Donna Darling Collection – Part 69

Palace Theatres

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

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

Palace Theatre – Port Richmond

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace Theatre – Port Richmond.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling & Boys” in “As You Like It.”
  • Also, on the bill:
    • Bert Lahr & Mercedes in “What’s the Idea?”
    • Malloy & Cowell – Comedy Sketch “Hogan the Mummy”
    • Rose Garden – Comedy song & Piano
  • Coming attractions include:
    • May 8, 9, 10—Richard Talmadge, Douglas Fairbanks’ only rival, in “The Unknown.”

Analysis

The first of these clippings relates to the Palace Theatre of Port Richmond. Although it is undated, it mentions the show following, the movie “The Unknown,” will come May 8, 9, and 10. Donna Darling & Boys “As You Like It” appears to have opened in June 1921 and ran until June 1924. “Pay Day” with Charlie Chaplin was released in April 1922. So, I’m confident this ad was from May 4, 5, & 6, 1922. Port Richmond is a section of Philadelphia and there was a Lehigh Palace Theatre it is in Glenwood about three miles from Port Richmond but it doesn’t seem to fit the ad.

Port Richmond is also a neighborhood in Staten Island. Also, it had a Palace Theatre which operated from before 1916 into the 1950s. Additionally, Donna Darling & Boys played at the Crescent Theatre in Perth Amboy, only 17 miles away, immediately following the Palace Theatre gig. As such, I am confident this is evidence that Donna and the Boys, played at the Palace Theatre in Port Richmond, Staten Island, New York May 4-6, 1922.

Conclusion

May 6-8, ?, 1922 – Port Richmond (Staten Island) – Palace Theatre – Donna Darling & Boys in “As you Like It” – DDC-69.

Palace Theatre – Detroit, Michigan

The next two are the cover and inside of a program showing what is coming next week.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace Theatre – Detroit, Michigan.
  • The show is the “Donna Darling and her Bathing Girl Revue” and includes the “Comedy Life Guards”
  • Also on the Program:
    • Tom Brown Presents “Seven Gifted Chinese Musicians” With their Oriental Stringed Octette.
    • Meredith and Miller in “Bring ‘em In”
    • Harry Oliver and Ada Lee in “At the Stage Door” by Jimmy Barry
    • Fayette and Co. “Spectacular and Comedy Illusions”
    • Three Runseys in “An Athletic Surprise”
    • Movie: Emil Jannings in “The Last Laugh”
  • Date: Unknown (Next Week)

Analysis

Thanks to Genealogy Bank, I learned previously that Donna Darling’s Bathing Beauties played at the Palace Theatre in Detroit, Michigan on July 7th & 8tt, 1925. Clearly, this program is from that showing.

I find it interesting that, presumably, Tom Brown and his Saxophone Clowns (from the Chin Chin Days) morphed into a “Chinese Octette.”

The Bathing Beauty on the inside, “One of the Ten Hollywood Bathing Beauties” does not appear to be Donna. It is rare that Donna ever allowed any of the other women in the show to be displayed in advertising.

Conclusion

Add images to existing files I have regarding Donna playing at the Palace Theatre.

Palace Theatre – “Dolly Montrose”

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palace – The Home of Supreme Vaudeville (Location unknown)
  • The show of interest is “Dolly Montrose – Singing Comedienne”
  • Also on the Program:
    • Beyer & McNulty in their comedy hit “Hunting”
    • Bill Browing—The Talkative Man
    • ??? eley and La Rose—Some Team
    • ??? Lone Star & Co. – Songs and Dances
    • Movie: “Diamonds Adrift” starring Earl Williams
  • Date: Unknown (Probably early 1921)

Analysis

This fragment is intriguing. The Big Vitagraph Feature is “Diamonds Adrift” starring Earl Williams which was released in January 1921. The clipping does not mention Donna but does portray a “Dolly Montrose – Singing Comedienne.” Donna occasionally used the name “Dolly” in her early career, but I’ve not seen “Montrose” ever used before. It may have been a typo, but I suspect something else.

