Donna Darling Collection – Part 46

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at “DSCN1419” from the Donna Darling Collection. There were five items on this page.

Loew’s … On the Stage – Donna Darling The Scintillating Beauty in “Her Jewel Review” and two other big acts.

The accompanying movie was Constance Talmadge in “Her Sister from Paris.” There were many Loew’s Theatre’s, so it isn’t clear which of the 147 Loew’s theatres this one was[i].

The second and third clippings provide the answer. One is a long, thin page header which indicates, “London Evening Advertiser, Friday, February 26, 1926.” The other is an article, “At the Theatres,” which describes what was playing at Loew’s Theatre. Together, with the advertisement clipping, they show Donna played at the Loew’s Theatre in London, Ontario, from February 25th through the 27th, 1926.

Donna Darling Revue is one of the best dancing and singing acts seen at Loew’s for some time. All the girls are beautiful, and they can dance. Miss Darling proves her versality by appearing in four different roles, singing and dancing in each. A splendid selection of costume dances brings calls for many encores and on the whole the girls prove a huge success.

Further searching on Cinema Treasures, indicated there was a Loew’s Theater, which was built in 1924, existed in London Ontario.  I know that Donna played at the Capitol Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, from February 8th through the 13th, and at the Colonial Theatre in Detroit from February 28th through March 3rd, so her playing in London between them makes sense.

Sammy Clark, c. Feb 1926.

The fourth image was one of her dog. The photo was severely damaged over time and not worth trying to clean it up.

The final image was one of her husband, Sammy. It is a lovely photo that adds to my collection of Sammy photos. Long coat, hat, gloves, he looks so gangster from the 1920s. He clearly dressed in the style of the mid-1920s.

Conclusion

February 25-27, 1926 – Loew’s Theatre, London, Ontario – Donna Darling in “Her Jewel Revue” added to Donna’s list of performances.

Actions

  • Research Loew’s Theatre in London, Ontario and write about her show there and the theatre.

Sources

[i] Internet: Cinema Treasures – Search for Loew theatres. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters?q=Loew&status=all

Donna Forms an Act in April 1918 — Or Not?

My understanding of the early career of Donna Montran is filled with holes. We know that she married Thomas Rooney on November 23, 1915.  I have only found one event in her life during 1916 and one in 1917. Both of these events took place in Massachusetts. It appears that she was still in Boston on January 27, 1918, but by the following month (February 1918), she had located to New York and began appearing on the “United Time.

It is the April 10th issue of the New York Clipper[i] which gives us an indication that she probably had a bad experience. It reported:

            MONTRAN AND KENNIER UNITE

            Dinna Montran[ii], of musical comedy fame, and George Kennier, principal with “Very Good Eddie,” have framed a singing and dancing act for the Moss and Lowe Circuits.

NY Clipper, 10 Apr 1918, Pag6 6, Column 4.

Likewise, the April 17th issue of the New York Clipper[iii] reported:

George Kennier and Dinna Montran will put on a new singing and dancing act within the near future.

N Y Clipper – 17 April 1918, Page 19, Column 2.

Then silence for over a year, from the New York Clipper, until October 22nd, 1919, when it reported:

Dora Montran opened with “Chin Chin” in Omaha last week.[iv]

What happened with Donna and her career from April 1918 until January 1919? It appears that her association with George Kennier was short-lived and went nowhere. My searches for George Kennier found nothing about such a show and I found nothing about him in the vaudeville news after it.

Conclusion

I think I need to add two in-depth research tasks.

  1. I need to know more about Donna’s second husband, Thomas Valentine Rooney.  He married Donna in 1915 directed her in 1919. He also did scenery and other functions for Donna in 1920.  He seems to fade away from Donna’s life in late 1920.
  2. I also need to add an in-depth research task to research George Kennier.  There was a George Kennier who lived in Boston in 1915.  Is this the same person?  Donna was in Boston in 1915, so it is possible that they knew each other there and then started to put together a show in 1918. We will see what the research finds.

    Endnotes

[i] New York Clipper – 10 April 1918, Page 6, Column 4, Paragraph 6 – “Montran and Kennier Unite.”

[ii] I have little doubt that “Dinna Montran” and “Donna Montran” are the same person. I don’t know if she was trying out using Dinna or if the paper got here name wrong. However, the Montran name is so unusual and another Montran who was known for musical comedy is very unlikely.

[iii] New York Clipper – 17 April 1918, Page 19, Column 2, Paragraph 10 – Kennier & Montran….

[iv] That report is just a little off. She joined “Chin Chin” on October 30th in Decatur, Illinois. “Chin Chin” didn’t play in Omaha until November 7th. Also, there never was another Montran with the “Chin Chin” show besides Donna.

 

Donna in the News – Passaic & Patterson, New Jersey.

“Chin Chin”

This week Newspapers.Com released two more newspapers that were of interest to my Donna Montran Vaudeville Career work. First, the Passaic Daily Herald had several articles and ads for “Chin Chin” playing at the Lyceum Theatre in Paterson, New Jersey on May 7th and 8th, 1920.  Besides the Herald, the News (Paterson, NY) also had advertising and articles regarding that show.  This was all new information to me about the venues that “Chin Chin” played at during Donna’s being with the cast.

Bathing Beauties

Additionally, the News (Paterson, NY) had a small ad showing that Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties played at the Majestic Theater.  The date isn’t 100% clear, but it appears that it was January 13, 14, & 15, 1921, that her Beach Promenade played.

The News (Paterson, New Jersey) · Fri, Jan 14, 1921 · Page 21

Both of these are new dates and venues to be added to my list of Donna’s career performances.

