Donna Darling Collection – Part 80

Russell, Don, & Matthew Photos

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a scan (SCAN0180) of five photos from the Donna Darling Collection.

First, there is a photo of my uncle Russell Kees. In this photo, he appears to be in some sort of uniform. Additionally, his writing on the back suggests this is the first photo after leaving for the service. As such, I date this photo about 1951, when Russell would have been about 24 years old.

Next is a photo of me, probably about one year old. I had seen and remembered this photo from when I was a child.

 

Finally, there are three photos of my son, Matt, which I sent to Donna in 1974. I didn’t remember Matt’s picture at the beach, wearing the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63) t-shirt. It had to have been San Diego, my ship’s home port.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 80

The South Broad Theatre 

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

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

Clipping discovered to be from the Trenton Evening Times dated January 9, 1922.

SOUTH BROAD—“KAZAN”

Delightful screen and vaudeville entertainment will be provided at the South Broad Theatre for three days beginning today when the James Oliver Curwood drama, “Kazan” and a series of new acts will be presented, together with comedy films and other events.

Of course, there is a delightful man and woman romance in this refreshing Curwood story, but its greatest power lies in the parallel drawn between human and animal life, and without a remarkable dog to interpret the role of “Kazan” the production could not have been made. But such a remarkable dog was found, and Director Bertram Bracken was enabled to accomplish the so-called “impossible.” The result is declared to be one of the finest photoplays of the North country.

The new vaudeville will be headed by Doona Montram [sic] and Her Boys in a musical comedy review, called “As You Like,” supported by Thomas Doray and Edna Sarlini in “by Heck,” the Novilions, a comedy acrobatic team, and John and Dave Mills, musical comedy duo.

Tomorrow night will be “Ye Olde Country Store” night, when 25 presents will be given away free to members of the audience.  

“Kazan,” written by James Oliver Curwood, was released in October 1921. Additionally, the two other clippings on the same page in Donna’s album related to the Stroud Theatre, Stroudsburg, PA, where she played on November 24th and 25th. See DCC-76

Donna didn’t begin using Darling until 1922, so this clipping is clearly from 1921.

Searching for “Thomas Doray” I found an article at Genealogy Bank that spoke of the delightful vaudeville card composed of Donna Montram [sic] and Her Boys in a musical comedy revue, called “As You Like.” Supported by Thomas Doray and Edna Sarlin, in “By Heck….” It was in the January 11, 1922, Trenton Evening Times.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Broad Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey.
  • The show is the “Donna Montran and Her Boys in “As You Like [It]”
  • Also, on the bill:
    • Thomas Doray and Edna Sarlini in “by Heck,”
    • Novilions, an acrobatic comedy team,
    • John and Dave Mills, a musical comedy duo.
  • The movie showing was the James Oliver Curwood story, “Kazan,” staring Jane Novak

Conclusion

I added a new venue for Donna’s vaudeville career:

  • January 9-11, 1922 – Trenton, NJ – South Broad Theatre – “Donna Montram [sic] and Her Boys in “As You Like” – DDC-80.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 79

Terrace Theatre – Beautiful Bathing Girls

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a second clipping from the Donna Darling Collection relating to the Terrace Theater.

BATHING GIRLS NOW PLAYING AT THE TERRACE THEATRE

Miss Donna Darling, star with Beautiful Bathing Girls from the Motion Picture Studios, now playing at the Terrace theatre.

The stellar act at the Terrace theatre the first of the week is the Beautiful Bathing girls from the Moving Picture Studios, headed by Donna Darling. Fashions in bathing suits from 1860 down to the present are shown by these girls, who also give a good account of themselves in several dance numbers. Probably the largest early week night audience in many fonths [sic] witness the performance Monday night. Two other good acts and a feature picture, “So This Is Marriage,” complete the Terrace bill.

The silent film, “So This Is Marriage,” was released in 1924, confirming that this showing was from 1924 or 1924 and not any of Donna’s earlier Bathing Beauty shows.

Cinema Treasures reports there were 41 Terrace theatres in the United States. Thirty-seven of them opened after 1925. One was in Vallejo, California; Donna didn’t tour the west coast with this show. One, the Airdome, was a second listing for the Terrace in Danville, Illinois. The last one was the Terrace Theatre in Chicago. This is clearly a clipping from her show at one of the two locations, either Danville or Chicago.

Because Donna played the Empress Theatre in Chicago in October 1924, I suspect that this clipping is from her probable show in Danville in October 1924.

Key features:

  • The venue was the Terrace Theatre in (Probably Danville, Illinois) but possibly Chicago.
  • The show was the “Beautiful Bathing Girls from the Motion Picture Studios” staring Donna Darling.

Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online for Danville, Illinois.

