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 45

 

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
By Don Taylor

Lyceum Theater, Canton, Ohio

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at another news clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

Newspaper article from 1922 - Valerie Bergere Tops Program at Lyceum Theater
Valerie Bergere Tops Program at Lyceum Theater

…. Donna Darling the well known musical comedy star….

… Miss Donna Darling, the musical comedy star assisted by Murry Walker and Jack Finney will appear in a song and dance cocktail “As you Like It.” Miss Darling will wear in one number a costly gown on which there are more than 20,000 pearls. This is one of the most elaborate gowns ever worn on the American star. Each number of this lavish offering has its special sets and costume effects. A cloth of gold drop is used. The three sing some of the comedy numbers from the Floradora sextette and a number from the musical comedy “Sally,” do some dances to “Irene” music, and other musical comedy hits are introduced with special settings and costumes. The three are exceptionally good dancers as well as singers.

One of the features of the offering will be a burlesque of an Egyptian dance.

Miss Darling is well known to Cantonians as she played here as the prima donna of “Chin Chin” two seasons ago when this big musical comedy played at the Grand. [April 1, 1920 – Canton, OH – Grand Opera House]

Key features:

  • The venue is the Lyceum Theater.
  • The show is the “As You Like It” starring Donna Darling assisted by Murry Walker and Jack Finney.
  • Also on bill
    • Valerie Bergere was the top bill in a new Japanese comedy-drama, “O Joy San.”
    • Lew Hoffman displayed his skills with hats in “The Hattery.”
    • Miss Lillian Conroy & her brother John used a 5500-gallon water tank for an aquatic show.
    • Jean McCoy & Ralph Walton present “A Few Minutes with Ouija.”
    • Joe Rome & Lou Gaut show “When Extremes Meet” as dancers, singers & storytellers.

Analysis

I always love it when Donna writes the source information on the clipping page. In this case, she wrote “Mar 12 – Sun Repositor – Canton, Ohio.” This matched perfectly with a show I already knew about. On March 12-16 she played at the Lyceum Theater in Canton Ohio.

The article included some interesting tidbits. In particular, I had not previously known that her dress had “over 20,000 pearls.”  Wow, that must have been quite the dress.

Conclusion

Added a note about DDC to the previous entry:

March 12-16, 1922 – Canton, Ohio – Lyceum – Donna Darling – Genealogy Bank – DDC – Part 45.

 

Chin Chin – Weller Theatre – Zanesville, OH – April, 13 1920

“Chin Chin” played at the Weller Theatre in Zanesville, Ohio, on 13 April 1920

Donna Montran
Vaudeville
Chin-Chin

The company of “Chin Chin” played at the 6th Street Theater in Coshocton, Ohio for one night, April 12, 1920. Then the show headed on the train for their next stop, Zanesville, Ohio and the Weller Theater for another one-night show on April 13th.

The “Chin-Chin” show agent arrived in Zanesville about April 7th to begin his promotion of the show.  The Times Recorder of April 9th, reported:

“CHIN CHIN” BREAKING ALL ATTENDANCE RECORDS

Charles A. Goettler, the representative of “Chin Chin” the musical extravaganza, which will appear at the Weller theater, was the guest of Manager Charles Ransbottom Wednesday, and while in the city held an impromptu levee for his many friends at his hotel. He is well known among the theatrical colony having been out with some of the biggest shows on the road in years past. Mr. Goettler said that “Chin Chin” was breaking all attendance records in the prominent theaters of the country this season and was a greater success than when seen here before. Willis and Binder, former stars with “Hitchy Koo,” “Wizard of Oz,” ant the Winter Garden shows, have succeeded Doyle and Dixon in the leading roles.

Times Recorder 4/9/1920

Manager Charles Ransbottom, along with Joseph West Junior began managing the Weller Theatre just three months earlier (January 8).[i] They were then replaced on April 13th with the opening of “Chin Chin” by Caldwell H. Brown and Charles W. Crawley.[ii]

Another article, Saturday, April 10, 1920, in the Times Recorder, page 5, reported:

CHIN CHIN COMING TO THE WELLER TUESDAY

At the Weller theater next Tuesday, the everlasting “Chin Chin” is announced. There is but on company presenting this, the greatest American musical comedy.

Seven gorgeous settings make up one stupendous production of Charles Dillingham’s “Chin Chin.” The principal comedians are Walter Wills and Roy Binder. This riot of fun, feast of music, bevy of feminine beauty with pretty dresses, swift and grotesque dancing and lots of prankish amusement including Tom Brown’s clown band as the famous saxophone Sexted, promises a most enjoyable entertainment with Charles Dillingham’s own company presenting this wonderful spectacle.

In this musically rich show such numbers as violet,” “Good-by Girls, I’m Through,” and the comedy song, “Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue,” always receive spontaneous applause.

The next known showing of “Chin Chin” is on April 20 in Cumberland, Maryland.

