Donna Darling Collection – Part 65

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville

By Don Taylor

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.

From the Donna Darling Collection

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….

From the Donna Darling Collection.

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

Key features:

  • 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.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 61

Rivoli Theater

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that talk about the Rivoli Theater.

The first item is a newspaper clipping from the Rivoli Theatre where F. L. Koppelberger was manager. It says Donna played there January 7, 8, 9, &10 January 1925. Previous research found that Donna played at the Rivoli theater in La Cross, Wisconsin on those dates. So that is a clear add-in clipping for.

January 7-10, 1925 – La Cross, Wisconsin – Rivoli – California Bathing Beauties Revue.

This is a particularly interesting clipping. It shows the two-dozen vignettes that comprised of Donna’s 1925 Bathing Beauty Show.

  • Clarice Allyn
  • Betty Bryant
  • Katheryn Carlson
  • Donna Darling
  • Murry Earl
  • FNU Flaherty
  • Alice Louise
  • Mildred O’Brien
  • Al Ross

Donna was “Miss Prolog” and “Miss 1860.” She starred in “The Globe Trotter,” “Donna” (herself), “You Bet Your Life,” “The Jazzbo Bathers,” and in the closing review.

Other shows on the bill included “Douglas MacLean in “Never Say Die” and Larry Semon giving the news and in “Trouble Brewing.” That will help confirm the other clippings. In 1925, two years before the first “talkies” theaters often provided a news segment that was narrated by a local individual. In this case, Larry Semon was the narrator. His name on other advertising shows which Rivoli theater would be correct. Other clippings show that his Rivoli theater had unique rivets in the theater logo.

The ads use different names for two of the cast – Miss Katheryn Kolleen and Miss Myrtle Carlson are identified as members of the show.

Also, the clippings include two advertisements from the Rivoli. One shows a woman diving, but the other shows a woman sitting in a shell. I’ve not seen that image before in Donna’s advertising.

Actions

There is another set of “Rivoli” Theatre clipping that appears to relate to Donna and Sammy playing at the Rivoli in Portland, Oregon.  I’ll look at those closer next time.

Donna in the News – Passaic & Patterson, New Jersey.

“Chin Chin”

This week Newspapers.Com released two more newspapers that were of interest to my Donna Montran Vaudeville Career work. First, the Passaic Daily Herald had several articles and ads for “Chin Chin” playing at the Lyceum Theatre in Paterson, New Jersey on May 7th and 8th, 1920.  Besides the Herald, the News (Paterson, NY) also had advertising and articles regarding that show.  This was all new information to me about the venues that “Chin Chin” played at during Donna’s being with the cast.

Bathing Beauties

Additionally, the News (Paterson, NY) had a small ad showing that Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties played at the Majestic Theater.  The date isn’t 100% clear, but it appears that it was January 13, 14, & 15, 1921, that her Beach Promenade played.

The News (Paterson, New Jersey) · Fri, Jan 14, 1921 · Page 21

Both of these are new dates and venues to be added to my list of Donna’s career performances.

  • May 7 & 8, 1920 – Paterson, NY – Lyceum Theater – “Chin Chin”
  • Jan 13-15, 1921 – Paterson, New Jersey – Majestic Theatre — Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

“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 grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.

—– Disclaimer —–

Donna Darling Collection – Part 37

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Fay’s Theater – Providence, Rhode Island

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a set of clippings from the Donna Darling Collection. First, we see she received top billing of “Great Acts of Vaudeville.” Her show, “Dona [sic] Montran and her Bathing Beauties” included “Eight beautiful California girls from the Golden Gate displaying the coming summer fashions at the beaches; a carload of scenery and a satchel full of costumes. 


My immediate questions were where and when. This was the first large ad I’ve seen for a theatre where Donna played that didn’t provide the name of the theater. The when was pretty easy. The bill includes the 1920 silent short, “Wedding Blues,” which IMDB indicates was released on November 28, 1920. Also, Donna began her “California Bathing Girls” show in July 1920 and it ran until May or June of 1921.


