“Chin-Chin” at Hippodrome, Pottsville, PA on April 26 & 27, 1920.

Donna and “Chin Chin” play at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on 24 & 25 April 1920.

Donna Montran
Vaudeville
Chin Chin

My grandmother, Donna Montran, joined the cast of the vaudeville show “Chin Chin” on October 30, 1919, and toured with the production until the production ended playing on May 31, 1920.  

Before the cast of “Chin-Chin” arrived at Pottsville, they had had a tough series of one-night shows and were probably pleased to have off on Sunday, April 25th before playing at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, PA. Also pleasing to the cast had to have been they would play at Pottsville for two days in a row.

“The Hippodrome” that must be the place where Hippo’s roam. That sounds good but isn’t right. The word “Hippodrome” comes from a Greek word, hippos, which means horse, and dremon, meaning path or way.[i] I doubt very much that horses ever raced at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, however, Mademoiselle Falloffski surly rode her horse in circles on stage during the production of “Chin-Chin” at the Hippodrome.

Preshow Advertising

Newspapers began advertising “Chin-Chin” coming to Pottsville on April 22nd. The Republican and Herald reported:

“CHIN CHIN” BIG
            MUSICAL COMEDY AT
                 POTTSVILLE, APRIL 26-27

Chin Chin Newspaper Article - Pottsville, PA

Do you remember when you were just a tiny chap, how you would read the “Thousand and One Nights,” or the wonderful adventures of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” and “Sinbad, the Sailor,” and all the rest of those fascinating characters, and how from out of them all emerged “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp” as the prime adventure of them all? And now Aladdin—every modern Aladdin—very much in love with an American girl appears in Charles Dillingham’s “Chin Chin” which comes to the Hippodrome Theatre, Pottsville, on Monday and Tuesday, April 26 and 27th.

In this musical concoction everything comes Aladdin’s way upon wishing and rubbing the wonderful lame, thereby causing many strange and wonderful situations.

Walter Wills and Roy Binder as the two slaves of the lamp keep the audience in constand laughter through seven scenes and the three acts that cover one hundred and fifty minutes of the most enjoyable fun.

Among the many features in this gigantic show are the Teddy Bear Dance. Tom Browns clown Saxophone Band, a real circus tent with an “honest-to-goodness” big white circus horse circling around the ring, while Mlle. Falloffsky performs the most daring and screamingly funny bareback stunts.

Along with the short article on page two, there was a small display ad on page 5. The exact same article and advertisement played again (pages 3 and 5 respectively). in the paper of the 23rd. The small ads ran again on the 24th and the 26th.

I still don’t know where the Cast of Chin Chin were during April 28th and 29th, however, they played at Mannoy City (about 10 miles north by train) on April 30th.

Hippodrome Theater, Pottsville, Pennsylvania

Photo of the Hippodrome Theater.
Photo Source: “Hippodrome Theater” uploaded to Cinema Treasures by “Predator” on 3 September 2016. (CC BY 3.0)

Construction for the Hippodrome began at the corner of Market and Logan Streets in Pottsville in early 1913 and was planned for completion by the end of June 1913.[ii]  However, about 6:15 in the evening on Friday, the 20th of June, Pottsville was struck by a tornado. It caused a wall of the theater to collapse which set back the completion of the theater significantly.[iii] The Hippodrome Theater finally opened on November 24, 1913 with a vaudeville show.[iv]

Specifications for the Hippodrome [v]

The Hippodrome had a seating capacity of 1,150.

  • Front to back wall: 30 ft
  • Between side walls: 80 ft
  • To rigging loft: 60 ft

The theatre closed in March of 1950 and was razed in 1956.[vi]

Today it the law offices for Lieberman, Tamulonis & Hobbs. (Far building on the right.)

Further Research

Besides the Republican, there were two other newspapers in Pottsville at the time; “The Journal” and “The Chronicle.”I will continue to monitor for the availability of either paper online.

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Endnotes

[i] Internet: “Hippodrome Of Constantinople”. 2019. En.Wikipedia.Org. Accessed November 4, 2019. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippodrome_of_Constantinople.

[ii] Pottsville Republican (Pottsville, Pennsylvania) · 30 Apr 1913, Wed · Page 2 via Newspapers.Com

[iii] Pottsville Republican (Pottsville, Pennsylvania) · 21 Jun 1913, Sat · Page 1 via Newspapers.Com

[iv] Pottsville Republican (Pottsville, Pennsylvania) · 24 Nov 1913, Mon  •  Page 5 via Newspapers.Com

[v] Cahn, Julius, and Gus Hill. 1921. The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical guide and moving picture directory. New York, N.Y.: Julius Cahn-Gus Hill.

[vi] Internet: “Hippodrome Theater In Pottsville, PA – Cinema Treasures”. 2019. Cinematreasures.Org accessed November 4, 2019. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/16588.

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