  • May 7 & 8, 1920 – Paterson, NY – Lyceum Theater – “Chin Chin”
  • Jan 13-15, 1921 – Paterson, New Jersey – Majestic Theatre — Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

—– Disclaimer —–

Donna Darling Collection – Part 45

 

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
By Don Taylor

Lyceum Theater, Canton, Ohio

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at another news clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

Newspaper article from 1922 - Valerie Bergere Tops Program at Lyceum Theater
Valerie Bergere Tops Program at Lyceum Theater

…. Donna Darling the well known musical comedy star….

… Miss Donna Darling, the musical comedy star assisted by Murry Walker and Jack Finney will appear in a song and dance cocktail “As you Like It.” Miss Darling will wear in one number a costly gown on which there are more than 20,000 pearls. This is one of the most elaborate gowns ever worn on the American star. Each number of this lavish offering has its special sets and costume effects. A cloth of gold drop is used. The three sing some of the comedy numbers from the Floradora sextette and a number from the musical comedy “Sally,” do some dances to “Irene” music, and other musical comedy hits are introduced with special settings and costumes. The three are exceptionally good dancers as well as singers.

One of the features of the offering will be a burlesque of an Egyptian dance.

Miss Darling is well known to Cantonians as she played here as the prima donna of “Chin Chin” two seasons ago when this big musical comedy played at the Grand. [April 1, 1920 – Canton, OH – Grand Opera House]

Key features:

  • The venue is the Lyceum Theater.
  • The show is the “As You Like It” starring Donna Darling assisted by Murry Walker and Jack Finney.
  • Also on bill
    • Valerie Bergere was the top bill in a new Japanese comedy-drama, “O Joy San.”
    • Lew Hoffman displayed his skills with hats in “The Hattery.”
    • Miss Lillian Conroy & her brother John used a 5500-gallon water tank for an aquatic show.
    • Jean McCoy & Ralph Walton present “A Few Minutes with Ouija.”
    • Joe Rome & Lou Gaut show “When Extremes Meet” as dancers, singers & storytellers.

Analysis

I always love it when Donna writes the source information on the clipping page. In this case, she wrote “Mar 12 – Sun Repositor – Canton, Ohio.” This matched perfectly with a show I already knew about. On March 12-16 she played at the Lyceum Theater in Canton Ohio.

The article included some interesting tidbits. In particular, I had not previously known that her dress had “over 20,000 pearls.”  Wow, that must have been quite the dress.

Conclusion

Added a note about DDC to the previous entry:

March 12-16, 1922 – Canton, Ohio – Lyceum – Donna Darling – Genealogy Bank – DDC – Part 45.

 

Donna Darling Collection – Part 43

Treasure Chest Thursday
Bathing Girl Review
Donna Darling

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection of what appears to be about her playing at the “Indiana Theatre.”

“The Gayety Girl” starring Mary Philbin was released 31 July 1924.[i]

Presenting her “Bathing Beauty Review” sometime in September or October 1924 in Indiana is certainly possible. She played in Illinois in July and August of 1924. Most silent films only played for a couple of months after release, so I suspect it was between July and October she was at the “Indiana.”

Cinema Treasures indicated there were 19 theatre’s name “Indiana Theatre.”[ii]  They are:

Town (County)                      Date Opened

  1. Chicago, IL                         About 1910
  2. Scottsburg                           1930
  3. Gary                                       1938
  4. Marian (Grant Co.)         Circa 1922
  5. East Chicago                      Feb 1925
  6. South Bend                         Aug 1925
  7. Indianapolis                      1927
  8. Indiana, PA                       Jul 1924
  9. Terre Haute (Vigo Co.) 1922
  10. Indianapolis                      1927
  11. Kokomo (Howard Co.) 1920
  12. New Albany (Floyd)      1919
  13. Bloomington (Monroe Co.) 1911
  14. Martinsville Was “Switow’s Dream Theatre” from 1914 until 1917.
  15. Richmond Was “Murray Theater” from 1909 until 1930.
  16. Bedford Was “Stone City Opera House” from 1901 until 1924.
  17. Indianapolis (Marion Co.) Was “Gayety Theater in 1907. Period it was Indiana Theater unknown.
  18. Fort Wayne                          1930
  19. Fort Wayne Was “Broadway Theatre” from 1923 until 1934.

Theatres that are possible are bolded.

So, the most likely “Indiana Theatres” were in Marian, Terre Haute, Kokomo, New Albany, and Bloomington. Bedford, Indianapolis, Chicago (IL), and Indiana (PA) are also possible but not quite as likely.

Key features:

  • The venue is probably the Indiana Theater, location unknown, After July 1924.
  • The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” starring Donna Darling.
  • Also on bill
    • Mary Philbin in “The Gayety Girl”

Analysis

A lengthy search of Newspapers.Com, Newspaper Archives, Genealogy Bank, Chronicling America, and the Hoosier State Chronicles failed to yield any new information about the probable show location or date. Additionally, I didn’t see any advertisements for an “Indiana” theatre that used a similar font and design as the Donna Darling Collection clipping.

Because newspapers from 1924 will fall out of copyright next year, and because so many publications are being added to the various newspaper services every year, I’ve decided to put this on hold and will return to it in the future.

Actions

  • Follow-up in 2020.


Sources

[i] IMDB: The Gaiety Girl (1924) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014930/
[ii] Internet: Cinema Treasures. Search for Indiana Theatre – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters?q=Indiana%20Theatre&status=all