Cecil Theater – Mason City, Iowa
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection
- The venue is the Cecil Theater in Mason City, Iowa
- The show is the “Donna Darling and Girls”.
- Also on bill
- La France & Co., “World’s Greatest Head Balancers”
- P. Wilson and Addie “As you like it”
- Kelly and Carseth in “Days of ’95 and ‘25”
- Flo Jordan and Boys in “A Whirl – A Twirl, and a Girl”
- On The Screen – Betty Compson in “Ramshackle House”
In the clippings is also an article, “Musical Comedy Cecil Headliner.” It reads:
Head balancing Act Also on Vaudeville Program for This Week-End.
The Cecil theater vaudeville program is to be given today and Sunday shows more than ordinary promise. The five stage acts from the Orpheum circuit include several that should appeal to Mason City theater goers.
The Cecil will have a pretentious headliner on the vaudeville stage today in Donna Darling and Girls in songs and steps, a bevy of beautiful musical comedy beauties in the presentation of the latest songs and dances. Miss Darling is a former star with Flo Zeigfield and Chin Chin revue and is assisted by a number of lovely young women who present a routine of the latest popular catchy song numbers and also the latest dances. Special stage setting enhance the beauty of the offerings.
George P. Wilson is a woman hater and he voices his trials and tribulations with the fair sex from the vaudeville stage in a monologue he offers many special song numbers that are crammed with laughs. There is a genuine surprise in his sketch, “As You Life [sic] It.”
Luckily, the article mentions Mason City and a search found there are three places with the name, only Mason City, Iowa had a Cecil theater.
A search of IMDB found that “Ramshackle House,” starring Betty Compson was released on 31 August 1924. Movies at that time typically only had a three or four-month life, so I expect that Donna’s show at the Cecil probably took place in between September and December 1924.
Very little is known about Donna’s schedule in 1924. She probably played in Louisville, Kentucky in August, and Wisconsin in November and December. So, she was definitely in the right part of the country to have played in Mason City in September, October, or November 1924.
A search of Newspapers.com, Genealogy Bank, Newspaper Archives, Ancestry, Chronicling America, Old Fulton Postcards and other sites suggested by The Ancestor Hunt yielded nothing to further identify exactly when Donna played in Mason City. Additionally, Chronicling America does not indicate that any libraries include holdings of “The Mason City globe-gazette and Mason City daily times” for 1924.
Between Sep and Dec 1924 – Cecil Theater – Mason City, IA – Donna Darling and Girls
Determine what repositories may have archive records of 1924 “Mason City globe-gazette and Mason City daily times” newspapers that were published from 1918 to 1929.