“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspaper 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 grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.
From The Whittier News, (Whittier, California) newspaper dated 30 June 1924.
The Whittier News – 28 June 1924
“Headlining is that rare beauty of the stage world, Miss Donna Darling, the young lady who recently took the beauty prize at the Hippodrome in New York. The lady is appearing in a charming little song and dance revue called ‘As You Like It’, and it is said that the singer wears a wonderfully exquisite gown, containing some 20,000+ pearls. In her support will be Jack Lewis, a comedian and pianist of note. Miss Darling’s clothes are particularly charming creations. She wears a colonial costume of gold cloth in which she sings some old favorites. The settings for this act are gorgeous and most expensive.”
Because of the newly available online article & advertising, I was able to add another venue for Donna’s “As You Like It” tour.
June 30, 1924 – Whittier, CA – Scenic Theatre – Donna Darling and Company presenting “As You Like It.”
The_Whittier_News_Sat__Jun_28__1924, Page 2, Column 4, “Things Theatrical” via Newspapers.Com.
The_Whittier_News_Mon__Jun_30__1924_, Page 15, Column 1, “Scenic Theatre” via Newspapers.Com.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at five clippings from three pages of the Donna Darling Collection that all relate to Donna’s playing at the Pantheon Theatre in Vincennes, Indiana.
Luckily, one of the clippings has a newspaper title and date with it. With that information, I was able to find the exact newspaper online at the Knox County Public Library’s Advantage Preservation site.
The article was clipped from the Vincennes, (Ind.) Morning Commercial dated April 28, 1925.
BATHING GIRLS MAKE BIG SHOW
“Just hang your clothes upon a limb, but don’t go near the water.” This winding-up or finish of a poem perhaps fitted through the minds of more than one person who witnessed Donna Darling and her Bathing Girl Revue at the Pantheon theatre last night. The bathing beach scenes were excellent—all except the bathing beach.
There were girls, with their latest creation of bathing suits gorgeous, but conspicuous in their scantiness. There were lifeguards—two of them—but the beauty of the bathing girls, it must be confessed, distracted from the attention given the guards.
The show opened with a display of bathing suits of the days of 1860, in the days when modesty was more prevalent than in 1925. Then came the bathing girls of 1890, a little more daring in the style of their bathing suits; the girls of 1900, still more daring and finally, a modern girl, strutting proudly in the latest fashion creation in bathing suits.
In lieu of water in which to swim the girls displayed some rare talent at dancing. The Honolulu bathing girl, with her abbreviated suit consisting principally of seaweeds, and her exceptional ability at dancing, drew hearty applause. The Dutch bathing girl also proved a good dancer and was generously applauded. Each number pleased the audience, a fact evidenced by the hearty applause.
The feature picture, “Cheaper to Marry,” with Lewis Stone, Conrad Nagel, Marguerite De LaMotte and other stars, was an added feature to one of the best bills that has been presented at the Pantheon for some time. The show will be given tonight and tomorrow….
Along with the article, there is a clipping that came from the April 29th newspaper. It showed Donna and her Bathing Girl Revue. Through the articles and advertisements in the paper that I found I learned of a new venue for Donna
The venue is the Pantheon Theatre.
The show is the “Donna Darling and her Bathing Girl Revue.”
Also on the bill
The movie “Cheaper to Marry.”
Played Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday, April 27-29, 1925.
The other clippings, although interesting, do not add any new information regarding the show or the venue.
New Venue added:
April 27-29, 1925 – Pantheon Theatre – Vincennes, IN – Donna Darling and her Bathing Girl Revue.
The National Theater, Chico, California, Oct or November 1926.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection. Both relate to the National Theater. The same movie and the same last act mentioned are the same. Other than this entry, I haven’t seen the “Ko-Ko Kwartette” singing “Sweet Adeline” before. That makes this show unique.
Luckily, one of the clips indicates that it comes from “The Chico Record,” so we know that the show played there. The “Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark” occurred in 1926. The show entered Southern California in early October 1926 and traveled north. On October 30th, the show played at the Modesto Theater and on November 3rd, the show had moved up the coast and played in Medford, Oregon. As such, it is clear this show occurred sometime between October 30th and November 3rd.
CHICO RECORD, CHICO, CALIFORNIA
National—The headline on to- vaudeville program at the National Theater is The Donna Darling Revue headed by Miss Darling, who won the title of “Musical Comedy Beauty,” in Madison Square Garden’s show and there’s Sammy Clark, known as the Juvenile Komik. Princess Winona, and Indian prima donna, sings modern and Indian songs. Billy Curtis and Lou Lawrence have a laughing skit called “Is that the Custom?” in which a lady traveler appears to claim her trunk from a hard boiled official. Zuhn & Dreis are a couple of “nut” comedians who, believing they are an amusement exhibit, adopt a placard billing called “Dementus Americanos,” habitat North America. Morel & Elynor introduce beauty, grace, and speed doing the “Charleston on Rollers.” The film feature is “The Road to Glory,” starring May McAvoy and Ford Stirling. The Ko-Ko-Kwartette sings “Sweet Adeline” for a real feast of humor.
(circa) November 1, 1926 – Chico, California – National Theater – Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark – DDC-64.