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 in the News – “Chin Chin” plays the La Crosse Theatre, Feb. 10, 1920

This week from the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) newspapers dated February 4th through the 10th, 1920.

I’ve long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played at the Metropolitan Opera House in Minneapolis from February 1st through the 7th, and played in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on February 11th.   However, it would be unlikely that the should would go three days without a show. Thanks to Newspapers.Com[i], I learned this week that “Chin Chin” also played at the La Crosse Theatre, in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 10th.

The troupe’s February itinerary began:

I’m still wondering if “Chin Chin” played somewhere on the 9th. Probably.  Time will tell.


“Donna in the News” is my report of newly discovered newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue of my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.


Endnotes

[i] The La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) dated 4 February 1920, Page 4, Column 5, et al. Accessed via Newspapers.Com on 10 Jan 2019.

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 in the News – “Chin Chin” is Well Liked… in Saskatoon

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and aka Donna Darling). I am always excited when I find a new venue for my grandmothers exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

This week two articles from two newspapers in Saskatoon.

  • Saskatoon Daily Star (Saskatoon, Canada) dated January 13, 1920.
  • Star Phoenix (Saskatoon, Canada) dated January 13, 1920.

“Chin Chin” in Saskatoon – January 1920

I have long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played in Calgary on January 8th through the 10th and in Regina on January 15th through the 17th.  I suspected that the show played in Saskatoon, SK, in between the two shows but had no evidence of it. Sure enough, newly digitized newspaper pages at Newspapers.Com showed two callouts for Donna among some 18 articles and advertisements for “Chin Chin” playing in Saskatoon on January 12, 13, and 14.

On January 13th, the Daily Star wrote, “Outstand among the other principals were Donna Montran as the goddess of the lamp, Neva Larry….”

Also, on January 13th, the Star Phoenix wrote, “Donna Montran has a nice voice and puts two very pretty songs across to advantage. Star Dunham.…”

New information added to the Madonna Montran career list:

Jan 12-14, 1920 – Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada – Empire Theatre (Newspapers.com)

 

Chin Chin – Weller Theatre – Zanesville, OH – April, 13 1920

“Chin Chin” played at the Weller Theatre in Zanesville, Ohio, on 13 April 1920

Donna Montran
Vaudeville
Chin-Chin

The company of “Chin Chin” played at the 6th Street Theater in Coshocton, Ohio for one night, April 12, 1920. Then the show headed on the train for their next stop, Zanesville, Ohio and the Weller Theater for another one-night show on April 13th.

The “Chin-Chin” show agent arrived in Zanesville about April 7th to begin his promotion of the show.  The Times Recorder of April 9th, reported:

“CHIN CHIN” BREAKING ALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS

Charles A. Goettler, the representative of “Chin Chin” the musical extravaganza, which will appear at the Weller theater, was the guest of Manager Charles Ransbottom Wednesday, and while in the city held an impromptu levee for his many friends at his hotel. He is well known among the theatrical colony having been out with some of the biggest shows on the road in years past. Mr. Goettler said that “Chin Chin” was breaking all attendance records in the prominent theaters of the country this season and was a greater success than when seen here before. Willis and Binder, former stars with “Hitchy Koo,” “Wizard of Oz,” ant the Winter Garden shows, have succeeded Doyle and Dixon in the leading roles.

Times Recorder 4/9/1920

Manager Charles Ransbottom, along with Joseph West Junior began managing the Weller Theatre just three months earlier (January 8).[i] They were then replaced on April 13th with the opening of “Chin Chin” by Caldwell H. Brown and Charles W. Crawley.[ii]

Another article, Saturday, April 10, 1920, in the Times Recorder, page 5, reported:

CHIN CHIN COMING TO THE WELLER TUESDAY

At the Weller theater next Tuesday, the everlasting “Chin Chin” is announced. There is but on company presenting this, the greatest American musical comedy.

Seven gorgeous settings make up one stupendous production of Charles Dillingham’s “Chin Chin.” The principal comedians are Walter Wills and Roy Binder. This riot of fun, feast of music, bevy of feminine beauty with pretty dresses, swift and grotesque dancing and lots of prankish amusement including Tom Brown’s clown band as the famous saxophone Sexted, promises a most enjoyable entertainment with Charles Dillingham’s own company presenting this wonderful spectacle.

In this musically rich show such numbers as violet,” “Good-by Girls, I’m Through,” and the comedy song, “Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue,” always receive spontaneous applause.

The next known showing of “Chin Chin” is on April 20 in Cumberland, Maryland.

Weller Theatre, Zanesville, Ohio

 The Weller Theatre was designed by Frederick Elliot and Harry C. Meyer of Columbus, Ohio. The theatre opened on 27 April 1903 by Samual Weller, with the production of the “comic opera” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” And as noted before, it was the first show opening when managed by Caldwell H. Brown and Charles W. Crawley.[iii]

Specifications for the Weller Theatre [vi]

Weller Theatre, Zanesville, OH

Seating Capacity – 1427 — L.F. 609; Bal., 362, Gal., 400; Boxes, 56.


Proscenium opening: 35×33 ft
Front to back wall: 39.5 ft
Between side walls: 70 ft
Apron 3.5 ft
Between fly girders: 47 ft
To rigging loft: 69 ft
To fly gallery: 28 ft

Nearby info

Hotels in Zanesville at the time included the Rogge and Clarendon, which were $2.50 & up per night, and the  Palace, and New England hotels which were 50ç & up per night.[iv]

What happened to theater

The theatre was closed[v] and the building demolished in 1963.[vi]

Today

The Weller Theatre stood at 13 N. Third Street. Today it is a vacant area with a small building between Fox Law Offices and the Calvary Chapel.

Further Research

Research the other Zanesville newspapers of the time: Courier, Signal, and News as they become available.

Find any showings for “Chin Chin” between April 14th and April 19th. 

Endnotes:


[i] New York Clipper – January 14, 1920, Page 4, Column 3m “Zanesville Manager Retires.”

[ii]  New York Clipper – April 21, 1920,  Page 31, “Weller Theatre Changes Again.”

[iii]  New York Clipper – April 21, 1920,  Page 31, “Weller Theatre Changes Again.”

[iv] The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide – 1913-1914, Page 533.

[v] Internet: Weller Theatre in Zanesville, OH – Cinema Treasures http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/41209 – Accessed 12/30/2018.

[vi] Lynch, Kathryn, and Michael S. Sims. 2005. Zanesville. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.