Roy McCardell

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Roy Larcom McCardell (born June 30, 1870 in Hagerstown, Maryland, died after 1940) was a novelist, poet, screenwriter, and former reporter for the Birmingham Age-Herald.

McCardell's father was the editor of the Hagerstown Mail and later the Evening Times in Cumberland, Maryland. Roy attended school there until age twelve, when he started contributing to his father's paper, and also to the national satirical magazine Puck.

He moved to Birmingham at age 17 to work as a reporter for the Age-Herald. Throughout his newspaper career, McCardell combined reporting with serialized fiction. Many of his contributions were reprinted in national magazines, including Frank Leslie's Weekly. Arthur Brisbane of the New York Evening Sun wrote to offer him a position at his newspaper. He accepted, but before long moved on to The New York World, and then to the staff of Puck. From there he transitioned into editing at the New York Morning Telegraph and Metropolitan magazine.

In 1896 McCardell suggested to his editor at the World, Morrill Goddard, that they use their new color press to produce a comic supplement. He partnered with artist Richard Outcault on the feature, "The Yellow Kid", which debuted on November 6 and helped the paper grow from 140,000 to 800,000 circulation over the next six months.

In 1897 McCardell began writing 'scenarios" for silent films and eventually authored more than 1,000 treatments. He was hired by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company as perhaps the world's first full-time screenwriter in 1900. He appeared, as himself, in an extended version of Winsor McCay's landmark animated short "Gertie the Dinosaur" in 1914. McCardell's best known scenarios, both filmed in 1915, were A Fool There Was (1915), which introduced film audiences to their first vampire, and the serial The Diamond from the Sky, which was shown in more than 8,000 cinemas.

McCardell also wrote book reviews, songs, poetry and a stage play, "The Gay Life".


  • McCardell, Roy (1898) The Wage Slaves of New York. New York: G. W. Dillingham & Company
  • McCardell, Roy (1900) Olde Love and Lavender. New York: Godfrey A. S. Wieners
  • McCardell, Roy (1903) Rise and Shine Stories
  • McCardell, Roy (1903) Conversations of a Chorus Girl. New York: Street and Smith
  • McCardell, Roy (1906) Mr. and Mrs. Nagg
  • McCardell, Roy (1907) The Jarr Family
  • McCardell, Roy (1907) Jimmy Jones: Autobiography of an Office Boy
  • McCardell, Roy (1916) The Diamond from the Sky
  • McCardell, Roy (1930) My Aunt Angie
  • McCardell, Roy (1931) The Book of My Uncle Oswald


  • Alderman, Edwin Anderson, Joel Chandler Harris & Charles William Kent, eds (1910) Library of Southern Literature: Biographical Dictionary of Authors. Atlanta, Georgia: Martin & Hoyt Company
  • "Roy McCardell" (September 25, 2013) Wikipedia - accessed September 15, 2014

External links