Al Ringling Theatre – Bathing Beauty Revue

Donna Darling Collection – Part 10

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

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

Newspaper Clipping of Bathing Beauty Revue - Al Ringling Theatre
This image was cropped, edited, and resized for the web.

Bathing Beauty Revue
Al Ringling Theatre

Key features:

  • The venue is the Al Ringling Theatre. It is “America’s Prettiest Playhouse.”
  • The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” staring Donna Darling and Murry Earl.
  • Also on bill
    • Poli Negri in “Forbidden Paradise”
  • Coming attractions include:
    • Bebe Daniels in “Dangerous Money”
    • “The Signal Tower”
    • “The City that Never Sleeps”

Analysis

It appears that the only theatre known as “America’s Prettiest Playhouse” is the Al Ringling Theatre. It was built in Baraboo, Wisconsin in 1915 and is in use today.

“Forbidden Paradise” was released on 30 November 1924.[i] The other three movies were released before “Forbidden Paradise.[ii][iii][iv] indicating that the Bathing Beauty Review occurred after that. Probably in December of 1924.

Donna’s known schedule indicates that she played three other Wisconsin venues in November and December of 1924, so she was definitely in Wisconsin at the time.

Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online. A search at Chronicling America indicated two newspapers published in Baraboo during 1924.

  1. The Baraboo daily republic. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1892-1929 – Current Holdings do not indicate any holdings from 1924.[v]
  2. Baraboo daily news. : (Baraboo, Wis.) 1913-1929 – Current holdings indicate that the Wisconsin Historical Society, Newspaper Project in Madison, Wisconsin may hold issues from that period.[vi]

Conclusion

December (XX) 1924 – The Bathing Beauty Review featuring Donna Darling and Murry Earle played at the Al Ringling Theatre in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Actions

  • Visit the Wisconsin Historical Society in Madison to view their Newspaper Project holdings, particularly the Baraboo Daily News from December 1924 and January 1925 looking for what played at the Al Ringling Theatre.
  • Research the Al Ringling Theatre and write about Donna’s show there.

Sources

[i] IMDB Forbidden Paradise (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014925

[ii] IMDB Dangerous Money (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014825

[iii] IMDB The Signal Tower (1924)  http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0015331

[iv] IMDB The City That Never Sleeps (1924) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014777

[v] Chronicling America – About Baraboo Daily Republic – Holdings –   http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85041148/holdings/

[vi] Chronicling America – About Baraboo Daily News – Holdings –  http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn87082039/holdings/

Donna Darling Revue

Donna Darling Collection – Part 9

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.

This week on the Donna Darling “Treasure Chest” I have pulled three photos. Again, they were badly damaged. I have cropped and touched them up using Photoshop Elements to remove creases and tears as much as I could and still maintain the integrity of the photos.

The Donna Darling Review

Photo of the vaudeville act, "Donna Darling Review" c. 1927
Donna Darling Review c. 1927

The first photo shows the Donna Darling Review on stage. It appears that Sammy Clark is on the left and Donna in the middle. There is an unknown man on the right.  The photo is probably about 1927 and the location is unknown. There is no indication of the photographer. The back of the photo is stamped with “To Be Returned to Photographic & Press Bureau, Inc. Palace Theatre Bldg, New York City.”

Photo of Vaudeville act, "Donna Darling Revue" showing Donna, Sammy Clark, and two unknown women.
Donna Darling Revue c. 1927 – Photo by Theatrical ????

Next is another of the photo of the Donna Darling Review showing who appears to be Sammy on the left, Donna center stage wearing what looks to be a halo. With her are two “ladies in waiting” wearing elaborate costumes. Again, the photo was taken about 1927 and the location is unknown. The studio is cut off on the bottom right of the image, but clearly sans “Theatrical” something. The back says, “Donna Darling Review” in handwriting.

In the snow in Montreal

Fox News Photographs Donna Darling and the Girls circa 1927 in the snow
Fox News photographs Donna Darling and the girls in the snow – c. 1927

Finally, is a photo of Donna at a photo shoot with three other women. Donna is wearing her mink coat and is holding her Pekingese dog, “Peke.” There is no mention of the photographer nor of the date, although I suspect it was about 1926 or 1927. On the back, she wrote:

Montreal Canada

Fox News Cameras girls not afraid to dance in snow (was scared plenty) I took my mink off (sparely) hot toddy kept us from freezing-
My “Peke” was along.

I haven’t uncovered a show date for Donna to be in Montreal, yet but will continue researching her shows.

These three photos provide an interesting glimpse into the 1920s vaudeville world. The photos here were sized for printing (300 DPI) and are available from me at a higher quality if needed.

Subsequent to this research, I looked further for an image of this photo shoot. I found a copy on Tumbir.

http://back-then.tumblr.com/post/133355772251/dancing-in-the-snow-1926

Not all Google Searches are the Same

Donna Darling Collection – Part 8

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.
When I first saw this clipping, I was immediately excited. This flyer not only showed the venue, and date but also the individual program.  I knew I didn’t have this venue before and that Donna did her “California Bathing Beauties” show in 1920 and 1921. I didn’t know where Kaufmann’s Gayety Theater was, but I figured it couldn’t be that tough, especially because I knew that Russell V. Wright was the manager.