Weller Theatre, Zanesville, Ohio

 The Weller Theatre was designed by Frederick Elliot and Harry C. Meyer of Columbus, Ohio. The theatre opened on 27 April 1903 by Samual Weller, with the production of the “comic opera” “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.” And as noted before, it was the first show opening when managed by Caldwell H. Brown and Charles W. Crawley.[iii]

Specifications for the Weller Theatre [vi]

Weller Theatre, Zanesville, OH

Seating Capacity – 1427 — L.F. 609; Bal., 362, Gal., 400; Boxes, 56.


Proscenium opening: 35×33 ft
Front to back wall: 39.5 ft
Between side walls: 70 ft
Apron 3.5 ft
Between fly girders: 47 ft
To rigging loft: 69 ft
To fly gallery: 28 ft

Nearby info

Hotels in Zanesville at the time included the Rogge and Clarendon, which were $2.50 & up per night, and the  Palace, and New England hotels which were 50ç & up per night.[iv]

What happened to theater

The theatre was closed[v] and the building demolished in 1963.[vi]

Today

The Weller Theatre stood at 13 N. Third Street. Today it is a vacant area with a small building between Fox Law Offices and the Calvary Chapel.

Further Research

Research the other Zanesville newspapers of the time: Courier, Signal, and News as they become available.

Find any showings for “Chin Chin” between April 14th and April 19th. 

Endnotes:


[i] New York Clipper – January 14, 1920, Page 4, Column 3m “Zanesville Manager Retires.”

[ii]  New York Clipper – April 21, 1920,  Page 31, “Weller Theatre Changes Again.”

[iii]  New York Clipper – April 21, 1920,  Page 31, “Weller Theatre Changes Again.”

[iv] The Julius Cahn – Gus Hill Theatrical Guide – 1913-1914, Page 533.

[v] Internet: Weller Theatre in Zanesville, OH – Cinema Treasures http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/41209 – Accessed 12/30/2018.

[vi] Lynch, Kathryn, and Michael S. Sims. 2005. Zanesville. Charleston, SC: Arcadia.


Donna Montran – 6th Street Theatre, Coshocton, OH – 4/12/1920

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.”

Reviews

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.

6th Street Theatre, Coshocton, Ohio in 1959.

Eventually, the theater converted to a movie house and it closed in May 1959. The building was demolished in 1974.

Sources

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.

“Chin Chin” at Liberty Theater, Camp Sherman, Ohio

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the Liberty Theatre, Camp Sherman, (Chillicothe), Ohio on 4 April 1920

Vaudeville/Chin-Chin
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Chin Chin” played at the Grand Opera House in Canton, Ohio on April 1st. It is not clear if they played anywhere on April 2nd or 3rd, but the cast and crew arrived to perform at the Liberty Theatre at Camp Sherman, (Chillicothe) Ohio on April 4th, 1920.

Show Advertising

Even though the show was on a military base, advertising was like most cities that the show went to. I have been unable to find base papers, handbills, or programs, so all I have seen came from the Chillicothe Gazette, the nearby town’s newspaper. There was a typical “Chin-Chin” advertisement showing Walter Wills and Roy Binder about five days before the show. Long thin column ads ran on April 1st and 2nd mentioning that the show sold out in many locations before and those that want to see the show should get their tickets right away.

On the day before the show, another “Chin-Chin” ad ran in the Chillicothe Gazette showing the “Pekin Girls.”

There were no reviews nor was there any after show information regarding the show.

Liberty Theater, Camp Sherman

Liberty Theater, Camp Sherman

In the spring of 1917, the loss of seven ships and related heavy loss of American lives spurred president Woodrow Wilson to request of Congress a declaration of war against Germany. The declaration was approved on 6 April 1917, and America entered the war.[i]

A massive construction program created by the War Department resulted in the simultaneous nation-wide construction of 16 new National Army cantonments and 16 new Army National Guard training camps.

Approximately 5,000 workers had arrived by 5 July 1917, and construction started the next day.[ii] During the war construction never ended. There were 13 contracts for building during the war and there was constant expansion until Armistice Day. Besides barracks, the Camp included 11 YMCA buildings and three theaters.  Two for motion pictures and one building, the Liberty Theatre, that could do both motion pictures and live shows.

The theater was completed by December 1917. Most sources I have found indicate it had a seating capacity of 1,300 people,[iii] however, the Julius Cahn – Gus Hill 1922 Supplement indicates the seating capacity was 2,500. All agree that it was managed by a civilian.

Most of the Camp’s buildings were demolished during the 1920s.

Camp Sherman

Image of Woodrow Wilson created by 21,000 officers and men. Camp Sherman 1918. Photo: Public Domain via Library of Congress.

Camp Sherman is particularly well known for a formation they did consisting of 21,000 troops that formed an image of Woodrow Wilson. It is one of those truly amazing Great War photos.

The next day, the “Chin Chin” cast and crew played 150 miles north of Chillicothe at the  Sandusky Theater in Sandusky, Ohio.

 


Endnotes

[i] Camp Sherman, Ohio: History of a World War I Training Camp by Susan I. Enscore, Adam D. Smith, and Megan W. Tooker – Published by US Army Corps of Engineers – ERDC/CERL TR-15-25 – December 2015. Page 24

[iii] History of the Ohio State University – Volume IV, The University in the Great War, Part III, In the Camps and at the Front by Wilbur H. Siebert.