Donna’s known career in early 1921 is lacking many venues. I suspect there was a week in February where Donna didn’t have any shows with her Bathing Beauties and wanted to keep working so she got a gig as a “Singing Comedienne” named Dolly Montrose. A name different enough to not be an embarrassment to her Bathing Beauties show.

Actions

Although my speculation may be right, unless I find corroborating information, I’m just going to just keep this clipping aside and see if something else comes to light.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 68

Four Orpheum Theaters

Treasure Chest Thursday,
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at ten clippings from seven different pages. Nine of them relate to the Orpheum Theaters in various locations. But first, there was a “Donna Darling Review” trade advertisement. It clearly was a clipping from a magazine. It didn’t provide anything about a theater. It gives the title of their show and who the director was.

DONNA DARLING Revue.
With SAMMY CLARK
A Novel Revue in Five Scenes

Entitled

FROM HEAVEN – TO HADES
Singing—Komedy—Dancing

Direction: Lew Holleb
Lew Goldberg Office, Chicago

I think I can use this ad as a graphic for the entire show period.

Racine

Next, there were two clippings of “California Motion Picture Bathing Beauties” featuring Donna Darling. The theater is the “Orpheum-Racine’s Play House Deluxe” and the date is Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving was the November 27th in 1924. I had already determined that Donna played at the Racine Orpheum theatre on Nov 27, 28, & 29, so I am able to add the date to these two clippings.

Des Moines

There are three clippings that show another Orpheum theater. They are identified as under “Direction of Alexander Frank.” Alexander Frank provided direction to several theaters in Iowa during the 1920s. One of those theaters was in Des Moines. I had already established that Donna played the Des Moines Orpheum on January 2nd to the 5th, 1927; so, I’m sure this show is the show the clippings are related to.

Tulsa & Oklahoma City

The last three items include an Orpheum Theater Program. There is no date nor location with it. However, another clipping shows the Orpheum theater with the same acts also on the bill and had hand-written on it “Tulsa Okla.” Also, is a short ad showing the Donna Darling Revue “this W’k, Orpheum, Tulsa & Oklahoma City, Okla.”

Donna played the Orpheum Theater in Oklahoma City on December 9, 1923 and the Orpheum in Tulsa on December 13-14, 1923. At first I thought this venue must have been one of these two. Further research on line found acts different from the ones in the clippings played on those dates. Finally, a search for “Sie Tehar Troup” found they played in Oklahoma City with the “Darling Revue” starting Thursday, 12 August 1926. It is possible the same group played in Tulsa sometime in August 1926, however, I have not been able to find any papers for that time period and location, yet.

Conclusion

November 27-29, 1924 – Racine, Wisconsin – Orpheum – Bathing Beauties with Donna Darling. Newspapers.com – DDC-68

January 2-5, 1927 – Des Moines, IA – Orpheum – Donna Darling Revue – Newspapers.com – Archives.Com – DCC-68 

Two New Venues Discovered:

August 12, 1926 – Oklahoma City, OK – Orpheum Theater. Newspapers.com

August ??, 1926 – Tulsa, OK – Orpheum – Darling Revue – DDC-68

Donna Darling Collection – Part 67

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Two Temple Theaters

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to two  Temple Theaters.

The good news is that I encountered Temple Theaters previously.

Back in Donna Darling Collection – Part 39, I learned that Donna had played at the Temple Theater in Brantford, Ontario from January 27 to January 29, 1927.

Back in Donna Darling Collection – Part 63, I learned that Donna & Sammy played at a Temple Theater at the same time as Richard Talmadge’s movie “The Wall Street Wiz” sometime in May 1926 or later.

The first of the two clippings suggested that Donna and Sammy were at the Temple theater in “Braneford, Ont.”  After a closer look, it appeared the “e” was actually a “t” and the location was Brantford, Ontario. The advertisement shows the movie “The Only Way” with Sir. John Martin Harvey was playing.

