Donna Darling Collection – Part 54

Donna at Rialto, Swiss Gardens, & American Theatres, plus three photos.

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.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.

Cropped.

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.

Discover you family history through historical newspapers at Newspapers.com

Actions

I updated Donna’s Career History with the following (new information in bold):

  • July 23 – 31 – Swiss Gardens, Cincinnati, OH See Illinois Digital Newspaper DDC-54
  • August 20, 1926 – Chicago, Illinois – American Theatre – DDC-54

I also put the three photos into my “unknown subjects” folder.

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)