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Anime & Manga
- City Hunter: Ryo, who enjoys mocking his adversaries and pulling pranks on them, is quite fond of playing this trope when he infiltrates into his enemies' lairs. Before leaving, he vandalizes pictures, writes insults on the walls -or comments about their enemies' penis size-, paints drawings of them... He makes this because an angry enemy is prone to commit mistakes... but mostly because he gets a good laugh out of pissing them off.
- Pokémon: The memetically infamous "Gary was here! Ash is a loser!"
- The Cartoon History of the Universe shows a Greek mercenary leaving his name on some Egyptian architecture.
- In one of the Astérix books, a centurion is shouting at an Egyptian for carving his name on a Roman temple, asking how he'd like it if they did that to his temples. This is likely a Historical In-Joke to Italian archaeologist Giovanni Belzoni (see Real Life).
- In one Footrot Flats strip, Wal makes a moving speech about how insignificant it makes one feel knowing that an ancient tree will still be standing centuries after he's dead. He then carves "Wal Footrot Was Here" into the trunk.
- In the Gunslinger Girl fanfic "Heaven's Conscripts," Rico finds the names of soldiers that had been carved in the rocks a hundred years ago when the Dolomites were a battleground between Italian and Austrian forces in World War I. After killing three terrorists, she carves their names in the rock as well.
Films — Live-Action
- "Kilroy Was Here" can be seen written in a tunnel in the Hammer film version of Quatermass and the Pit.
- In Cast Away, Chuck Noland does this before sailing away from the island he was marooned on, presumably to leave a record in case he dies at sea.
- The Killing Room (2009). Several people are locked in a room and forced to take part in a lethal Mind Control experiment. One finds HELP ME and a list of names has been scratched into the wall. Then they find names are scratched all over the walls. The anonymous researcher secretly watching the experiment then brags, "It used to take six to eight hours to reach this point, but leaving those names really sped up the process."
- The Shawshank Redemption: BROOKS WAS HERE
- In Gallipoli, the Diggers are shown carving their names into the stones of the Pyramids. Very much Truth in Television.
- In the end of "Kelly's Heroes" the American Captain, always one step behind the heroes, finds the bank looted and the gold gone with the message painted on the wall.
- Journey to the West: Sun Wukong makes a bet with the Buddha that he can leap out of Buddah's grasp. He goes an extreme distance away and finds a set of pillars. Thinking that he'd won, he leaves the words "Son Wukong Was Here" on the middle pillar and urinates on it for good measure. Turns out the "pillars" were Buddha's fingers. Oops!
- In The Neverending Story, there is a mountain that is only conquered for the first time - that is, you are always "the first person to ever climb it"; it is impossible to get on the top as long as there is any memory of anyone doing it before. So leaving a tag at the top blocks everyone else from it until the tag is worn out by the elements.
- In The Shawshank Redemption, inmate Brooks, unable to fit into society after so many years in prison, carves "Brooks was here" into a ceiling beam from which he then hangs himself. At the end of the film, Red carves "So was Red" before leaving to join Andy in Mexico.
- Isaac Asimov's short story The Message is about a time traveler from the 30th century to WWII North Africa who, forbidden to interfere (he can only observe,) resorts to writing a message on the wall of the hut he was in. His name is George Kilroy.
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Detective Landsman is thrown into a cell by the villains, and chillingly finds a snarky comment written by his dead sister carved on the wall, written after the date she supposedly died in a plane crash.
- In the Star Wars novel I, Jedi, Luke Skywalker reveals that he, Wedge, and Biggs carved their names and a slogan ("The Empire or us — there is no compromise") on the night before attacking the Death Star as a cross between this and a preemptive memorial in case their side lost.
- In My Name Is Earl, Randy had made several graffiti like this, and after the episode where he goes back to school, he sets Earl to correct them since he [Randy] has realised that those graffiti had bad spelling.
- Two Kilroy faces appear in the opening credits of Community, with the noses forming the l's in "Joel McHale".
- In the Doctor Who serials "The Invasion"and "Warrior's Gate", "Kilroy Was Here" is seen; first written on a lift shaft, later spray painted onto a wall inside a spaceship.
- The cover of Iron Maiden's Powerslave album. The wall of the Egyptain tomb has "Indiana Jones Was Here" written on it. It's easier to see on the vinyl release.
- In the radio program The Black Museum (based on real cases of Scotland Yard and real objects in their 'Black Museum'), episode 'The Notes', police find notes actually saying 'Kilroy Was Here." The police eventually realize the killer is actually telling them his name is Kilroy!