Clipping of Gayety Theater program bill for "The California Bathing Beauties"I searched and searched and but couldn’t find which of the many Gayety Theatres it was—Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, or any many theaters in between. I thought sure I’d figure out which theater it was by searching for “Gayety Theatre” and either “Russell V. Wright” or “Russell Wright.” No luck. I knew it should be in “The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide.” Then I went to Google Books and searched. Bang! There it was. Although I was frustrated by the process, I was reminded of something I had known but forgot.  A regular Google search doesn’t return everything.  A search of “Gayety Theatre” Russell Wright” returns different results on Google than it does on Google Books. Google Books provided the answer I was looking for; Google did not. The Gayety Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada was managed by Russell Wright in the 1920s.

I looked at what was “On the Screen” at the bottom of the page.  Jacqueline Logan in “The House of Youth” and the short, “Monsieur Don’t Care” with Stan Laurel. Both films were released in 1924. So, this couldn’t have been a February 1921 show; it was the 1925 show.

The cast included the following individuals:

  • Al Ross
  • Alice Louise
  • Anita Walker
  • Betty Bryant
  • Clarice Allyn
  • Donna Darling
  • Mildred O’Brien
  • Murry Earle
  • And an unknown Lascoe

Learned: Donna Darling played in The California Bathing Beauties at Kaufmann’s Gayety Theatre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on February 9th and 10th, 1925.

Reminded:  Not all Google searches are the same. A regular search on Google does not include searching Google Books.

Donna at the Bijou – New Haven, CT

Donna Darling Collection – Part 8

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

This week’s Treasure Chest Thursday is clipping regarding Donna and her Bathing Beauties playing at the Bijou. The accompanying clipping indicates that the article was in “THE NEW HAVEN JOU,” so it appears to be the Bijou of New Haven, Connecticut. A quick check of Cinema Treasures indicated that there was a Bijou Theater in New Haven at that time.[1]

The next question is when did she play there.  There is no date with the clipping. A search of the newspapers available online did not provide any help.  However, IMDb to the rescue. They indicate the movie was released on 7 November 1920.  Consequently, I would expect that this showing would have occurred sometime within two months of the release date. We also know that Donna played in Bridgeport, CT on December 29th & 30th and possibly on December 20th.  With that in mind, it fits that Donna and her Bathing Beauties played the Bijou in New Haven, CT sometime in November or December, 1920.

All attendance records were broken at the Bijou theater yesterday during the initial appearance of that bib combined all star vaudeville and moving picture bill, which is headed by Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties, and George Walsh in “The Plunger.” There isn’t a dull moment on the bill and yesterday’s audiences showed their appreciation by prolonged applause throughout the entire performance.

Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties lived up to all the good things that had been said about them and presented a production that was a delight to the eye.

Also on the bill:

  • Katheyn Arnold and George L. Cohan.
  • Henry Sykes
  • Billy Bowman
  • The Carpas Bros.

New Engagement Added:

Unknown Date: [Nov-Dec] 1920 – New Haven, CT – Bijou – Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties.


References:

  1. Cinema Treasurers – Bijou Theater – 28 Church Street, New Haven, CT 06510
  2. IMDb – The Plunger Release Date: 7 November 1920.

Donna Darling and the Boys

Donna Darling Collection – Part 7

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Donna Darling with Murray Walker & Jack Finney, circa 1922
Donna Darling with Murray Walker & Jack Finney – 1922

The searching, the hunt to understand a page, a photo from the Donna Darling Collection is always fun. Item #7 of the collection is a photograph of Donna with two men. Accompanying newspaper clippings suggest that the photo is of her with Murray Walker and Jack Finney. Donna did a show with Walker and Finney in 1922 called, “As You Like It” although I have also seen it referred to as “Donna Darling and The Boys.”

With just a little touching up, it provided a great photo of Donna and one showing Murray Walker and Jack Finney. Also, with it is a clipping of an ad showing them as the headliner at the Majestic. Sadly, the ad doesn’t show which Majestic theater it was – and there are several.

So, I searched for shows where Donna where and when this Majestic show might have taken place. I quickly found where Donna and the Boys played the Majestic in Harrisburg, PA on April 6th, 7th, and 8th, 1822. Then I realized the accompanying acts weren’t the same as the clipping from the Donna Collection.  I continued searching but still haven’t found the Majestic and show from Donna’s scrapbook.

Majestic (Keith Vaudeville) ad - Unknown date or locationThe two new venues I did find for Donna and the Boys are:

March 27, 28, 29, 1922 – Pittsburgh, PA – Sheridan Square – Donna Darling assisted by Murray Walker & Jack Finney in “As You Like It.”[i]

April 6, 7, 8, 1922 – Harrisburg, PA – Majestic ([ii]Keith Vaudeville) with Murray Walker & Jack Finney in “As You Like It.”

Also, I found a brief note in the New York Clipper about Donna playing

July 1, 2, 1923- Keokuk, IA – Regent – Donna Darling & Co.[iii]

So, three new venues for Donna and a great photo touched up.  It is a great day.

FOLLOWUP

Search further for the Donna and the Boys show at another Majestic Theater that included the accompanying acts above.

Research the show in March 1922, in Pittsburgh, PA and research the Sheridan Square theater

Research the show in April 1922 in Harrisburg, PA and the Majestic Theater.

Research the show in July 1923 in Keokuk, IA and the Regent Theater.


ENDNOTES

[i] 1922-03-26 – The Pittsburgh Press (Pittsburgh, PA) Page 44 “Sheridan Square.”

[ii] 1922-04-07 – The Evening News (Harrisburg, PA) – Page 22 “Best Show at Majestic.”

[iii] 1923-06-27 – New York Clipper – Page 21 – “Vaudeville Bills Next Week.”