George Barr McCutcheon (July 26, 1866–1928) was an American popular novelist and playwright. His best known works include the series of novels set in Graustark, a fictional East European country, Brewster's Millions, a play and several films.
Born in Tippecanoe County, Indiana, McCutcheon's father, despite not receiving formal education, stressed the value of literature and encouraged his sons to write. During McCutcheon's childhood, his father had a number of jobs that required travel around the county in Indiana. McCutcheon studied at Purdue University and was a roommate of future humorist George Ade. During his college years, he was editor of the Lafayette Daily Courier and wrote a serial novel of satire about Wabash River life.
Although McCutcheon became famous for the Graustark series (the first novel was published in 1901), he hated the characterization of being a Romantic and preferred to be identified with his playwriting.
He was the older brother of noted cartoonist John T. McCutcheon.(Wikipedia):
Two events of great importance took place in Tinkletown on the night of May 6, 1918. The first, occurring at half-past ten o'clock, was of sufficient consequence to rouse the entire population out of bed—thereby creating a situation, almost unique, which allowed every one in town to participate in all the thrills of the second. When the history of Tinkletown is written,—and it is said to be well under way at the hands of that estimable authoress, Miss Sue Becker, some fifty years a resident of the town and the great-granddaughter of one of its founders,—when this history is written, the night of May 6, 1918, will assert itself with something of the same insistence that causes the world to refresh its memory occasionally by looking into the encyclopedia to determine the exact date of the Fall of the Bastile. The fire-bell atop the town hall heralded the first event, and two small boys gave notice of the second.
Smock's grain-elevator, on the outskirts of the town, was in flames, and with a high wind blowing from the west, the Congregational and Baptist churches, the high school, Pratt's photograph gallery and the two motion-picture houses were threatened with destruction. As Anderson Crow, now deputy marshal of the town, declared the instant he arrived at the scene of the conflagration, nothing but the most heroic and indefatigable efforts on the part of the volunteer fire-department could save the town—only he put it in this way: "We'll have another Chicago fire here, sure as you're born, unless it rains or the wind changes mighty all-fired sudden; so we got to fight hard, boys."
Mr. Crow, also deputy superintendent of the fire-department, was late in getting to the engine-house back of the town hall—so late that the hand-engine and hose-reel, manned by volunteers who had waited as long as advisable, were belabouring the fire with water some time before he reached the engine-house. This irritated Mr. Crow considerably. He was out of breath when he got to the elevator, or some one would have heard from him. Another cause of annoyance was the fact that his rubber coat and helmet went with the hose-reel and were by this time adorning the person of an energetic fire-fighter who had no official right to them. After a diligent search Mr. Crow located his regalia and commanded the wearer, one Patrick Murphy, to hand 'em over at once.
This is a richly illustrated mystery novel with an ironical undertone.
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