The second image is unlabeled. It indicates that:

Temple Presents Act by California Bathing Girls

The Temple presents a pleasing bill for the last half of this week headed by the well-known singer and bathing beauty, Donna Montran, assisted by 10 of California’s selected peaches, in a most unusual offering of song and dance, entitled “A Beach Promenade.” A pretentious dancing revue is offered by the Homer Girls and Pease. Their revue is splendidly produced with special scenery and costumes and original music. It consists of dancing, both old and new…..

Other shows on the bill include:

  • Jess and Dell as “The Human Puppets”
  • Fred and Tommy Haden, “The American Englishmen”
  • Miss Leila Shaw in “There She Goes Again
  • Jay Raymond – “Soap Box Orator” (Possibly – unclear if he is an act or is only being referred to.

Donna began her “California Bathing Girls” in July 1920 and ended it in May 1921. So, this clipping comes from that period.

During that time, her show venues were in six Mid-Atlantic states, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC. There are 14 theaters in New York alone. Hopefully, a newspaper article will come up showing Donna at a Temple Theater with the same side acts.

Conclusion

I added a date of 1927-01-27 to the image of the Brantford, Ont., clipping and file.

I added “Before May 1921 and after July 1920 – Temple Theatre, unknown location. (See DDC-67)” to her career calendar.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 60 – Parkway Theatre

Donna Montran – Vaudeville
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at eight images all relating to the Parkway Theatre. None of the clippings indicate what city the show is taking place in and none of the clippings provide a date. Donna’s 1924-1925 show went by many different names, Hollywood Bathing Beauties,” “California Bathing Beauties Revue,” and “Bathing Beauties Revue featuring Donna Darling. A film mentioned, “The Painted Flapper,” was released in October 1924, so Donna’s show most likely within the three months after the film’s release.

From other research, I knew that Donna played at the Parkway Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin from January 11 to the 15th. Could this be the Parkway Theatre of Donna’s Scrapbook?

A quick review said, yes, these clippings came from that show. Many of the clippings were identical to articles I found online so, I feel comfortable these clipping for the Parkway are from Donna’s Madison Show.

PARKWAY

Clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.
Clipping from newspapers.com

THE CALIFORNIA BATHING BEAUTIES REVUE

Direct from the Studios at Hollywood
In Person
featuring

DONNA DARLING
Creator of principal role in “Chin Chin” star of “Girl Behind the Gun;” winner of Madison Square beauty contest.
MR. MURRY EARLE Late feature dancer for George White Scandals
ALL ROSS & ALICE LOUISE Dances and Comedians
MISS BETTY BRYANT – Know for her comedy team work.
MISS MILDRED O’BRIEN – In Mack Sennett Comedies
MISS CLARICE ALLYN – Toe Dancer
MISS KATHERYN KOLLEEN – Dancer
MISS MYRTLE CARLSON – Dancer


PARKWAY
Same info as the previous ad, plus additional info about the accompanying motion picture, “The Painted Flapper: An Ultra Modern Jazzology” starring James Kirkwood and Pauline Garon.

(Note: Donna cut off the ads for coming attractions. )


Parkway

Clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

The much heralded Bathing Girl Revue headed by Miss Donna Darling and her motion picture studio girls made it bow to Parkway Patrons yesterday and won applause. Their offering is fast, clean and colorful and thoroughly devoid of anything that smacks of the sensational often associated with the miniature revues.

Identical article in the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) · 12 Jan 1925, Page 7.

The plot, though not a new one, is unique in development. In a short half hour one is whipped through a mirage of singing and dancing numbers following in quick succession, telling a history of the bathing suit from Grandmother’s day down to the present time, with a side trip around the world including stop offs at various beach resorts. The costumes are elaborate, the setting pleasing and the lighting effects unusual.

