Feb 13, 1920 – Chin Chin Plays Myers Theater in Janesville, WI.

Donna in Janesville, WI, at the Myers Theater – Date: Feb 13, 1920
Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” completed their
one night stand in Eau Claire and headed for Janesville, 180 or so miles to the
south for another one-nighter.
Preshow advertising began with an announcement
on February 7th in the Janesville
Daily Gazette
by the theater manager, L. C. Hensler, that a Charles
Dillingham show was returning to Janesville for the first time in more than ten
years for “one night only.” The announcement mentions “Chin Chin” and the
“Famous Clown Saxophone Band.”[i]
Source: Newspapers.Com
Janesville Daily Gazette
(Janesville, WI) 11 Feb 1920, Pg 6
Leading Comedians, et al
The advertising continued with another
announcement on February 10th that mentioned both the size of the
company (65) with 40 Girls and 35 men back of the scenes.  (I know that adds up to 75 people.) It also
mentions “two car loads of scenery” and some of the acts as well as the hit
songs from the show, including:
Girls I’m Through,
                  Violet, Violet,
                  The Pekin Patrol,
                  Love Moon,
                  The Chinese Honeymoon,
                  Temple Bells,
                  Bally Mooney, (etc.)
The Daily Gazette of February 11th  showed a graphic of the two male stars, Roy
Binder & Walter Wills as well as 12 of the women in the show.  Certainly, Donna would have been one of those
12, however, the quality of the on-line image isn’t high enough to determine
which one is Donna.
After the show a short article detailing the
non-existent plot and the characters of the show including the role of the
Goddess of the Lamp, the part played by Donna.
Myers Grand Opera House

Interior of the Myers Theater – Post 1929 “Moorish” remodel
Photo Credit: [Janesville Daily] Gazette File Photo
When “Chin Chin” played at the Myers
in 1920, it was old.  It has been built
in 1870 as the Myers Opera House.  A fire
in 1891 caused the Opera House to be rebuilt and renamed as the Grand Opera
House. It was a modest sized, ground floor, theater held about 1000 people –
400 on the main floor, 293 in the balcony, and 300 in the gallery. The stage
was 32 by 30 feet in size.[ii]
In 1920 the 50-year-old theater, managed by Peter L
Myers, was sold to the Janesville Amusement Company[iii] who installed L. C. Hensler as the
theater’s new manager.
In the late 1920s the theater changed
from live performances to movies and was remodeled into a “Moorish” style movie
place to show Hollywood films.[iv] [v]  The theater remained open until the mid
1970s. Finally, in 1977, demolition began on the building and the site became a
parking lot for the Rock County National Bank. [vi]
Further Research

Review another source for the Feb 11, 1920 issue of the Janesville Daily Gazette for a higher quality image.
Besides the “Gazette,” the Cahn-Leighton Theatrical Guide mentions the Janesville “Recorder” as a daily A.M. paper. I can’t find an on-line edition of the “Recorder” on line. Annually see if it becomes available.


[i] Janesville Daily Gazette (Janesville, Wisconsin) ·
Sat, Feb 7, 1920 · Page 6
[ii] The Cahn-Leighton Theatrical Guide – 1913-1914.
[iii] Hedberg Public Library Local History Database http://hedbergpubliclibrary.org/ Search results for” Myers Theater
[v] Cartwright, Carol Lohry; Shaffer, Scott; Waller, Randal / City on the Rock River : chapters in Janesville’s history (1998), pg. 182. See: http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/WI/WI-idx?type=turn&entity=WI.CityRock.p0187&id=WI.CityRock&isize=text
[vi] Hedberg Public Library Local History Database http://hedbergpubliclibrary.org/ http://hedbergpubliclibrary.org/
Search for Myers Theater

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