- The OGL d20 Modern setting "Weird Wars" uses "Kilroy" as a kind of spirit that has allied itself with the Allies. It possesses random soldiers and leads them to perform suicidally effective charges against Axis positions. When its host is killed, it discorporates, always leaving the graffiti "Kilroy woz 'ere" imprinted on a nearby surface.
- In general, any video game that lets you leave behind some kind of message (text or graphical) can result in this trope.
- This, and bragging rights, is the whole point of high score lists.
- Left 4 Dead has graffiti in every safe house as a form of pseudo-communication between groups of survivors. Among them is Chicago Ted, whose statistics for zombie killing become something of a legend.
- In Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, outside Lilycove City's Pokémon Fan Club building, it is noted that a number of Trainers have scribbled their names all over its sign. There is also a small island in the waters by Seaside Cycling Road that Team Aqua (or Magma) have tagged ("Team Aqua Was Here!").
- In EarthBound, checking a certain sign in Summers shows a message from Porky insulting Ness.
- Edna, the main character of Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, can write "Edna was here" and some variations on many surfaces throughout the game, at one point even on the moon.
- There is a gag in The Order of the Stick when Elan shows that his rapier is actually useful by carving "The Order of the Stick was here!" into the dungeon wall.
- Homestar Runner: "Rad, rad Robotank!"
- In the Looney Tunes short "Haredevil Hare", Bugs Bunny lands on the moon (in 1948) and mentions that he's the first living creature to do so. He then passes a rock with "Kilroy was here" written on it.
- "Rebel Rabbit" has Bugs paint the Washington Monument to look like a barber pole, then signs it "Bugs Bunny Was Here". He then rewires the signs in Times Square to read "Bugs Bunny Wuz Here".
- A similar gag happened in Tex Avery's King Size Canary, where a cat opens a sardine box, only for him to find nothing but a small sign reading "Kilroy was here!"
- The Simpsons:
- In earlier seasons, "El Barto" graffiti tags can be seen all over town. Unsurprisingly, the cops never suspect Bart as the culprit.
- In another episode, Bart writes his name in wet concrete, with an Imagine Spot of the future, where archaeologists speculate on what he might be like.
- Homer tries doing this using the name El Homo, which results in him getting hit on by a man passing by.
- In The Boondocks, Riley graffio-tags his name in big bold letters, then wonders how he got caught.
- In the Flintstones episode "Adobe Dick", Fred and Barney are swallowed by a whale. Inside, they spot a graffito that reads "Jonah was here".
- At the end of the Fairly OddParents TV Movie Channel Chasers, Vicky's sister Tootie gives Timmy's Parents pictures of all the damage Vicky has caused over her time as babysitter. One such picture displays just this.
Timmy's Dad: Vicky was key-scratching "Vicky Was Here" on my car! I punished Timmy for key-scratching "Vicky Was Here" on my car!
- Used by Robin in the episode "Sidekick" of Teen Titans Go! where he graffitis the words "The Joker was here" on the side of the ruined Batmobile to blame him for the damages.
- On Family Guy, Stewie claims to have scratched "Brooks was here" on the wall of Louis's uterus while he was being born. He admits that he did it "just to be a jerk."
- As mentioned above, "Kilroy was here". However it originated (The Other Wiki has a few theories), American soldiers began leaving Kilroy everywhere.
- Graffiti tags. There's even a "language" associated with specific artists and gangs depending on what elements are present in a tag.
- Places like Names Hill, Register Cliff, and Independence Rock in Wyoming; according to Wikipedia, people on the Oregon Trail and the like carved or had carved their names in them. Names Hill also has Native American pictographs.
- One Viking trader scratched "Halfdan was here" in his native language into the wall of the Hagia Sophia when he visited Istanbul. Similar tags have been found in several places in the Mediterranian, as well as in the complex at Skara Brae in Orkney.
- During the Potsdam Conference Harry Truman allegedly had some fun at Joseph Stalin's expense by sneaking into his private bathroom and writing this on the wall. Stalin, in characteristic fashion, had the KGB on high alert looking for this mysterious "Kilroy".
- Giovanni Battista Belzoni as quoted here: "To commemorate this memorable exploit, Belzoni carved his name and those of his fellow adventurers, as well as the date, on the north wall of the temple sanctuary, where the statues of Amun-Re, Re Harakthi, the deified Ramesses II and Ptah sat. Such carving was common practice in those days as unequivocal demonstration of the ownership of a monument or the paternity of a discovery."