J. P. McEvoy

Joseph Patrick McEvoy (January 10, 1897 – August 8, 1958), also sometimes credited as John P. McEvoy or Joseph P. McEvoy, was an American writer whose stories were published during the 1920s and 1930s in popular magazines such as Liberty, The Saturday Evening Post and Cosmopolitan.


He worked as an editor for the P. F. Volland Company in 1919 and publicly commented on the death of the firm's founder, Paul Frederick Volland.[1]

In 1920 the P.F. Volland Company published a children's fairy story written by McEvoy, which was illustrated by Johnny Gruelle, creator of Raggedy Ann. In the story a lazy little girl, named Dorothy Mary, interacts with, and is taught by the Fairy Queen and a bevy of tiny fairies by means of the "Bam Bam Clock". She learns how to pay attention to schedules, and thus not be late for meals, bed-time, and the such. The story was illustrated in color with drawings by Gruelle. Raggedy Ann is mentioned a few times in the story, and within the pictures are five depictions of Raggedy Ann. This is one of the earliest mentions of Raggedy Ann in a story outside of the "Raggedy Ann" series. The book was later picked up by Algonquin Publishing Co. (circa 1936).

Many of his stories were adapted to movies during this period, including It's a Gift (1934) starring W.C. Fields.[2]

McEvoy also had a hit play, The Potters (1923), contributed to the Ziegfeld Follies and wrote a number of novels, including Show Girl (1928) and Hollywood Girl (1929). McEvoy's experiences working for the P. F. Volland Company are reflected in the Show Girl character of Denny Kerrigan, who was working for the Gleason Greeting Card Company.[3]

Show Girl and Hollywood Girl were adapted into the movies Show Girl (1928) and Show Girl in Hollywood (1930), both starring Alice White. He also wrote the books and lyrics for the musical revue, Americana which opened on Broadway in 1926 and was revived in 1928 and 1932.

McEvoy is perhaps best known as the creator and writer of the popular newspaper comic strip Dixie Dugan, based on Show Girl, which had been serialized in a national magazine with illustrations by John H. Striebel, who continued on as the illustrator of the comic strip. With the title character resembling actress Louise Brooks, the strip was distributed by the McNaught Syndicate and had a long run from 1929 to 1966. McEvoy had previously written a syndicated feature called "Slams of Life"; a collection of these columns was published under the same title in 1919, with the promise "with malice for all and charity toward none." In 2003, James Curtis described the writer's outlook and approach: "In McEvoy's world, nothing ever worked the way it was supposed to and the poor working schlepp always took it in the shorts."

McEvoy was the originator of the quote often attributed to Mark Twain: "Whenever the impulse to exercise comes over me, I lie down until it passes away".[4] He also is credited as the originator of the phrase, "Cut to the chase", in 1928.

During the 1940s and 1950s, he was a regular contributor to the Reader's Digest.

McEvoy had four children: Dorothy and Dennis with his first wife, and Patricia and Margaret with his third wife, New York journalist Margaret Santry.


  1. Shank, Barry (2004). A Token of My Affection: Greeting Cards and American Business Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 145–146. ISBN 0231118783.
  2. Deschner, Donald (1966). The Films of W.C. Fields. New York: Cadillac Publishing by arrangement with The Citadel Press. p. 103. Introduction by Arthur Knight
  3. Shank, Barry (2004). A Token of My Affection: Greeting Cards and American Business Culture. New York: Columbia University Press. pp. 145–148. ISBN 0231118783.
  4. Keyes, Ralph (2006). The Quote Verifier: Who Said What, Where, and When. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 978-0-312-34004-9.


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