Donna Darling Collection – Part 89

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at two clippings from one page of the Donna Darling Collection. There is both an ad and a text write-up. The good news is that a handwritten note above the clippings is “Topeka Kans.”


Clipping from Donna Darling Collection

The ad shows three show times, 3:00—7:30—9:15, at the Novelty Theater.

The show is the “Dona [sic] Darling Revue with Sammy Clark in a riot of beauty and comedy singing and dancing.”

The clip also mentions four other acts in the program, Pathe News, and a Screen Comedy.

The text advertising write-up reads:

The First Half.

An entirely different bill of vaudeville will be on at the Novelty the first three days of the week. Col Mack believes in “mixing them” and avoiding “that sameness.” This season he will not only mix the attractions on every bill but he will make every possible effort to make each bill “different.”

The feature of the first half will be the Donna Darling Revue, with Miss Darling “The Musical Comedy Beauty,” and Sammy Clark the “Juvenile Komic,” making merry both on their own and because of their absolute dissimilarity. The revue is filled with song and dance number of just the sort that are demanded by vaudeville patrons. Donna and Sammy are supported in the act by the team of Barring and Lazure with Hal Dixon featured at the piano.

The program as usual will be started by the newest movie news….

Key features:

    • The venue is the Novelty Theater in Topeka, Kansas.
    • None of the other shows on the bill are named.


Donna and Sammy began their show together about May 1926 in New York. The show headed west to Michigan and Ontario. In July, it was in Illinois and Ohio. In August, it headed west to Illinois and Oklahoma. After a short return to Illinois, they headed west again for Colorado, Texas, and Arizona in September. After several months in the west, they returned to the Midwest (Iowa) in January 1927. I haven’t found any dates or venues for Donna and Sammy in Kansas; however, they had to have played in Kansas in August or September 1926.

Cinema Treasures indicates that the Novelty Theatre opened in Topeka, Kansas, in 1908. After Donna played there, it became the Dickinson Theatre, then closed in 1988 and was demolished in 1993.


New Venue:  August or September 1926 – The Novelty Theater, Topeka, Kansas – Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.


  • I have set up alerts for “Donna Darling” and “Sammy Clark” in Kansas during 1926 at and Genealogy Bank.
  • I added a task to check NewspaperArchives and Elephind (Library of Congress) every year for new postings.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 88

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

This week, for Treasure Chest Tuesday, I look at clippings from a page of the Donna Darling Collection.

Clipping: Plaza – Let’s Go – Donna Darling Collection

“Plaza – Let’s Go” showed the movie “The U. P. Trail” from Zane Grey’s great novel. For Vaudeville, “Donna Montran and Her ‘Bathing Beauties’ is the headliner. This ad doesn’t say when or where the show occurred. However, Donna went by Montran in her Bathing Beauties shows during 1920 and 1921. Along with Donna on the bill were:

  • Billy and Eddie Gorman – Passing Songs of 1920
  • Bo Peep and Jack Horner – Kathlyn Arnold and George L. Cohan.
  • Bart Doyle – Chesterfieldian Entertainer
  • The Great Richards.

It also mentions the show played Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday. And in the margin between two clippings was a handwritten note that said “Worchester Mass.”

Image rotated horizontally for readability.


Worchester Evening Gazette 27 Dec 1920 via Genealogy Bank.

My review of available online newspapers found an ad, via Genealogy Bank, from the Worchester Evening Gazette, 27 December 1920, that is almost identical. It advertised “Plaza – Let’s Go” and included the same vaudeville acts. Other newspaper issues and pages indicated that Donna’s show played at the Plaza in Worchester on December 27, 28, & 29, 1920.

That fills a gap I had in her show schedule from her playing at the Palace Theater in Hartford, CT, December 22-25 and playing the Plaza Theater in Bridgeport, CT, between 30 December 1929 and 1 January 1921.


  • I added the following to her list of shows:

December 27-29, 1924 – “Donna Montran and Her ‘Bathing Beauties’” played Plaza-Let’s Go in Worchester, MA.

  • There are four more clippings from the Donna Darling Collection which relate to this show. Additionally, I found six articles in three newspapers on Genealogy Bank that document the show even more. I will include them in detail when I write about this show in detail.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 87

Donna, Canoes, and a Cloche

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at five photos from the Donna Darling Collection

Donna Montran in a Canoe

This first photo is a photo of Donna. She is in a canoe and holding a canoe paddle. I’d guess she is in her mid to late 20s in the photo, making the photo about 1920 or so.

Donna Montran in a Cloche.

Again, obviously Donna. This photo was severely damaged and required considerable editing to get it this good. It appears she is wearing a scarf and a heavier coat. She looks in her 30s in this photo, so I’ll guess the image is from after 1925.

Unknown Woman in a Canoe – Possibly Donna.

Again, this photo was severely damaged and required editing. It appears to be a different canoe (the ribbing is different). The woman seems to be wearing a bathing cap, and her hair is wet. I think this is Donna, but I’m not 100% certain. Again, I’ll guess about 1920 or so.

Unknown Woman on Street– Probably Donna.

Again, I’m not 100% certain, but I think this is Donna again. Whoever it is, she’s looking fashionable standing next to a 20s vintage car.

Unknown couple in a Canoe.

Donna didn’t have many photos of other people in her collection, so I guess this couple was important to her. I don’t know the daredevils are, but I’ll keep a close lookout for potential candidates.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 86

Donna’s Cloak & MyHeritage Photo Repair

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at another clipping from the Donna Darling Collection. This photo is of Donna in her stage cloak. I’ve seen the image in several newspaper articles as it was a signature costume for her. The print itself is in terrible condition, torn, faded, just generally in awful, unusable condition.

I’ve known about MyHeritage’s photo repair capability for some time, but I hadn’t used it. As such, I figured I’d give it a try and see if it could help this image.

Donna Darling in her white cloak, circa 1926

I uploaded the image to MyHeritage then ran it through both the photo repair and photo enhancement. Zooming in on Donna’s face, I thought I’d see some improvement. Surprisingly, I did not see any difference. The repair smoothed the tear and some minor marks and tears, but nothing more than many other tools can do. That said, the process was straightforward. I’ve used Photoshop Elements and several other simple programs to clean up tears and marks. They typically do a similar job, but they take some experience to use and take more effort. It was the enhancement that I didn’t think the MyHeritage tool did much for my photo. I’ll try it again on something else and see if my opinion can be changed.

Donna in her coat – Original Scan

Donna in her coat – Enhanced and Repaired

The label on the back of this photo said, “Hokum ala Carte,” “Donna Darling,” and had a stamp that read “Darling and Clark Revue.”

Donna and Sammy were married in 1926, so this photo was taken after they got together, but probably towards the beginning of the Darling and Clark Revue in May 1926.

This photo is of Donna Darling in her cloak, circa May 1926.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 85

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection with Donna in her fashion coat.

Donna Darling.

Bathing Beauties of Movies Here in Revue at the Lincoln.

Bathing girls from various California motion picture studios will make a personal appearance in a colorful Hollywood revue at the Lincoln. This revue is a clever musical and dancing number which will show patrons that these versatile girls can do other things than merely making poses before the camera. Miss Donna Darling, who comes direct from the Mack Sennet studios, is the charming star who introduces the bathing beauties dressed in bathing costumes dating from 1860 to the present day. Bettl [sic] Bryant is the “Miss America of 1925.’’ Bathing costumes of various countries and fashionable seashore centers are introduced. Chief among these number is Mildred O’Brian, who appears as the beauty from Palm Beach. Miss Darling’s life guards, Murry Earl and Al Ross, add comedy to the Egyptian dance, while Petite Clarice Allyn as the Chinese bathing girl enhances the program with clever toe dancing.

Elaborate costumes have been selected for this sparkling revue. The music is snappy and the production has brilliant scenic and lighting effects.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Lincoln; however, neither a city nor state is provided.
  • No date is provided; however, Betty Bryant is “Miss America of 1925” indicating that the show was in 1925.
  • Other cast members included
    • Betty Bryant
    • Mildred O’Brian
    • Murry Earl
    • Al Ross
    • Clarice Allyn


Donna Darling and Girls is known to have played at the Lincoln Theatre in Belleville, Illinois, on 6 October 1925. She also played there in 1924 and 1926 with different shows, so the Lincoln Theatre in Belleville was well known to her.

The Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, IL) paper dated 6 October 1925, Page 9[i], mentions Donna Darling and girls in their “Song and Dance Revue” were at the Lincoln.

A further review of Genealogy Bank, Newspaper Archives, Elephind, Chronicling America, and the Byron Public Library District at Advantage Preservation failed to provide any additional potential venues for Donna at “the Lincoln” during 1925.


Tentatively, I ascribe this clipping to her playing at the Lincoln in Belleville, IL, on 6 October 1925.


[i] The Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Illinois) 06 Oct 1925, TuePage 9 – Via