A second ad provides information about where. The ad says Donna Montran is coming Monday 8.  It isn’t clear what the 8 means, but, if it means date, then it fits that it would mean Monday,  November 8th. I’ve seen cases before where IMDB is wrong about the release date, so I’m not too concerned about the inconsistency.

Another clipping on the same page provides a bit more insight. It reads, in part, “The act held the stage at the Broadway Theatre, New York for ten consecutive weeks coming direct to Newport from Fay’s in Providence where it established a new record for attendance.

Key features:

  • The date is possibly 8 November, but more likely December 1920 or January 1921.
  • The venue is the Fay’s Theatre, Providence, RI
  • The show is the “Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties. “
  • Also, on bill
    • “Wedding Blues” with the Christie Follies Girls

Analysis

I have searched all of the on-line newspaper sources I could to determine an exact date for her playing in either Providence or Newport – Ancestry.com, Chronicling America (using Elephind), Genealogy Bank, Google News Archive, Newspaper Archives, Newspapers.com, etc.  Search as I may, I was unsuccessful in finding an on-line source for newspapers from that time. The closest I found was the Google News Archive and it has a gap in coverage from Oct 8 thru Nov 15, 1920.

Conclusion

Nov 8-10 (Possibly later) – Fay’s Theatre, Providence, RI – Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties. 

Actions

According to the Library of Congress, “US Newspaper Directory, 1690-Present” the following Libraries hold the Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.) 1920 issues, typically in microfilm form.

  • Boston Pub Libr, Boston, MA
  • Brown Univ, Providence, RI
  • Library of Congress, Washington, DC
  • Rhode Island Hist Soc Libr, Providence, RI
  • Univ of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
  • Wisconsin Hist Soc, Newsp Proj, Madison, WI

I will try to visit the Boston Public Library the next time I am in Boston and see if I can find newspaper article or advertising that proves the dates she played at Fay’s Theater in Providence. Alternately, I’ll add this article to my (lengthly) list of tasks when I can visit Washington DC.

Sources

Donna Darling Collection – Scan0071.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 27 – Three Colonial Theaters

Three Colonial Theaters
Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at several vaudeville clippings from three different pages of the Donna Darling Collection. All of them relate to the Colonial Theater. One to the Colonial Theater in Lancaster, PA. The second one the Colonial Theater in Washington DC, and the third Colonial theater in Detroit, MI. Determining the various locations and dates was challenging but led to new words for my vocabulary and some amazing finds.

Lancaster, PA – Colonial Theater

The first venue was easy to analyze. Donna wrote on the clipping “Lancaster Pa Apr. 15.” It appears that she also wrote “Intelligence.” but I have no idea what that might mean in this context.

DD Collection – Scan 0107

Colonial – Keith Vaudeville – Best in the World
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday—April 17, 18, 19

Special Easter Show
Miss Donna Daring and Co….
Bruce Morgan and Tom Moran,

Valentine Vox,
Transfield Sisters,
[Movie] “Haunted Spooks: A Two-reel Lloyd Comedy…

Article: "Program at Colonial Starts with Whirl"
DDC – Scan 0107

PROGRAM AT COLONIAL
STARTS WITH WHIRL

Yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s program at the Colonial Theatre, opened with a whirl at last evening’s show. “A Song, A Dance and a Cocktail,” was the feature of the show. Miss Dona Darling eclipsed the limelight in brightness, wit and personality of exceptional quality combined with a vein of rascality that had the audience in constant bursts of amusement.

The rest of the program….

Analysis

Donna Darling and Company was a show that she had during 1922. A quick check of a 1922 calendar confirmed that April 17th, 18th, and 19th, were Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in 1922. Then on Cinema Treasures, I confirmed that there was once a Colonial Theater in Lancaster, PA. It opened before 1914 and later became the Boyd Theater. Besides the newspaper ad there were two short write-ups regarding the show.  This was a new date and location for me. Of particular interest is that the newspaper clearly says, “Donna Daring.”  This is a new search parameter for me to use in the future.

