Donna Montran – 6th Street Theatre, Coshocton, OH – 4/12/1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the 6th Street Theatre in Coshocton, Ohio on 12 April 1920

 The “Chin Chin” production played at the Union Theatre in New Philadelphia, OH, on April 10th. They may have had off on Sunday, April 11th, or they may have played somewhere on that Sunday. But any event the cast traveled the 30 miles to Coshocton to play at the 6th Street Theatre on Monday the 12th for one night.  Advertising began on April 7th with typical written ads and display ads beginning on April 9th. The newspaper the day of the show describes the show and includes some of the characters in the show, including my grandmother, “The Goddess of the Light.”

Reviews

The following day a reviewer in The Coshocton Tribune praised the show. The second paragraph of the review read:

“… Starr Dunham appeared in the role of Aladdin while the part of the cruel Abonazar was well taken by Joseph Robinson. The wealthy American, Cornelius Bond was played by English Cody, while Ethel Lawrence appeared as his charming daughter Violet. The Goddess of the Lamp, an unusually pretty and charming girl, who never failed to delight her audience with her solo numbers, was Donna Montran…. 

Post Show Info

The cast next headed 30 miles further south to Zanesville, Ohio and the Weller Theatre for the show on Tuesday the 13th.

The 6th Street Theatre

 The 6th Street Theatre was built in 1903 by a group of businessmen who called themselves the Coshocton Theater Company. The Julius Cahn Reports for 1913 indicate the Seating capacity was about 1,000. The theater was on the ground floor and had a proscenium opening of 32 x 22 feet.

Eventually, the theater converted to a movie house and it closed in May 1959. The building was demolished in 1974.

Further Research

Find a photograph of the theatre. 

Sources

The Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) · Sat, Apr 10, 1920, · Page 3, Advertising “Chin Chin” https://www.newspapers.com/image/323058644 – Downloaded on Sep 1, 2017, via Newspapers.Com.

The Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) · Tue, Apr 13, 1920, · Page 3, Column 4 “6th St. Theatre – Chin Chin Drew Large Audience” – https://www.newspapers.com/image/323057655 – Downloaded on Sep 1, 2017, via Newspapers.Com.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 40

Grand Theatre, Great Falls, Montana

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at clipping DSCN1449 from the Donna Darling Collection.

Thanks to Newspapers.Com, I have long known that Donna played at the Grand Theatre in Great Falls Montana, November 26th & 27th, 1926. I hadn’t realized what a big deal it had to have been as Donna, Sammy, and Princess Winona stopping in Great Falls. The newspaper had nice photos and a long article in the newspaper of the troop.  It was a rare use of her “Donna Darling playing the Balalaika” photo. Such a large article is rare for a short, two-day show.

Five Big Acts of Vaudeville Open Tonight

Princess Winona, Donna Darling and Sammy Clark of the Donna Darling Revue, headliner on the Extra vaudeville at the Grand tonight and tomorrow night.

Circumstances have made it pos­sible for Manager Will Steege of the Grand to present an additional bill of five acts of vaudeville there to­night and tomorrow night, with the usual two shows, at 7 and 9 o’clock. The acts are here on a long jump on the way to open another Association vaudeville circuit.

The feature act is the Donna Darling revue, with Sammy Clark. Miss Darling won the Madison Square Garden beauty contest a few years ago and was afterwards featured in “Chin Chin” and also with George White and Flo Ziegfeld. With Sammy Clark, “The Juvenile Komik,” Barring and Lazur and Hal Dixon, she presents a routine of songs and dances, garnished with comedy. The beauty of the act is enhanced by special stage settings and exceptional costumes. 

Photo of Donna Darling with Balalaika
Donna Darling with Balalaika

Zuhn and Dreis, two of the most effective epithet throwers in the varieties, are appropriately charac­terized as “Dement’s Americanos.” Originality is one of their gifts, and the ability to use entertaining slang is not the least of their skill.

Billy Curtis, vaudeville author and songwriter, has a skit where laugh provoking lines and tuneful music predominate. Lou Lawrence is his partner in the entertainment. “Is that the Custom?” is the name of the act, which was written by Curtis. Miss Eva Tanguay and the late Bert Williams employed Curtis as a special composer. Clever as his accomplishments were then, no doubt he gave even better effort in the writing of his own act.

Ever on the alert for novelties, Morrell and Elynore, and up-to-date couple, are on the bill for the Charleston on roller skates. They also introduce singing and comedy talk and have a sackful of variety for their program.