Conclusion

Date Unknown (Fall 1924- Spring 1925) – Danville, IL, Hollywood Revue of Bathing Beauties.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 78

Terrace Theatre – Bathing Beauties

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

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

Terrace Theatre – Attendance Records Smashed, circa 1925

Cinema Treasures reported 41 Terrace theatres in the united states, but only one of them in a city named Danville – Danville, IL. Donna appears to have had two trips into Illinois with her Bathing Beauties, once in the fall of 1924 (September) and again in January/February 1925. So this show must have been from one of those periods.

This clipping is particularly interesting because it names the other girls in the show.

  • Betty Bryant of Ziegfield’s – A Prize Winner.
  • Mildred O’Brien – In Singing and Dancing.
  • Alyce Louyse – A Bather From Mars.
  • Clarice Allyn – Petite Toe Dancer.
  • May Walker – Blue Singer and Beach Flirt

It also mentions Murray Earl as Comedian.

Key features:

  • The venue was the Terrace Theatre in Danville, Illinois.
  • The show was the “California Motion Picture – Big Hollywood Reue of Bathing Beauties, featuring Donna Darling.

Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online for Danville, Illinois.

Conclusion

Date Unknown (Probably Fall 1924or Spring 1925) – Danville, IL – Terrace Theatre – Hollywood Revue of Bathing Beauties.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 77

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 pages from the Donna Darling Collection[i]. On the pages were eight photos that I’ll look at and hopefully identify during this article.

Donald Larson from the summer when he turned one. The person cut out was probably Donna (Montran) Kees. I used the surname of “Larson” from when I was born until about 12 years old.

The first photo is an easy one. It is me, from the summer when I was turning one. Sadly, the person with me was cut out. It was probably my grandmother Donna. My stepfather cut Donna out of many photos. In 1951, I had the surname of “Larson” as my mother had married a Larson, and using the same surname as a stepfather was common in those days as it made things easier.

Russell Kees, Age 1

Russell Kees, standing with a chair

This is clearly my uncle Russell Kees, probably when he probably about one. He is clearly standing, but he looks like he needs the chair’s aid to do so. Russell was born in August 1927, so this photo appears to be from the summer of 1928.

Gypsie

Donna “Darling’s” puppy (on left) Gypsie.

Next is a photo of Gypsie, Donna’s Pekinese, as a puppy of 5 weeks. With her is a littermate. We’ve seen Donna and Gypsie before. When Donna and her show were in Canada, having pictures taken while scantily clad in the snow, Donna had Gypsie with her. (See the Donna Darling Collection Part 9[ii].)

Donna & Gypsie

Donna “Darling” and her dog Gypsie circa 1926

We also see Donna holding Gypsie in what appears to be a beach on a cold day. Donna is wearing a stylish hat and coat.

Donna & Friend

In this photo, Donna is with an unknown woman. I’ve seen this woman in enough pictures that I’m sure she is a regular in Donna’s show. Donna was always keen to keep other people’s names out of her acts, so determining who this is for sure may be difficult. For now, I’ll call her “Woman Alpha.”

An unknown couple that were friends of Donna Darling and Sammy Clark in the late 1920s.

Friends of Donna

The next photo is of Woman Alpha with a man. For the sake of keeping track of them, I’m going to call him Man Alpha and the two of them Couple Alpha. I suspect this is probably a ferry.

Sammy Clark (Amsterdam( is on the left and Donna “Darling” (Montran) is on the right. The couple between them is unknown, but I call them the “Couple Bravo.”

Donna, Sammy, and Friends

Next is a photo of four people in swimsuits. Sammy is on the left; Donna is on the right. I’m confident the other woman is “Woman Bravo.” As such, I’m going to call the man with her “Man Bravo” and the two of them “Couple Bravo.”

Donna, Sammy, and the Gang (c. 1926)

The group of six people includes an unknown young man, Donna “Darling” (Montran), the man from who I call “Couple Bravo,” Sammy Clark, the woman from who I cal “Couple Bravo,” and a final unknown man in a shirt, tie, suit and hat.

This group of six includes an unknown young man, Donna “Darling,? “Man Bravo,” Sammy Clark, “Woman Bravo,” and a final unidentified man in a shirt, tie, suit, and hat.

I suspect that Couple Alpha and Couple Bravo are the same couple, but I can’t tell for sure. I’ll be looking for more evidence regarding their identification in future research.

Conclusion

Besides this blog post, I’ve added metadata of this information to the photo images using Vivid Restore.  More about that in a later blog.

Actions

  • Over the past few months, I’ve begun to improve my skills in photo identification. Clearly, there are two couples that should be identified. Are they the same couple? I’ll try to do so in the coming months.

Endnotes

[i] The originals images were: DSCN1473 (original).tiff, DSCN1523 (original).tiff, and SCAN0188 (original).tiff. Additionally, I have a tiff of each of these photos.

[ii] I didn’t learn that “the Peke” was actually Gypsie, the Pekinese dog until much later.