Donna Darling Collection – Part 48

Two Venues & Two Photos of Russell

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at image DSCN1422 from the Donna Darling Collection. The image consists of four items. Two are articles and two photographs.

Two articles

1.  Keeney’s Livingston, Brooklyn, N. Y.

(Reviewed Thursday Evening, April 8)

From the Donna Darling Collection

… Donna Darling Company., four shapely, pretty misses, in songs and dances in full stage with special drapes, brings the show to a bang-up close. The act opens with three girls dancing, followed by Miss Darling in a song, then a gypsy dance by one of the girls, followed by a toe dance by another of them, and then two of them in a wooden shoe Dutch characterization dance, Miss Darling returning for a Hawaiian dance. A trio then puts over a song after which much applause and a brief announcement preceding a change of costume, Miss Darling presents what she calls Lightening Up the Charleston, done by all four members of the act Garbed in Luminous Costumes that glow when the lights are out. It’s a tricky bit.

JACK F. MURRAY.

April 8th was a Thursday in 1926, so the date is definite. The location and the theater are also given. Hopefully, future research will provide answers for the duration.

I added a new venue added to Donna’s Career: April 8 – Keeney’s Livingston Theater, Brooklyn, NY – Donna Darling Revue.

2.  Darling Revue Has Top Place on State Bill

Donna Darling Collection

Perhaps it is because this happens to be the season of Lent. Anyway, the vaudeville programs at the State Theater these days are very good and increasing size of audiences at the matinee and evening performances is proof of this assertation.

The Bill this week is no exception. Lead the fine array of talent is the act in which the Darling Revue strive to keep patrons interested. That they succeed was demonstrated in the liberal applause they received yesterday afternoon. Their specialty is singing and dancing. The numbers containing much that is original and enjoyable. The dances include the clog, toe and gypsy steps and the songs are of a varied nature….

I note that the other acts on the bill include the “Metropolitan Trio,” “Love and King,” “Chick & Dog,” and “William & Perry.” “Queen O’ Diamonds” with Evelyn Brent is the feature picture.

“Queen O’ Diamonds” was released on 24 January 1926, which places the show in 1926.[i] Lent runs from Ash Wednesday to Easter. In 1926 this was from February 17th to April 4th. Easter was on April 4, 1926.

I haven’t previously found a date for Donna to have been at a State Theater during Lent of 1926.[ii]

New Venue Added:  Between 17 Feb 1926 and 4 April 1926 – Unknown Location – State Theater – Darling Revue – DDC-48.

Two Photographs

Interestingly the two articles from this page of the Donna Darling Collection were from 1926; however, neither of the photographs are. Both photos are clearly of Donna’s son, Russell. Russell was born in August 1927. In both cases, he appears to be about three years old, so I estimate the photos to be ca. 1930.

Russell with two unknown boys during the summer (ca. 1930?)
Russell in a child’s Indian headdress. (ca. 1930?)

Sources

[i] IMDB Queen o’ Diamonds (1926) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0017301/

[ii] Internet: The Life of Madonna Montran http://dontaylorgenealogy.com/donna-montran/

 

Donna in the News — 5 New Venues!

“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.

This week, from Newspapers.com, I learned of five new venues for Donna.

From the Brooklyn Times Union (Brooklyn, NY) dated 25 January 1921, I learned that Donna Montran and her “California Bathing Beauties” were booked into the Keeney Theatre.  The dates and length of the booking is unclear but I now know she was there in late January 1921.

The York Daily Record (York, PA) dated 4 April 1922, indicates that Donna Darling played at the York Opera House.  The dates suggested are April 3rd, 4th, and 5th.  Those dates are in conflict with other items I’ve found indicating that on April 3rd, 4th, and 5th Donna played in Johnstown, PA.  Further investigation is needed on this topic.

From the Morning Call (Paterson, NJ)) dated 4 December 1922, I learned that Dona [sic] Darling and Boys played the Majestic Theatre on the 4th, 5th, and 6th, of December 1922.

Of particular interest, the Winona (MN) Daily News indicated that “Donna Darling and Earle” played at the Strand Theatre on May 12th and 13th 1923.  This booking fits into a large gap I’ve had in her work.

Back to the Brooklyn (NY) Times Union, this time dated 5 May 1928. In that issue, I learned that Donna Darling and Somory [sic] Clark played at the Majestic Theatre in Brooklyn.  Again, it is unclear what the exact dates were, but I know it was in May 1928.

Additions to Donna’s Career History

  1. Jan 25-?, 1921 – Brooklyn, New York – Keeney Theatre – Donna Montran and her “California Bathing Beauties.”
  2. April 3-5, 1922 – York, PA – York Opera House – Donna Darling & Boys – Conflict.
  3. December 3-5, 1922 – Paterson, NJ – Majestic Theatre – Donna and Boys.
  4. May 12-13, 1923 – Winona, Minnesota – Strand Theatre – “Donna Darling and Earle.”
  5. May 5, 1928 – Brooklyn, New York – Majestic Theatre – Donna Darling and Sammy Clark.