Appearing in Indian costume, Princess Winona sings modern Indian songs. She has a soprano voice that is sweet and well modu­lated. A good voice and a pleasing personality contribute to Princess Winona’s success. Her act also appeals because of its being a bit different than the ordinary vaudeville presentation.

Manager Steege is quite elated over the feature picture which opens the bill, “Rolling Home,’ the star being no less than the popular Reginald Denny.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Grand Theatre, Great Falls, Montana
    • The show is the “Danna Darling Revue, with Sammy Clark” staring Donna Darling and Sammy Clark along with Barring and Lazur and Hal Dixon
  • Also on the bill
    • Zuhn & Dreis – “Dement’s Americanos”
    • Billy Curtis & Lou Lawrence
    • Morrell and Elynore
    • Princess Winona

Sources

Donna Darling Collection – DSCM1449

Donna in the News – 21 April 1922

Famous Musical Comedy Star Now Playing at the Feeley

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

This week: The Standard Sentinel (Hazleton, PA) newspaper dated 21 April 1922

“Beautiful Miss Donna Darling, who appeared here two seasons ago in “Chin Chin,” is presenting an elaborate Song and Dance spectacle at the Feeley in the Current Bill.”[i]

I knew Donna played at the Feeley Theatre April 20, 1922, from her scrapbook collection. However, this newly discovered series of 11 articles provide clear start and end dates for her show, as well as what else was playing when she played.


Endnotes

[i] Standard-Sentinel (Hazleton, Pennsylvania) · Fri, Apr 21, 1922 · Page 5 – Accessed from Newspapers.Com on Dec 8, 2018 (https://www.newspapers.com/image/500362601.)

Donna Darling Collection – Part 39

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
by Don Taylor

Garrick Theatre

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.

When

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.

Where

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.

Conclusion

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.

Newly Added:
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

Source

Donna Darling Collection – Scan 1514.


Endnotes

[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

Donna Darling Collection – Part 38

Treasure Chest Thursday
Family Photos (1370)

By Don Taylor

Three photos of Donna

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Scrapbook. The page had five items pasted onto it.

Preparing to Dive

Donna Montran Preparing to Dive.

When she was young, Donna was an incredible beauty. She won the beauty contest at Madison Square Garden several years before Miss America began there.[i] She was also one of the Mack Sennett Bathing Beauties. I believe this first photo probably comes from either of those periods. Certainly, the photo shows how beautiful she was. The original of this photo was a cut-out of a photo. It was torn at the top. I clipped the photo, touched it up, and pasted it onto a new background.[ii]

Donna with a Parasol

Donna with a Parasol

Donna loved to dress and look pretty. In this photo, Donna is wearing what appears to be one of her many bathing suits and she carrying a parasol. It is probably from 1920 or 1921 when she was staring in “California Bathing Girls.” It is possibly from 1924-25 when she headlined the “Motion Picture Bathing Beauties” show. This photo appears to be a promotional photo and the mark at the bottom left indicates “This Week” which was a magazine at the time. I would love to review an archive of “This Week” magazines from 1920-1925, to see if there might be a better quality photo of Donna there.

Donna

Another photo of Donna on the scrapbook page showed Donna apparently with someone. However, the photo of Donna with the parasol was pasted over half of the photo. In this photo she appears to be a bit older and the photo is clearly not a promotional in nature.

Other Images

Finally, there is a photo of a marquee with Andrew Mack at the top and Donna Montran and her Bathing Girls are listed below.  I’m still not sure where that comes from.  Hopefully, I’ll figure it out as I continue my research on the Donna Darling Collection. I have not seen Andrew Mack in any of the playbills for Donna during her Bathing Girls days.[iii]

Future Actions

  • Find a source for “This Week” magazine for between 1920 and 1925 and review them for possible photos of Donna.
  • Determine the date and place of the Andrew Mack, Donna Montran marquee photo.

Sources

Donna Darling Collection – Scan 1370.

Endnotes

[i] My feeling is that Donna was “Miss America” 3 years before the first “Miss America” pageant.

[ii] To save space, the Donna Montran “Preparing to Dive” image presented here is a 150 dpi image. I have a 600 dpi image available.

[iii] I have a copy of the original scrapbook page showing the Marquee at 600 dpi, but I hope to include the image when I determine the place and date of the engagement.