kilroy, Jr. The Oxford English Dictionary simply calls him a mythical person.

3. "Foo was here" is the Australian answer to Kilroy was here. Or rather, Kilroy was the answer to Foo.

Most sources show that Foo predated Kilroy by at least 20 years. Foo's origins are also unknown, but one story is that Foo was a guy who had the fun job of inspecting welds of submarines during WWI. To show his bosses that he was, in fact, getting his work done, Foo left a little signature everywhere he went. Interestingly enough, this is the exact story the Times reported when they said they found James J. Kilroy.

4. In the last of the "Kilroy" genre we have Mr. Chad, the British version. Mr. Chad was usually accompanied by a clever saying that always started with "Wot, no"¦" For example, in response to the WWII rationing, Mr. Chad often inquired, "Wot, no sugar?" He was spied on the walls of Parliament after the 1945 election, gloating, "Wot, no Tories?" And in 1946, Chad was marked on trains going through Austria with a gleeful, "Wot, no Fuehrer?"

5. "Clapton is God" was famous graffiti all over London in the '60s. Even more famous is the picture taken of a Clapton graffito at just the right (or wrong) time...

6. Here's one for you LOTR fans. "Frodo Lives" was a popular phrase during the '60s and '70s and wouldn't have been out of place on a button at Woodstock or scrawled on a wall in San Francisco. It was revived a bit when the movies came out, but it was not the craze it was back in the day. But never fear - if you want to get in on it, you still can. There's a Facebook group for Frodo Lives!

7. You can probably guess the time period of the famous graffito "Dick Nixon Before He Dicks You." The clever slang saw a small resurgence (with a slight tweak) during the Bush/Cheney administration.

8. "Repent Sinner." You know, in case you needed to be reminded. "Repent sinner" has been gracing walls, buses and billboards everywhere in Western Canada, specifically Edmonton, for about 20 years now. The trend has apparently migrated to Vancouver as well. Not everyone takes the graffiti artist as seriously as she takes herself though (it's speculated that the artist is a woman) - variations including "Reheat Dinner," "Resume Sinning," and "Recent Sinner" have all cropped up in the form of graffiti, stickers and even T-Shirts.

9. "Eternity" is a simple and beloved graffito tag hailing from Australia. I know, a beloved piece of graffiti? But it's true. The poignant word was written in chalk all over the streets of Sydney from the '40s through the '60s. The man responsible for it, a former criminal, remained anonymous for many years. His identity was revealed just a few years before he died in 1967. But his death didn't mean the death of the "Eternity" campaign - others picked up the slogan, including the city of Sydney, which illuminated the word on the Sydney Harbour Bridge during the 2000 New Year's Eve celebrations. They did it again during the 2000 Olympics. And there's an aluminum piece of artwork at Town Hall Square in Sydney that commemorates the movement.

10. And then there's Banksy, the anonymous British graffiti artist. He is quite prolific, so it's hard to choose just one of his pieces. I'm rather fond of the Pulp Fiction guys, myself. There are plenty more to choose from if Travolta isn't quite up your alley.

Are there any famous graffiti pieces where you live?




10 Sweet Facts About Candy Canes

The sweet and striped shepherd’s hooks can be found just about everywhere during the holiday season. It's time you learned a thing or two (or 10) about them.


While the origins of the candy cane are a bit murky, legend has it that they first appeared in hooked form around 1670. Candy sticks themselves were pretty common, but they really took shape when the choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany got the bright idea of twisting them to look like shepherd’s hooks. He then handed them out to kids during church services to keep them quiet.


It’s no surprise, then, that it was a German immigrant who introduced the custom to America. The first reference we can find to the tradition stateside is 1847, when August Imgard of Wooster, Ohio, decked his home out with the sugary fare.


Candy canes without the red don’t seem nearly as cheery, do they? But that’s how they were once made: all white. We’re not really sure who or exactly when the scarlet stripe was added, but we do know that images on cards before the 1900s show snow white canes.


Most candy canes are around five inches long, containing only about 50 calories and no fat or cholesterol.


The world’s largest candy cane was built by Geneva, Illinois chef Alain Roby in 2012.  It was 51 feet long, required about 900 pounds of sugar, and was eventually smashed up with a hammer so people could take home a piece.


Fifty-four percent of kids suck on candy canes, compared to the 24 percent who just go right for the big crunch. As you may have been able to guess, of those surveyed, boys were nearly twice as likely to be crunchers.


According to the National Confectioners Association, about 1.2 billion candy canes are made annually, and 90 percent of those are sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Which honestly begs the question: Who’s buying the 10 percent in the off season?


