Donna at Rialto, Swiss Gardens, & American Theatres, plus three photos.
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at image DSCN1468 from the Donna Darling Collection. This image includes 5 objects; two newspaper clippings and three photographs.
The Two Clippings
The first clipping shows “Donna Darling & Co with Sammy Clark in a Singing and Dancing Revue in Five Scenes” as an added feature to the Rialto Theatre in Racine, Wisconsin, show on Sunday. With them are four other vaudeville shows.
Boyd Senter “Jazzologist Supreme”
Denyle Don & Everett “Up for Air”
Bennett & Lee “Vaudeville Etiquette”
Dallas Trio “A Comedy Novelty”
This clipping is the identical advertisement I had seen previously in the Journal Times, Racine, Wisconsin, 31 July 1926, Page 11. (Thanks to Newspapers.Com.)
The second clipping is a very short one that says:
DONNA DARLING and SAMMY CLARK are enjoying a long run at the Swiss Gardens, Cincinnati, O., with their vaudeville revue. They will remain there until July 31 and then open in Chicago at the American on Aug. 20.
My previous research indicated that Donna and Sammy played at the Swiss Gardens July 23rd thru July 31st. However, I did not know they played at the American Theatre in Chicago August 20th. Thanks to this clipping I was able to add the location of the Swiss Gardens Theatre as being Cincinnati, Ohio and was able to add a new venue, The American Theatre in Chicago on August 20.
The three photos.
The first is a photo of Russell standing between two men, who are certainly brothers and are probably twin brothers. Russell was born in August 1927, so this photo appears to be from 1928 or 1929. I vaguely recall seeing them before, but I wasn’t able to find them in a quick search. I’ll keep a sharp eye out for twins in my other activities.
The second photo is of an unknown couple in swimming suits standing at a beach. Again, I do not know who they are, so I’ll keep an eye out for them in my future work.
Finally, is a badly damaged photo of a woman sitting next to the stairs leading to the porch of a house. She is wearing something of a sailor blouse and the house next door appears to have a “beach” porch. Again, I’ll add her to my unknown photos.
I updated Donna’s Career History with the following (new information in bold):
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.
1. Keeney’s Livingston, Brooklyn, N. Y.
(Reviewed Thursday Evening, April 8)
… 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
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.
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.
“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
Jan 25-?, 1921 – Brooklyn, New York – Keeney Theatre – Donna Montran and her “California Bathing Beauties.”
April 3-5, 1922 – York, PA – York Opera House – Donna Darling & Boys – Conflict.
December 3-5, 1922 – Paterson, NJ – Majestic Theatre – Donna and Boys.
May 12-13, 1923 – Winona, Minnesota – Strand Theatre – “Donna Darling and Earle.”
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.