Treasure Chest Thursday
by Don Taylor
For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Scrapbook. This page had two clippings, first was an ad for the Garrick Theater playing “Big Hollywood Revue of California Motion Picture BATHING BEAUTIES” featuring Donna Darling. The second is a short Theatrical Review showing Donna and “her bevy of California Bathing girls” opening at the Garrick Theater. Neither clipping indicates where or when the show played.
Donna ended her “Donna Darling and Earle” show in August 1924. In September 1924 she began her Motion Picture Bathing Beauties show. That show ran until about August 1925, which indicates that these clippings were from sometime between September 1924 thru August 1924. Both clippings mention that also playing was the silent film, “Sinner in Silk.” According to IMDB, “Sinner in Silk” was released on 1 September 1924.[i] Silent films of that period seem to have only run a few months, so I believe that the clippings are from sometime between September to November 1924.
From September 1924 and December 1924, Donna is known to have played in Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.[ii] Cinema Treasures indicates 36 theaters that were named the Garrick Theater.[iii] Of those, only ten were in the four states Donna played in during that time.
- Chicago, IL – The Garrick Theatre of Chicago operated from 1903 thru 1960. Yes.
- Grand Rapids, MI – The Garrick Theatre of Grand Rapids was demolished before 1919. No.
- Burlington, IA — The Rialto Theater was named the Garrick Theater until 1921. No.
- Des Moines, IA – The President Theater was built as the Majestic Theatre and was renamed the Orpheum theater by January 1908. It was renamed the Garrick Theater and then the President Theater before it closed in 1929. It had previous names of Gayety Theatre and Garrick Theatre. Unclear.
- Milwaukee, WI (1) – The Bijou Theater operated from 1889 to 1931. It apparently was also known as the Garrick sometime during that time. It had previous names of Gayety Theatre and Garrick Theatre. Unclear.
- Milwaukee, WI (2) – The Star Theater was open from 1899 to 1909. It too had previous names of Gayety Theatre and Garrick Theatre. No.
- Hurley, WI – The Rivoli Theater of Hurley opened in 1913 as the Temple Theatre. It became the Garrick Theatre in 1916 and became the Rivoli Theatre 1918. The theatre closed in 1927. No.
- Madison, WI – The Madison Theatre – The Orpheum Theatre was renamed the Garrick Theatre in 1927. It was remodeled and renamed the Madison Theatre in 1936. No.
- Fond du Lac, WI – The Fox Theater opened as the Henry Boyle Theatre in 1906. It closed and reopened in 1920 as the New Garrick Theatre. It was renamed the Fox Theatre in 1945. Yes.
That suggests there were four theaters that were in the states Donna played in during the time of the clippings of her playing at the Garrick Theatre; Chicago, IL, Des Moines, IA, Milwaukee, WI, and Fond du Lac, WI.
A review of newspapers at Newspapers.com indicated that the Garrick theater in Des Moines was a Burlesque house and all of their ads used a different font than Donna’s clipping used, so it is unlikely to be the Des Moines theater.
The Garrick Theater in Chicago during 1924 also used a different font and called itself the “Shubert Garrick,” so it is unlikely it was that theater either
Newspapers.Com revealed that The Garrick Theatre in Milwaukee used “Garrick Theatre” in its advertising and also used a serif font. However, in reviewing Genealogy Bank for advertising, I found an ad for the Garrick that used the same font as Donna’s clipping.
I was unsuccessful in finding any advertising for the Garrick Theatre in Fond du Lac at Newspapers.com or Genealogy Bank. There were several articles regarding the theatre in various other newspapers, but none of them were Fond du Lac papers and none had advertised the Garrick Theatre. As such, a created a search notification for any newly added Wisconsin papers from 1924 that refer to Garrick and “Fond du Lac.”
I did not find any results searching Elephind (Chronicling America).
However, in my searching Google for the Garrick Theater and Donna Darling, I encountered three new venues where Donna played. Orpheum Theater in Clinton, IA, the Capitol Theater in Kitchener, Ontario, and the Temple Theater in Brantford, Ontario on January 16-19, January 24-26, and January 27-29, 1927 respectively. I’ve added those to her list of venues for future research.
Donna played at a Garrick Theater, probably in the fall (September-November) of 1924, possibly in Illinois, Iowa, or Wisconsin. More research is necessary to pin down where and when.
1924-09-01 to 1924-12-31 – Illinois, Iowa, or Wisconsin – Garrick Theater.
January 16-19, 1927 – Clinton, IA – Orpheum Theater – Archives.Com
January 24-26, 1927 – Kitchener, Ont. Capitol Theater – Archives.Com
January 27-29, 1927 – Brantford, Ont. Temple Theater – Archives.Com
Donna Darling Collection – Scan 1514.
[i] Internet – Internet Movie Database (IMDb) – Entry for “Sinners in Silk” starring Conrad Nagel, Hedda Hopper, Eleanor Boardman, and Adolphe Menjou. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015336/
[ii] Internet: Don Taylor Genealogy – The Life of Madonna Montran… /
[iii] Internet: CinemaTreasures.Org Search for Garrick