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”

Donna Darling Collection – Part 32

New York Star
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

In the Donna Darling collection was an absolutely gorgeous magazine image of Donna as a young woman. Sadly, the image was larger than the scrapbook it was in and was pasted across two pages and split in two. Also, a portion of the photo was lost. I’m not a photoshop expert, but I did the best I could with the photo, first I joined the two images as best as I could. Then I touched up some of the lines and creases. I tried to blend where the two images come together, but I wasn’t very successful with that.

Donna, always the promoter, had a professionally done photo of herself made at the Ira L. Hills Studio in New York. Then she used that photo to promote her headlining “Bathing Beauties” show and to wish everyone “Christmas Greetings.”

I’ve spent considerable time trying to find a copy of the New York Star, Volume XXV, No. 15, to no avail. I have additionally contacted an archive that is holding many of the photographic images of Ira L. Hills in hopes they might have a high-quality image of Donna.

Donna Montran Christmas Greetings, 1920

If someone good with photoshop can do a better job of joining the two halves together then I did, I’d be happy to send the two original 3440 x 2496 image scans to work with. (This web version is only 500 x 668 pixels in size.)

Donna Darling Collection – Part 31

D & R Theatre
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

This is another case that I’ve found where Donna’s notes, or the newspaper articles, regarding Donna’s show are incorrect. Regarding her playing at the D&R Theatre in Aberdeen, Washington, her note clearly identifies the clipping as being from Nov. 18.  However, the article says that she opened “yesterday afternoon.” The D&R ¼ page ad indicates that she was showing Tuesday and Wednesday. November 18th 1926, was a Thursday which indicates that something was wrong.  If the clipping were from November 17th, all would be good.

 

D & R Theatre – Aberdeen, Washington —“Donna Darling Review with Sammy Clark”

D & R Theater Tonight

A weird dancing and singing act in a futuristic version of the nether regions, won headline honors at the five act vaudeville show that opened yesterday afternoon at the D & R theater. Donna Darling and Sammy Clark, both well known stars of terpiscore[i], are assisted in the act by Barring, Lazure and Hal Dixon. The act moves rapidly, the stage settings are intriguing and the songs and dances spritely.

 

The D & R advertisement included a photo of Donna.  Playing with Donna and Sammy are:

  • Zuhn & Dreis – Dementus Americanos
  • Curtis & Lawrence in “Is That the Custom”
  • Morell & Elynor introducing “The Charleston on Rollers”
  • Princess Winona “Indian Prima Donna”

What I learned:

Consequent to the above, I have updated the Donna Montran Timeline to include the following:

November 16-17, 1926 – Aberdeen, Washington – D & R Theater – Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.

This show fits nicely between their show in Olympia, Washington, on November 12-13 and Anaconda, Montana, on November 24th.

ENDNOTES

[i] [sic] Should be terpsichore. In Greek Mythology Terpsichore was one of the muses and the goddess of dance and chorus. Terpiscore, in this context probably means “dance.”

Donna Darling Collection – Part 30

Cosmos Theatre
Crescent Theatre
Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

I have long known that Donna played at the Cosmos Theater in Washington D.C. a couple times. First, she did the “California Bathing Girls” show on September 19-21, 1920. She then returned to the Cosmos in March 1921. The clippings that she had were from the September show as evidenced by the other acts on the playbill. The second clipping for the Crescent Theatre in Perth Amboy is confusing and proves I got something wrong in a previous posting.

Cosmos—“California Bathing Girls”

Cosmos–“California Bathing Girls”

“The California Bathing Girls,” Tom Rooney’s Broadway sensation, the headline attraction at the Cosmos theater this week, foretells an early spring, if weight and daintiness of costumes and the unfolding of feminine buds be an indication. Donna Montran, an attractive singer, introduces the bathers one by one, and Anna La Toy executes some difficult and attractive poses….”

