“The Lost Generation” was nicknamed when Gertrude Stein commented to Ernest Hemingway, “All of you young people who served in the war. You are a lost generation. You have no respect for anything. You drink yourselves to death.” It became identified with the group after Hemingway then included the reference in his novel, A Movable Feast.

Odd McIntyre was especially fond of his fellow wordsmiths. With the money to travel, he and Maybelle were frequent visitors to Paris, where Odd became friends with many of the writers, including F. Scott Fitzgerald, referred to as the “Lost Generation.”

This group of creative American expatriates, who had come of age during World War I, was disillusioned by America in the 1920s. As a whole, they felt that morality, patriotism, and faith were no longer important, and it was impossible to live the way others had just a generation before. Living a bohemian lifestyle, frequently in Europe, they tried to make sense of the world through their writing and art. In addition to Stein, Hemingway, and Fitzgerald, writers associated with the group included T. S. Eliot, E. E. Cummings, and Hart Crane.

For decades, Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, which is said to be the birthplace of the Bloody Mary, advertised to English-speaking visitors with the tag line, “Just tell the taxi driver: Sank Roo Doe Noo.”

Ironically, for a group who wanted to escape American culture, much of its socializing took place at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris. Much of the inside of the bar was imported straight from New York. When Clancey’s Bar on Seventh Avenue in Manhattan closed because of Prohibition, American jockey Tod Sloan had it dismantled piece by piece and shipped over to 5 Rue Daunou, and named it the New York Bar. Later purchased by Harry MacElhone, a former bartender, who renamed it Harry’s New York Bar, it became a popular hangout for Americans looking for a taste of home while living in or visiting Paris. Harry’s New York Bar is still a popular stop for those visiting Paris today.

Odd was a frequent patron when in Paris, even helping MacElhone come up with a club for the most dedicated customers—the Brotherhood of the International Bar Flies. The IBF, as they called it, was a “secret and fraternal organization devoted to the uplift and downfall of serious drinkers.”

Members of the IBF could identify each other by their official IBF lapel pins, which featured a dead fly on a sugar cube. Each member also received a bright red notebook, with the club logo on the front. Note that Odd is listed as “big blue bottle fly” and president, and McElhone as “exalted blue bottle fly” and vice president.

While Odd’s fellow members included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thornton Wilder, and Ernest Hemingway, non-writers were certainly not excluded from the club. Boxer Jack Dempsey, coach Knute Rockne, and fashion designer Coco Chanel were among those who could be spotted wearing the IBF pin and ordering cocktails at bars around the world.

In April 1925, Odd’s friend and IBF member F. Scott Fitzgerald published The Great Gatsby. The novel, critical of the consumer culture and materialism of the time, followed Nick Carraway, a young man from the Midwest, who moved to New York and befriended a group of spoiled, young people living the “American dream.” Odd and his friends read closely to see if Fitzgerald had included any characters inspired by them in his tale of riches gone wrong.

One friend of both Odd and Fitzgerald who likely saw a bit of himself in Gatsby was Gene Buck. Buck was Fitzgerald’s neighbor at Great Neck on Long Island, and is said to have been an inspiration for some parts of Fitzgerald’s story. Buck worked for Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. for many years and was the one who introduced Odd to the great showman.

Scott Fitzgerald and Ring Lardner are neighbors at Great Neck, L.I. In the morning when the young author who glorified the flapper springs out of bed he sings through an open window: ‘Oh the great Fitzgerald is just out of bed. Just out of bed. O, the great Fitzgerald!’ Neighbors have been trying to mitigate the annoyance but to no avail. For Fitzgerald and Lardner continue their rhyming fooleries at intervals all during the day.
O. O. McIntyre

In Odd’s April 18, 1923 column, he noted Fitzgerald was a neighbor of sports columnist and short story writer Ring Lardner, and humorously played off the egos of both writers. A clipping of the column was found in Fitzgerald’s personal scrapbook.

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Take a quick trolley ride through 1920s New York.

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