Donna Darling Collection – Part 43

Treasure Chest Thursday
Bathing Girl Review
Donna Darling

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection of what appears to be about her playing at the “Indiana Theatre.”

“The Gayety Girl” starring Mary Philbin was released 31 July 1924.[i]

Presenting her “Bathing Beauty Review” sometime in September or October 1924 in Indiana is certainly possible. She played in Illinois in July and August of 1924. Most silent films only played for a couple of months after release, so I suspect it was between July and October she was at the “Indiana.”

Cinema Treasures indicated there were 19 theatre’s name “Indiana Theatre.”[ii]  They are:

Town (County)                      Date Opened

  1. Chicago, IL                         About 1910
  2. Scottsburg                           1930
  3. Gary                                       1938
  4. Marian (Grant Co.)         Circa 1922
  5. East Chicago                      Feb 1925
  6. South Bend                         Aug 1925
  7. Indianapolis                      1927
  8. Indiana, PA                       Jul 1924
  9. Terre Haute (Vigo Co.) 1922
  10. Indianapolis                      1927
  11. Kokomo (Howard Co.) 1920
  12. New Albany (Floyd)      1919
  13. Bloomington (Monroe Co.) 1911
  14. Martinsville Was “Switow’s Dream Theatre” from 1914 until 1917.
  15. Richmond Was “Murray Theater” from 1909 until 1930.
  16. Bedford Was “Stone City Opera House” from 1901 until 1924.
  17. Indianapolis (Marion Co.) Was “Gayety Theater in 1907. Period it was Indiana Theater unknown.
  18. Fort Wayne                          1930
  19. Fort Wayne Was “Broadway Theatre” from 1923 until 1934.

Theatres that are possible are bolded.

So, the most likely “Indiana Theatres” were in Marian, Terre Haute, Kokomo, New Albany, and Bloomington. Bedford, Indianapolis, Chicago (IL), and Indiana (PA) are also possible but not quite as likely.

Key features:

  • The venue is probably the Indiana Theater, location unknown, After July 1924.
  • The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” starring Donna Darling.
  • Also on bill
    • Mary Philbin in “The Gayety Girl”

Analysis

A lengthy search of Newspapers.Com, Newspaper Archives, Genealogy Bank, Chronicling America, and the Hoosier State Chronicles failed to yield any new information about the probable show location or date. Additionally, I didn’t see any advertisements for an “Indiana” theatre that used a similar font and design as the Donna Darling Collection clipping.

Because newspapers from 1924 will fall out of copyright next year, and because so many publications are being added to the various newspaper services every year, I’ve decided to put this on hold and will return to it in the future.

Actions

  • Follow-up in 2020.


Sources

[i] IMDB: The Gaiety Girl (1924) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014930/
[ii] Internet: Cinema Treasures. Search for Indiana Theatre – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters?q=Indiana%20Theatre&status=all

Donna Darling Collection – Part 42

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

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

 

THE GIRL WITH A MILLION
DOLLAR PERSONALITY

DONNA MONTRAN

PRIMA DONNA
“CALIFORNIA BATHING GIRLS”

Now at HENDERSON’S Coney Island Variety, July 30.

“Donna Montran has an undeniable million dollar smile, oodles of personality and an elastic voice that hits the high registers smoothly and effectively – would make ideal musical comedy stuff.

Abel.

Key features:

  • The venue is Henderson’s, Coney Island.
  • The show is the “California Bathing Girls.
  • The Date of the clipping is July 30, 1920.

Analysis

This is a very confusing clipping. It clearly indicates she was playing in Coney Island on July 30th. However, other articles indicate she was playing at Moss’ Broadway at 41st at the same time. Additionally, other sources indicate Donna played at Henderson’s Theatre from September 6-13.

So, I believe this write-up was wrong. Rather than being about a particular show, the article was intended to promote Donna for the personality she had and not advertise a specific show she was headlining.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 41

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at another clipping from the Donna Darling Collection. The original was just a fragment of a page, but there was just enough to learn all the particulars of the show.

Cropped, edited, and resized from the Donna Darling Collection.

Donna went by “Donna Montran” until the summer of 1921 and her Bathing Beauties show, “A Beach Promenade began in July 1920 and ended the summer of 1921. The Ad indicates that her show was commencing November 1st for three days.  Additionally, “The Leopard Woman” was released in October 1920, so it is certain that 1920 was the year. The location was Pottsville and the theater was the Hippodrome.

Her show was “The Big Show of the Season Including 10 of California’s Selected Peaches with Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties in “A Beach Promenade.”  She was the headliner above Monarch Comedy Four, Una Clayton & Co. Martini, and a silent film.

This show location fits perfectly in her schedule. Fifty miles south of her show in Wilkes-Barre on October 25th through the 30th. Then three days in Pottsville (November 1st through 3rd) then on to Reading, 35 miles south, for another three days.

Conclusion

1920-11-01 – Hippodrome, Pottsville, Pennsylvania – “Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties in ‘A Beach Promenade’” added to the list of venues for Donna’s career.

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 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