The Man of the West
Cumpson (center, seated) in a scene from the film.
Directed byFrederick A. Thomson
Written byFrederick A. Thomson
Produced byCarl Laemmle
Independent Moving Pictures
StarringJohn R. Cumpson
Distributed byMotion Picture Distributors and Sales Company
Release date
April 22, 1912 (1912-04-22)[1]
CountryUnited States
English intertitles

A Millionaire for a Day is a 1912 American silent comedy short film starring John R. Cumpson. It was produced by the Independent Moving Pictures (IMP) Company of New York.[1]

The story is based on a real-life incident reported in newspapers across the United States in January 1912.[2] A John Jay McDevitt of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, sold an accidental nomination for county treasurer for $2500 and traveled to New York City with an entourage (a doctor, a secretary, a valet and about 20 guests) on a special train, making speeches to appreciative audiences at stops along the way and arriving with only $72.40 left. There he fulfilled his ambition of acting the way he believed a millionaire would, spending and tipping lavishly.[3][4]


Mechanic Fred Dudley goes to New York City and squanders his entire inheritance in a day. Then, broke but wiser, he returns home to Wilkes-Barre.[5]


Preservation status

According to one source, George Eastman House has three film frames in its collection.[6]


The Meridian Daily Journal noted that the film was a "screaming comedy".[7] The Calumet News also covered the film, reviewing it favorably.[2]


  1. ^ a b "IMP Releases". Motion Picture News. Vol. V, no. 15. April 13, 1912. p. 16.
  2. ^ a b "The Picture Houses". The Calumet News. May 21, 1912 – via open access
  3. ^ "High Life for McDevitt". The Boston Globe. January 13, 1912. p. 11 – via open access
  4. ^ "Millionaire For A Day Is Back Home And Broke". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. January 15, 1912. p. 4 – via open access
  5. ^ "Manufacturers' Synopses of Films: A Millionaire for a Day". Motion Picture News. Vol. V, no. 15. April 13, 1912. pp. 35–36.
  6. ^ "Dettagli frammento / Clip details".
  7. ^ "Airdome and Crystal". The Meridian Daily Journal. August 16, 1912 – via open access