I will further research these performances and theatres in future postings. I currently have 110 performance events to still write about and research.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 43

Treasure Chest Thursday
Bathing Girl Review
Donna Darling

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection of what appears to be about her playing at the “Indiana Theatre.”

“The Gayety Girl” starring Mary Philbin was released 31 July 1924.[i]

Presenting her “Bathing Beauty Review” sometime in September or October 1924 in Indiana is certainly possible. She played in Illinois in July and August of 1924. Most silent films only played for a couple of months after release, so I suspect it was between July and October she was at the “Indiana.”

Cinema Treasures indicated there were 19 theatre’s name “Indiana Theatre.”[ii]  They are:

Town (County)                      Date Opened

  1. Chicago, IL                         About 1910
  2. Scottsburg                           1930
  3. Gary                                       1938
  4. Marian (Grant Co.)         Circa 1922
  5. East Chicago                      Feb 1925
  6. South Bend                         Aug 1925
  7. Indianapolis                      1927
  8. Indiana, PA                       Jul 1924
  9. Terre Haute (Vigo Co.) 1922
  10. Indianapolis                      1927
  11. Kokomo (Howard Co.) 1920
  12. New Albany (Floyd)      1919
  13. Bloomington (Monroe Co.) 1911
  14. Martinsville Was “Switow’s Dream Theatre” from 1914 until 1917.
  15. Richmond Was “Murray Theater” from 1909 until 1930.
  16. Bedford Was “Stone City Opera House” from 1901 until 1924.
  17. Indianapolis (Marion Co.) Was “Gayety Theater in 1907. Period it was Indiana Theater unknown.
  18. Fort Wayne                          1930
  19. Fort Wayne Was “Broadway Theatre” from 1923 until 1934.

Theatres that are possible are bolded.

So, the most likely “Indiana Theatres” were in Marian, Terre Haute, Kokomo, New Albany, and Bloomington. Bedford, Indianapolis, Chicago (IL), and Indiana (PA) are also possible but not quite as likely.

Key features:

  • The venue is probably the Indiana Theater, location unknown, After July 1924.
  • The show is the “Bathing Beauty Revue” starring Donna Darling.
  • Also on bill
    • Mary Philbin in “The Gayety Girl”

Analysis

A lengthy search of Newspapers.Com, Newspaper Archives, Genealogy Bank, Chronicling America, and the Hoosier State Chronicles failed to yield any new information about the probable show location or date. Additionally, I didn’t see any advertisements for an “Indiana” theatre that used a similar font and design as the Donna Darling Collection clipping.

Because newspapers from 1924 will fall out of copyright next year, and because so many publications are being added to the various newspaper services every year, I’ve decided to put this on hold and will return to it in the future.

Actions

  • Follow-up in 2020.


Sources

[i] IMDB: The Gaiety Girl (1924) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0014930/
[ii] Internet: Cinema Treasures. Search for Indiana Theatre – http://cinematreasures.org/theaters?q=Indiana%20Theatre&status=all

Donna Darling Collection – Part 30

Cosmos Theatre
Crescent Theatre
Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

I have long known that Donna played at the Cosmos Theater in Washington D.C. a couple times. First, she did the “California Bathing Girls” show on September 19-21, 1920. She then returned to the Cosmos in March 1921. The clippings that she had were from the September show as evidenced by the other acts on the playbill. The second clipping for the Crescent Theatre in Perth Amboy is confusing and proves I got something wrong in a previous posting.

Cosmos—“California Bathing Girls”

Cosmos–“California Bathing Girls”

“The California Bathing Girls,” Tom Rooney’s Broadway sensation, the headline attraction at the Cosmos theater this week, foretells an early spring, if weight and daintiness of costumes and the unfolding of feminine buds be an indication. Donna Montran, an attractive singer, introduces the bathers one by one, and Anna La Toy executes some difficult and attractive poses….”

The Crescent—“As You Like It”

Crescent Theatre – 11 May 1922 – Donna Darling & Company

The clipping is from the Perth Amboy Evening News dated May 11, 1922, and shows Donna Darling & Company in “As You Like It” with Murray Walker and Jack Finney in a Song and dance cocktail. There wouldn’t be any question about the show and the date except I had previously determined that Donna and Company played B.F. Keith’s Greenpoint Theater the week of 11-17 May 1922 (See Donna Darling at B.F. Keith’s Greenpoint.) So, now I am confused. I’ll need to do a lot more research on her playing at both theaters to be sure of the dates.

What I learned:

Consequent to the above, I have updated the Donna Montran Timeline to include the following:

May 11, 1922 – Perth Amboy – Donna Darling & Company in “As You Like It” (Possible conflict with B. F. Keith’s Greenpoint)

 

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