Donna Darling Collection – Part 14

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to her playing at the American Theatre in San Jose, California.

Donna Darling Revue – American Theatre, San Jose, CA – Oct 23-25, 1926.

Newspaper Clipping for American Theatre – Donna Darling Revue.

The first clipping is nondescript clipping indicating that Count Berni Vici is completing his run and that five acts of vaudeville, featuring the Donna Darling Revue, is coming Saturday for three days only. It does mention that on the screen is “Fascinating Youth” a 1926 film, which confirms the year of her show. It takes the second clipping to confirm what American Theatre she played. Thanks to a handwritten note, Donna indicates that the clipping came from San Jose, Calif and the three days she was there were October 23, 24, and 25. That is such a great help. I have not been successful in finding any San Jose newspapers available on line from 1926, so I would not have known of this venue without her clippings.

The final clipping is from her last day at the American Theatre. It shows the Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark is finishing and being followed by Frank Silver and his famous Jazz Band; Frank Silver is known as the writer of “Yes We Have No Bananas.”

The American Theatre

American Theatre – Courtesy of elmorovivo via Cinema Treasures

The Hippodrome Theatre was constructed in 1919 at 261 South First Street, San Jose in a Spanish Gothic hybrid design. With more than 1,600 seats, it was the largest theater in San Jose at the time. In 1922, the theatre was renamed Beatty’s American Theater. It became the State Theatre in 1938; in 1951 was renamed the United Artists Theatre.  It was demolished in 1976. Today the site is a municipal parking lot.


I am sure there are many more venues that Donna played on the West Coast during 1926. I know she was in Alton, Illinois in September and came west to California. I now know that she played in San Jose on October 23-25. I also know she played in Modesto on October 30th. It looks like she continued to Oregon and played in Portland in November, so, most of her 1926 west coast tour is still unknown.


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