Washington, DC – Colonial Theater

Image of newspaper clipping - Colonial Theatre
Donna Darling Collection – Scan 0073

Colonial Theater – Two Shows 2 P.M., 7:30
Tom Rooney Presents
Donna Montran and Her California Bathing Beauties
presenting “A Classy Beach Promenade”
An Up to the Minute Musical Tabloid
A Carload of Scenery and Fetching Costumes

Also, on the bill:

Little Dolly Dimples and her “Man O’ Wars Man”
Taylor & Brown – Daring Doings
Herbert Trainor – Pleasing Magic
Davis & Kidaire “Make ‘em Smile Boys”
[Movie] Alice Calhoun Vtagraph [sic] Favorite in Princess Jones (6 Parts)

Analysis

The second clipping was dated March 15th. Donna still went by Montran and she did her California Bathing Beauties in 1921. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of March 1921 were the 14th, 15th, and 16th. Her mentioning it was the Washington papers that the ad ran in, tightens the location to the Colonial Theater in Washington, DC.

Detroit, MI – Colonial Theater

Image of newspaper clipping "Featured in Vaudeville" from about 19 December 1926.
Donna Darling Collection – Scan 1451

Featured in Vaudeville

The following features are announced for the week by the leading vaudeville houses:

Temple –May Wirth….

Colonial – A beautifully stages singing and dancing act in a futuristic version of the nether regions[ii], offered by Donna Darling, former Follies performer, is to headline the vaudeville. Miss Darling and Sammy Clark are both well known stars of terpischore[iii] and are assisted in the act by Barring, Lazure and Hal Dixon. Other acts include….  The Colonial announces a special New Year’s eve show, starting at midnight.

Analysis

This third clipping confused me a bit. I misread the last sentence which says, “The Colonial announces a special New Year’s eve show, starting at midnight.”  I misread that it to mean the special show was while Donna was playing there. I searched and searched for a place that had both a Temple Theater and a Colonial Theater. I could only find two places, Chicago and Detroit. Being in Detroit during the holidays made sense as Donna’s mother lived there. I found she played at the Palace Theater in Rockford during Christmas and at the Orpheum in Des Moines in New Years. During my search I used many new search parameters to look for Donna. I ended up finding well over a hundred new dates and venues. It was truly amazing what I found. I have added the new dates and venues to my Donna Montran page.

I eventually came to the conclusion that the note regarding a New Year’s Eve show doesn’t apply to Donna’s show.

Conclusion

Three new dates and venues directly identified because of Donna’s Colonial Theater clippings.

  1. Mar 14-16, 1921 – Washington, DC – Colonial Theatre – Donna Montran and her California Bathing Beauties. DDC Part 27
  2. April 17-19, 1922 – Lancaster, PA – Colonial – Donna Daring and Co., DDC Part 27
  3. December 19, 1926 – Detroit, Michigan – Colonial – Donna Darling Revue – DDC Part 27 –  Also see: Genealogy Bank

There were also over 100 new dates and performance venues I discovered while doing this research. They have been applied to the Donna Montran Vaudeville Page.


Genealogy Bank was used extensively during this research.


Follow-up

Further search my newspaper sources for “Donna Daring.”

ENDNOTES

[i] I have cropped and sized all images for the web – Original scan’s available.

[ii] Wikipedia – Hell, the Underworld, or any place of darkness or eternal suffering

[iii] [sic] “terpischore” should be terpsichore – Wikipedia – In Greek mythology, Terpsichore (/tərpˈsɪkəriː/; Τερψιχόρη) “delight in dancing” was one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus. She lends her name to the word “terpsichorean” which means “of or relating to dance”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpsichore