Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the 6th Street Theatre in Coshocton, Ohio on 12 April 1920
The “Chin Chin” production played at the Union Theatre in New Philadelphia, OH, on April 10th. They may have had off on Sunday, April 11th, or they may have played somewhere on that Sunday. But any event the cast traveled the 30 miles to Coshocton to play at the 6th Street Theatre on Monday the 12th for one night. Advertising began on April 7th with typical written ads and display ads beginning on April 9th. The newspaper the day of the show describes the show and includes some of the characters in the show, including my grandmother, “The Goddess of the Light.”
The following day a reviewer in The Coshocton Tribune praised the show. The second paragraph of the review read:
“… Starr Dunham appeared in the role of Aladdin while the part of the cruel Abonazar was well taken by Joseph Robinson. The wealthy American, Cornelius Bond was played by English Cody, while Ethel Lawrence appeared as his charming daughter Violet. The Goddess of the Lamp, an unusually pretty and charming girl, who never failed to delight her audience with her solo numbers, was Donna Montran….“
Post Show Info
The cast next headed 30 miles further south to Zanesville, Ohio and the Weller Theatre for the show on Tuesday the 13th.
The 6th Street Theatre
The 6th Street Theatre was built in 1903 by a group of businessmen who called themselves the Coshocton Theater Company. The Julius Cahn Reports for 1913 indicate the Seating capacity was about 1,000. The theater was on the ground floor and had a proscenium opening of 32 x 22 feet.
Eventually, the theater converted to a movie house and it closed in May 1959. The building was demolished in 1974.
The Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) · Sat, Apr 10, 1920, · Page 3, Advertising “Chin Chin” https://www.newspapers.com/image/323058644 – Downloaded on Sep 1, 2017, via Newspapers.Com.
The Tribune (Coshocton, Ohio) · Tue, Apr 13, 1920, · Page 3, Column 4 “6th St. Theatre – Chin Chin Drew Large Audience” – https://www.newspapers.com/image/323057655 – Downloaded on Sep 1, 2017, via Newspapers.Com.
A full twelve days before opening in Regina the first advertising began for “Chin-Chin.”
“CHIN-CHIN” HAS MELODIOUS AND ARTISTIC SETTINGS
Melodious, artistic and diverting is “Chin Chin,” scheduled for the Regina theatre for three days, commencing Thursday, January 15. To Walter Wills and Roy Binder are entrusted the principal parts, supported by a company of clever comedians and a beautiful chorus. In their songs “The Chinese Honeymoon, “Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue” and “Temple Bells,” the two clever comedians, Wills and Binder, make a decided bit and are always recalled again and again. In this charming fantasy with a Chinese atmosphere there are also a score of other songs that are the fascinating, whistling kind, and several unique dances that carry the snappy comedy along delightfully.
On January 9th, there was a standard “to the General Public” announcement similar to many of the “Chin-Chin” shows. On the 10th was a “What the Press Agents Say” article plus the first regular advertisements.
On January 14th, the day before the show, the Regina “Leader-Post” newspaper had a very interesting article containing background information regarding the Arabian Nights tales.
‘CHIN CHIN’ FANTASY
ALL COLD AT REGINA
Charles Dillingham’s only company of “Chin Chin,” which comes to the Regina theatre tomorrow, Friday and Saturday, with a matinee on the latter day, with Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the leading roles is founded upon the most popular tale in the immortall eastern Saga book of the Thousand Nights and One Night, Aladdin or the Wonderful Lamp.” In fact it is frankly called a modern Aladdin, in which the two drolls disport themselves as a couple of Chinamen. Chin Hop Lo and Chin Chop Hi. Outside of the Holy Bible there is perhaps existant no more universally popular book than this same Arabian Nights, one of the best known English versions of which, is by the late John Payne, well known to scholars for his powers in English Verse. His translation of the poems of Master Francois Villon remain a monument to his genius.
The wonderful collection of Moslem folklore translated into every language known to civilization is
read with eagerness by each successive generation, but nowhere are the tales read or listened to with greater delight than in the Arabian desert itself, where travelers record as a common sight, Sheiks and white-beards sitting gravely in their places at evening around the camp fire, women and children motionless as silhouettes outside the ring, all breathless with attention as they drink in the words with eyes and mouths as well as ears. while the Rawi or reciter. to whose wit the task of supplying details is left, entertains the groups with picturesque and oriental effect.
In spite of the fact that Thomas Carlye called the Arabian Nights a pack of downright lies, it is incontrovertible that the general tone of The Nights is exceptionally high and pure and devotional fervor often rises to the boiling point of fanaticism. They have pathos, sweet, deep, and genuine; tender, simple and true. They depict life as strong and splendid, though everywhere flavored with that unaffected pessimism and constitutional melancholy which strikes its deepest root under the brightest skies.
The whole of the stories are dominated everywhere by that marvelous oriental fancy wherein the spiritual and the supernatural are so common as the material and natural
Once again, Donna played “The Goddess of the Lamp” in “Chin-Chin.” She was not mentioned by name in any of the Regina newspaper articles that I found, however, her role in the production was mentioned.