Of the cast Miss Darling stand out by right of her personality, beauty and grace. She was ably assisted by Murry Earl, a dancer of accomplishment. Miss Betty Bryant, for her demon dancing in the Mars episode and dainty Clarice Allyn’s Chinese bathing girl number deserve special mention.


BATHING BEAUTIES OF MOVIES IN REVUE AT PARKWAY

Bathing girls from various California motion picture studios will make a personal appearance in a colorful Hollywood Revue at the Parkway this week, beginning today. This review is a clever musical and dancing number which will show the Parkway patrons that these versatile girls can do other things than merely pose before the camera.

Miss Donna Darling, who comes direct from the Mack Sennett studios, is the charming star who introduces the Bathing Beauties dressed in bathing costumes dating from 1860 to the present day. Betty Bryant is the “Miss America of 1925.” Bathing costumes of various countries and fashionable sea-shore centers are introduced. Chief among these numbers is Mildred O’Brian, who appear as the beauty from Palm Beach. Miss Darling’s life guards, Murry Earl and Al Ross, add comedy to the Egyptian dance while petite Clarice Allyn as the Chinese bathing girl enhances the offering with clever toe dancing.

Elaborate costumes have been selected for this sparkling revue. The music is snappy and the production has brilliant scenic and lighting effects.


There was a large ad that ran across two pages in Donna’s scrapbook. It shows Donna on the left and two of the other girls. I have not identified either of them yet. I suspect one of them is probably Betty Bryant, but the other could be Mildred O’Brian or Clarice Allyn or even one of the other two girls. I’ll need to research that further.

Conclusion

The Donna Darling Collection provided new information about her show at the Parkway Theatre, Madison Wisconsin on January 11 to the 15th, 1925.

Follow-up Actions

I’ll need to search for photos of the other individuals of the show that are in the advertising.

Sources

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · 12 Jan 1925 · Page 7.

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · 14 Jan 1925 · Page 15.

Donna in the News – Two New Venues

Donna Montran
Vaudeville

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, I learned of two new venues, specific dates for a previously known show, and one venue confirmed by another newspaper. I made these new discoveries using Genealogy Bank. A Search for Donna Montran found four new articles. One article confirmed a venue I wrote about before—Pacy’s Garden Theatre on September 14-17, 1920. The Baltimore American dated Sep 14, 1920, on page 5 said:

Bathing Girls at Garden.

Nine bathing girls, grouped as “The California Bathing Girls” and headed by Donna Montran are presenting “A Beach Promenade,” a musical comedy, at the Garden Theatre this week. The offering differs from the usual bathing-girl act in that it is not a series of tableaux, but is an ambitious musical comedy offering with six beach scenes and a number of tuneful melodies.

The Bijou – New Haven, Connecticut – 19-22 December 1920.

The Connecticut Labor Press (New Haven, CT) for Dec 18, 1920, said that:

George Walsh in “The Plunger,” and “The Dragon’s Net” will remain for the first half of the week in conjunction with a remarkable bill of all-star vaudeville headed by Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

From the Donna Darling Collection, (DDC-8) I had known that Donna played at the Bijou in New Haven sometime in November or December of 1920. An ad on this page showed it was Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday (19-22 December).

State Theatre – Trenton, New Jersey – 3-5 March 1921

The latter part of Donna’s 1920-1921 Bathing Beauty Show has always been a mystery. I knew she played the Keeney Theatre in Brooklyn at the end of January and that she closed the show in May or June for the summer, but I knew nothing of February, March, April, or May. Thanks to the Trenton Evening Times, dated March 3, 1921, on page 16 I learned that she played the State Theatre, in Trenton, New Jersey in “Tom Rooney’s and Earl Lindsay’s California Bathing Girls.”

Garden Theatre – Baltimore, Maryland – 20 March 1921

The Baltimore Sun ran an advertisement for “The California Bathing Girls with Donna Montran in “A Beach Promenade” on March 20,  1921. This was a return to the Garden Theatre for Donna with the same show six months after her earlier show. Still not sure how many days she was there, but further research should provide the answer.



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