The Crescent—“As You Like It”

Crescent Theatre – 11 May 1922 – Donna Darling & Company

The clipping is from the Perth Amboy Evening News dated May 11, 1922, and shows Donna Darling & Company in “As You Like It” with Murray Walker and Jack Finney in a Song and dance cocktail. There wouldn’t be any question about the show and the date except I had previously determined that Donna and Company played B.F. Keith’s Greenpoint Theater the week of 11-17 May 1922 (See Donna Darling at B.F. Keith’s Greenpoint.) So, now I am confused. I’ll need to do a lot more research on her playing at both theaters to be sure of the dates.

What I learned:

Consequent to the above, I have updated the Donna Montran Timeline to include the following:

May 11, 1922 – Perth Amboy – Donna Darling & Company in “As You Like It” (Possible conflict with B. F. Keith’s Greenpoint)

 

Donna Darling Collection – Part 29

Globe Theatre
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Donna Montran – Ill and Injured

The Donna Darling Collection has a page that included four little clippings. None of the four were dated. Elsewhere on that scrapbook page are articles regarding Donna’s playing at the Cosmos Theater in Washington DC in March. (More about that in another post.)

ILL AND INJURED [Transcript]

“Ill and Injured” – Donna Darling Collection

“Dave Kramer (Kramer and Boyle dislocated his knee in stepping out of an automobile. The team were forced to cancel the last half of last week as a result. (April 21)”

“Bill Vidocq. Keith agent, has returned from Lakewood and is back on the fifth floor of the Keith Exchange.

“Illness beset the Donna Montra [sic] and Bathing Girls Revue last week twofold when Juva Marconi dislocated her hip while dancing, causing her confinement in the Lankanau Hospital, Philadelphia. Later in the week Miss Montran, the prima donna of the company, underwent a nose and throat operation in New York.

[Globe Theatre, Philadelphia, May 16]

Illness Strikes Donna

“Donna Montran, who with her Bathing Beauties was forced to cancel some time through the necessity of an operation recently, has fully recovered and opens at the Globe theatre, Philadelphia, for a return engagement, May 16.”

[Ann Troy]

Ann Troy joins

“Ann Troy, dancer, has replaced Juva Marconi in the Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties act.”

[Donna Takes Summer Off]

Bathing Beauties closes for summer

“Donna Montran closed her Bathing Beauties act last week and will rest up for the summer. She will appear in production next season.”

Analysis

  1. In April 1920, Donna was still performing with “Chin-Chin” in Maryland.
  2. In March 1921, Donna was performing “Donna Montran and her California Bathing Beauties.”
  3. By April 1922, Donna had changed her stage name to “Donna Darling.”

So, we know that “ILL AND INJURED” must be referring to 1921.

  Birth, Marriage & Death CollectionApril 21 was the last half of the week of April 17 to 23. That means that Juva Marconi must have dislocated her hip sometime around April 17 to 19 and that Donna must have gone to New York for her surgery about 20th or 21st.

In Clipping 2, we learn the Donna and her Bathing Beauties opened at the Globe Theatre, Philadelphia on May 16.

In Clipping 3, we learn that Ann Troy replaced Juva Marconi in the show.

In Clipping 4, we learn that the show closed for the summer. It is unclear when that occurred.

What I learned:

  • Donna and her Bathing Beauties, including Juva Marconi, must have been playing in Philadelphia or somewhere near Philadelphia the week of 17 April 1921. Possibly the Globe Theatre.
  • Donna went to New York for nose and throat surgery about 20 April 1920.
  • Donna and her Bathing Beauties “returned” to the Globe theatre on May 16.
  • Donna and her Bathing Beauties closed sometime after May 16 for the summer.

Consequent to the above, I have updated the Donna Montran Timeline to include the following:

  • April 17, 1921 – Unknown Theater near Philadelphia (Possibly the Globe Theatre).
  • May 16, 1921 – Globe Theatre, Philadelphia, PA – Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.
  • Date unknown [May, June, or July 1921] – Donna Closed the Show for the Summer.