Chin-Chin in the News – 1 Jan 1920 – Edmonton, Alberta

Date: January 1, 1920 – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Empire Theatre

Vaudeville/Chin-Chin

My grandmother was a vaudeville star and I am following her career, trying to learn of her many performances. In October 1919, she joined the cast of the Charles Dillingham production of “Chin-Chin.” “Chin-Chin” played in the US and Canada until June 1920. I monitor several newspaper services watching for new venues that the show played at while she a was a cast member.

This week I found an article in the Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) dated Jan 1, 1920 (via Newspapers.Com).

Edmonton Journal, Thu, Jan 1, 1920, Page 9.

Article transcription:

BY PRESS AGENTS

CHIN CHIN AT EMPIRE

There appears to be no doubt that Mr. Charles Dillingham’s stupendous production of “Chin Chin” with Walter Willis and Roy Binder in the lead, will duplicate its record of absolute capacity audiences at the Empire theatre where it will open a three-day engagement with a holiday matinee today.

Though the title of “Chin Chin” suggests a Chinese setting, it appears that the scenes are not laid anywhere near the Celestial Land.

There is no leading lady in this organization, although a number of beautiful women, principals and otherwise, song birds and actresses are in the cast, it appears that the who is to enjoy the place of honor as first favorite is left to the choice of the public.

Tom Brown of the Six Brown Brothers’ famous Saxaphone clown band, composed “That Moaning Saxophone Rag” which is one of the hits of the play.

It is estimated that 250,000 people all from points more than one hundred miles from New York have already seen “Chin Chin” while it was presented at the Globe theatre in New York, and not Mr. Dillingham is actually bringing this his only company in its entirety to the Empire theatre.

New Venue Added:

Jan 1-3 – Edmonton, Alberta Canada, Empire Theatre – “Chin-Chin”

 

Donna appears with Arthur Daly – February 1918

The New York Clipper for February 13, 1918 reported

JEROME SONGS IN VAUDEVILLE
New York Clipper Feb 13, 1918, Page 12.

Montran and Daly, who are now appearing on the United time, are featuring a number of the songs from the William Jerome catalogue. The best are “The Irish Will Be There,” “When It’s Cotton Pickin’ Time In Alabam’,” “When You Were The World To Me,” and “When the Yanks Come Marching Home.” Arthur Daly, the male member of the team is the composer of the first three numbers.

The “United Time” appears to have been a vaudeville circuit that many vaudeville houses were affiliated. I can’t find out anything else about Arthur Daly and his songs don’t seem to have any information associated with them.  I have not been successful in determining any specific theaters that they played at.

The association of Donna and Arthur Daly appears to have been very short lived. In January 1918, she was apparently still in Boston and appeared in the January 27th article, “Play With Dolls To Banish Fatigue?” and by April 10th, she was forming an act with George Kinnier for the Moss and Loew Circuits.

Update

I added the following to Donna’s experiences.

Feb 13 – Began appearing on the “United Time” with Arthur Daly in New York.

Earthquake Rattles Donna and Sammy

Donna Darling Collection – Part 34

Treasure Chest Thursday By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection concerning earthquakes. The earthquake was significant enough for Donna to clip newspaper articles about the experience. As New Yorkers, I’m sure an earthquake was scary for them. Although the clippings aren’t dated, it is clear that they refer to the October 22, 1926 earthquake off the coast at Monterey[i]. We still don’t know where she and Sammy were on October 21st or 22nd, however, we know they played in San Jose on October 23rd through the 25th. San Jose is about 50 miles to the north of Monterey. We also know they played in Southern California earlier in the month and were working their way north. It is very possible they were actually in Monterey during the earthquake.

Windows Are Rattled As Quakes ‘Jiggle’ S. F.

Several buildings were slightly-damaged, a dozen plate glass-windows smashed and hundreds of curious persons routed from hotels and homes by three quakes that rocked northern and central California early today. A preliminary survey of the quakes’ effects showed the following damage: Two windows broken in office of McDonald & Co., brokers, in Palace Hotel Building. Small piece shaken from Ferry Building. Plaster from Sharon Building shaken into Market-st. Window of Selix Clothing store, 54 Mason-st, broken. The zone affected extended from Sacramento, on the north, to towns 150 miles south of San Francisco. None, however, reported serious damage. The first temblor rocked San Francisco gently at 4:35 o’clock. Thirty seconds later there was a second gentle swaying, strong enough to rattle windows and cause electric fixtures to sway. Exactly ‘an hour later a third temblor came, lasting several seconds. Although not as pronounced as the first, this shock stopped several electric clocks. Telephone service at several local exchanges was interrupted for 10 minutes by the first temblor and the electric system at Alameda was out of service for 20 minutes. The temblors rocked San Jose, Watsonville, Salinas, Monterey, Santa Cruz and nearby towns. Salinas reported that the shocks were the most severe since 1906. The United States navy radio service said that no disturbances I at sea had been reported. Curious thousands milled around I the streets from the time of the first temblor until daylight. Several hundreds of the most nervous wandered to the Civic Center and stood in little groups. Other open spaces found favor with early risers. A wax model in the B. F. Schlesinger department store, Oakland, was the only “casualty.” The model fell from a pedestal and crashed through a window. Its head was i severed. No other windows were reported broken in Oakland. Plaster fell in many buildings in Salinas, glassware was broken and clocks were stopped. Slight damage also was reported in Paso Robles.
The second article reads:

3 Quakes Jar S.F. and Valley Area

Three distinct earthquake shocks were felt in San Francisco and Central California today. The first was at 4:36 a. m., the second at 5:36 and the third at 6:42 a. m. The second was the most severe. Damage in San Francisco and the entire affected district was negligible, being confined to broken windows, falling plaster and a few minor cracks in buildings. The ‘‘shocks were felt as far north as Napa and south to San Luis Obispo, with varying intensity. San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley, Alameda, Palo Alto, San Mateo and Monterey reported no damage except a few cracked ceilings and windows. Electric light service in the Eastbay was affected for a time. The center of the shocks appeared to be between San Francisco and Monterey according to the Associated Press. They were o£ a northerly and southerly movement, along the old fault line of the 1906 quake.
Although quite minor in nature, I’m sure Donna and Sammy quickly exited their hotel and hoped it wouldn’t be another “big one.” The disaster of the 1906 earthquake was only 20 years earlier and a fresh memory for many in the Bay area. I remember the concern I had when I lived in San Diego and experienced my first earthquake. Although minor, such an experience can be very unsettling for those of us from areas of the country where the ground stays put. I can imagine what went through Donna and Sammy’s minds in the early morning of 22 October 1926.

Sources

[i] October 22, 1926 – A particularly strong earthquake was felt at 4:35 a.m. and did some damage. The tremor was off the coast at Monterey. It was stronger in San Francisco than at some places closer to the epicenter. A second tremor, much like the first, was felt at 5:35 a.m. Source: The Internet – The Virtual Museum of the City of San Francisco – “San Francisco Earthquake History 1915-1989” http://www.sfmuseum.org/alm/quakes3.html

“Chin Chin” plays – Rex Theatre – Chippewa Falls, WI – 11 Feb 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Rex Theater in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, on 11 February 1920

 We know that “Chin Chin” played at the Metropolitan Opera House in Minneapolis from February 1st through the 7th. I do not have any known venues the 8th, 9th, or 10th, but on the 11th, “Chin Chin” played at the Rex Theater in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

Preshow Advertising

Newspapers Mentioned “Chin Chin” was arriving on the 4th of February.[i] A standard full column ad played on February 6th, as did the familiar Wills, Binder, and Girls looking like Brussel sprouts on the stars’ queues.

An article the day before the show said

“Chin Chin” a Show of Good Music

Chippewa Herald (Chippewa Falls, WI) · 07 Feb 1920, Page 5. via Newspapers.Com

The music of Ivan Caryll, which serves to illustrate the story of “Chin Chin” which comes to the Rex tomorrow and in which Walter Wills and Roy Binder demonstrate their wonderful powers of drollery, to say nothing of their skill in dancing, is a demonstration of the wisdom of serving the best kind of music even to an extravaganza. “Chin Chin” is one more proof that good music pays. Music and dancing are so closely allied in these latter days.

Ethel Lawrence as “Violet Bond” the American girl in “Chin Chin,” is a charming little actress and always succeeds in winning the good graces of the audience. Her rendition of the duet, “Love Moon,” with the aid of George Usher as Aladdin, is one of the particular bright spots of the show. We advise that you procure your tickest now. The sale is heavy and the theatre management cannot guarantee to hold any reservations after 6 p. m. Wednesday.

Reviews

The day after the show, the Chippewa Herald reported that:

“Chin Chin” proves Fine Attraction.

Capacity House Pleased with Production at Rex Theatre Last Evening.

Chin Chin came up fully to all expectations….

Theater

The Rex Theatre was originally built in 1906 and named the Victor Theatre. The Victor was a modest theater with a seating capacity of 900 people.  The theatre changed its name to the Rex Theater sometime between 1918 and 1920, when “Chin Chin” played there.

Ravoli Theater. Photo courtesy Tiny LouRugani via Cinema Treasurers.

 In 1930, the theater was renovated for motion pictures, and was reopened as the “Ravoli Theater.” The Ravoli closed sometime before 1960. The building was demolished by 1962.[ii] Today, the location is a Holiday Gas Station.

Endnotes

[i] Chippewa Herald (Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin) · 04 Feb 1920, Wed · Page 3

[ii] Internet: Cinema Treasures: Rivoli Theatre  http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/48876

The Show Must Go On – Tucson, Arizona

Donna Darling Collection – Part 33

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

“The show must go on” is a long-time show-business mantra. One of the clippings in the Donna Darling Collection tells of a harrowing story of making sure the show continues. Not only once but twice.

On September 25th and 26th 1926, Donna and Sammy played in El Paso, Texas at the Texas Grand Theatre.  Knowing their typical schedule, they probably played somewhere in New Mexico on September 27th and 28th.

Continue reading “The Show Must Go On – Tucson, Arizona”