The Regina Theatre was built in 1909 and opened on February 7, 1910. Some references indicate it a capacity of 870 seats[i], but according to the “Cahn-Leighton Theater Guide[ii] for 1913-1914” it had a seating capacity of 809. The theatre closed in 1929 after a fire and was demolished in 1939.[iii]
“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 of my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.
I discovered several articles in the “Leader-Post” (Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada) that are newly available at Newspapers.com. The articles showed that “Chin Chin” played at the Regina Theatre for 3 days starting January 15, 1920. Because of those newly available online articles, I was able to add another venue for Donna’s “Chin Chin” tour.
New information added to her career list:
Jan 15-17, 1920 – Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada – Regina Theater
Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Empire Theatre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, 1 – 3 January 1920
We know Donna and “Chin-Chin” played at the Avenue Theater in Vancouver for three days beginning Christmas Day. There are still four days that we don’t know where the company was and it is unlikely that they would travel the 750 miles between Vancouver and Edmonton with no stops between. However, I was able to find “Chin-Chin” at the Empire Theater in Edmonton starting New Year’s Day.
BY PRESS AGENTS
CHIN CHIN AT EMPIRE
There appears to be no doubt that Mr. Charles Dillingham’s stupendous production of “Chin Chin” with Walter Willis and Roy Binder in the lead, will duplicate its record of absolute capacity audiences at the Empire theatre where it will open a three-day engagement with a holiday matinee today.
Though the title of “Chin Chin” suggests a Chinese setting, it appears that the scenes are not laid anywhere near the Celestial Land.
There is no leading lady in this organization, although a number of beautiful women, principals and otherwise, song birds and actresses are in the cast, it appears that the who is to enjoy the place of honor as first favorite is left to the choice of the public.
Tom Brown of the Six Brown Brothers’ famous Saxaphone clown band, composed “That Moaning Saxophone Rag” which is one of the hits of the play.
It is estimated that 250,000 people all from points more than one hundred miles from New York have already seen “Chin Chin” while it was presented at the Globe theatre in New York, and not Mr. Dillingham is actually bringing this his only company in its entirety to the Empire theatre.
CLEVER FANTASY “CHIN CHIN” HAS MANY BIG SCENES
Musical Comedy at Empire
Do you remember when you were just a tiny chap, how you would read the “Thousand and One Nights,” or the wonderful adventures of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves,” and “Sinbad, the Sailor,” and all the rest of those fascinating characters, and how from out of them all emerged “Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp’* as the prime adventure of them all? And now Aladdin—a very modern Aladdin—very much in love with on American girl, appears in Charles Dillingham’s “Chin Chin,” which closes its engagement at the Empire theatre with matinee and evening performances today. In this musical concoction, everything comes Aladdin’s way upon wishing and rubbing the wonderful lamp, thereby causing many strange and wonderful situations.
Walter Wills and Roy Binder, as the two slaves of the lamp, keep the audience in constant laughter through seven scenes and the three acts that cover one hundred and fifty minutes of the most enjoyable fun.
Among the many features in this gigantic show are also the Teddy Bear Dance, Tom Brown’s Clown Saxophone Band, a real circus tent with an “honest-to-goodness” big white circus horse circling around the ring, while Mlle. Falloffski performs the most daring and screamingly funny bareback stunts.
Empire Theatre, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide 1913-1914 indicates there were three theatres in Edmonton in 1913. All three were managed by W. B. Sherman. Bert Russell was the Res. Manager at the three theaters also. The theaters were the 1700 customer Sherman Theatre, the 1200 customer Empire Theatre, and the 900 customer Lyceum Theatre. Of the three, the Empire had the smallest stage, only 27×27 and 25 feet front to the back wall.[i]
History of Theater
There were three different Empire Theatres in Edmonton.
The first Empire opened in 1906 at McDougal Avenue & Cristabelle Street (100th Street and 101st A Avenue. Three years later the building was abandoned and later demolished.
The second Empire was built as the Edmonton Opera House on 103rd Street north of Jasper and changed its name to The Empire about 1909. This was the theater that “Chin-Chin” played at in January 1920.
A third Empire was built in 1920 and opened in late December 1920.
Learn the final disposition of the (second) Empire Theatre
Endnotes & Sources
[i] The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide 1913-1914; Page 695
Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) Jan 1, 1920, Page 9 via Newspapers.com.
“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 learn of a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.
Three New Venues discovered.
Another great week of Donna in the News with three new venues discovered and an intriguing note about Donna having been in a train crash.
The Rock Island Argus (Rock Island, Illinois) newspaper dated 29 March 1924 shows that Donna Darling and company played in a song and dance revue at the Fort Armstrong theatre. In another article, from March 31st, the paper indicated that she missed her first show at the Fort Armstrong because of a train crash. I wonder how bad of a crash was it? The crash has the potential of making another great story. I’m looking forward to additional research.
Next, is an ad from the News Record (Neehah, WI) newspaper dated 5 December 1924. The ad shows that the California Motion Picture Bathing Beauties, featuring Donna Darling played at the Neehah theatre on December 8 & 9.
Finally, from the The Record (Hackensack, NJ) dated 23 February, I learned that Donna Darling and Company played at the Lyric Theatre in Hackensack, for three days beginning February 24th.