Bobs (that’s right; no apostrophe) Candies was the first company to really hang its hat on the sweet, striped hook. Lt. Bob McCormack began making candy canes for his kids in the 1920s, and they were such a hit he decided to start mass-producing them. With the help of his brother-in-law, a Catholic priest named Gregory Harding Keller (and his invention, the Keller Machine), McCormack was eventually able to churn out millions of candy canes a day.


December 26 is National Candy Cane Day. Go figure.


Here’s how they make candy canes at Disneyland—it’s a painstaking (and beautiful) technique.

10 Actors Who Hated Their Own Films

1. Sylvester Stallone, Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot. Sly doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to his film career. Despite co-starring with the delightful Estelle Getty as the titular violence-prone mother, Stallone knows just how bad the film was:

"I made some truly awful movies. Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot was the worst. If you ever want someone to confess to murder, just make him or her sit through that film. They will confess to anything after 15 minutes."

2. Alec Guinness, Star Wars.

By the time he played Obi-Wan Kenobi in 1977’s Star Wars: A New Hope, Guinness had already appeared in cinematic classics like The Bridge on the River Kwai, Great Expectations and Lawrence of Arabia. During production, Guinness is reported to have said the following:

"Apart from the money, I regret having embarked on the film. I like them well enough, but it's not an acting job, the dialogue - which is lamentable - keeps being changed and only slightly improved, and I find myself old and out of touch with the young."

The insane amount of fame he won for the role as the wise old Jedi master took him somewhat by surprise and, ultimately, annoyed him. In his autobiography A Positively Final Appearance: A Journal, Guinness recalls a time he encountered an autograph-seeking fan who boasted to him about having watched Star Wars more than 100 times. In response, Guinness agreed to provide the boy an autograph under the condition that he promise never to watch the film again.

3. Bob Hoskins, Super Mario Brothers. He was in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. As far as I’m concerned, Bob Hoskins is forgiven for Super Mario Bros. Hoskins, though, doesn’t seem to be able to forgive himself. Last year the Guardian spoke with the veteran actor about his career and he summed up his feelings rather succinctly:

What is the worst job you've done?
Super Mario Brothers.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Super Mario Brothers.

If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I wouldn't do Super Mario Brothers.

4. George Clooney, Batman & Robin. Sure, Batman & Robin made money. But by every other imaginable measure, the film was a complete failure, and a nightmare to the vast majority of the Caped Crusader’s most fervent fanatics. Star George Clooney recognized what a stinker he helped create and once plainly stated, “I think we might have killed the franchise.”

5. David Cross, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. When actors have a movie out, it's customary that they publicize the film by saying nice things about it. Earlier this year David Cross took a different approach. When it came to describing his new film Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, the veteran comedian — better known for Mr. Show and Arrested Development — went on Conan and called the film a “big commercial for Carnival Cruise Lines” and told people not to go see it.

6. Katherine Heigl, Knocked Up. Judd Apatow’s unplanned pregnancy comedy was a huge hit and helped cement her status as a bankable film actress. After the film’s release, however, Heigl didn’t have all good things to say. In fact, what she specifically said about it was that the film was:

"…A little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys.”

7. Charlize Theron, Reindeer Games. The 2000 action film Reindeer Games starred Ben Affleck, Gary Sinese and Charlize Theron and was directed by John Frankenheimer. But it all somehow failed to come together. In the end the film lost a lot of money and compiled a wealth of negative reviews – including one from its star actress who simply said, “Reindeer Games was not a good movie.”

8. Mark Wahlberg, The Happening. Mark Wahlberg doesn’t exactly seem like a guy who lives his life afraid of trees. But that is the odd position M. Night Shyamalan’s 2008 film The Happening put him in. Wahlberg, as it turns out, doesn’t look back too fondly on the film. He went on record during a press conference for The Fighter when he described a conversation with a fellow actor:

"We had actually had the luxury of having lunch before to talk about another movie and it was a bad movie that I did. She dodged the bullet. And then I was still able to … I don’t want to tell you what movie … alright “The Happening.” F*** it. It is what it is. F***ing trees, man. The plants. F*** it. You can’t blame me for not wanting to try to play a science teacher. At least I wasn’t playing a cop or a crook."

9. John Cusack, Better Off Dead. John Cusack reportedly hated his cult 80s comedy so much that he walked out of the screening and later told the film’s director Steve Holland that Better Off Dead was "the worst thing I have ever seen" and he would "never trust you as a director again."

10 Christopher Plummer, The Sound of Music. The Sound of Music is considered a classic and has delighted many generations of fans. But the film's own lead actor, Christopher Plummer, didn't always sing its praises. Mr. Von Trapp himself declined to participate in a 2005 film reunion and, according to one acquaintance, has referred to the film as The Sound of Mucus.



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