Donna One Hundred Years Ago – January 12th to 15th, 1921.

“Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties in a Beach Promenade” played at the Majestic Theatre in Paterson, NJ, one hundred years ago this week.

I haven’t discovered where Donna was playing from January 1st through January 11th. However, on January 12th she played at the Majestic Theatre in Paterson, NJ. From The News (Paterson, NJ) 13 January 1921:

MAJESTIC

The News (Paterson, NJ) 13 Jan 1921, Pg. 9

Perhaps there has not been a prettier act staged at the Majestic theater than that of “The Bathing Beauties,” which held forth there yesterday. Perhaps there has not been an act with such a pronounced wealth of color. For “The Bathing Beauties,” ten pretty girls from the sunny climate of California were ushered in with a gorgeous setting that was accentuated by their own charming selves. The richness of the investiture and the more accentuated comeliness of the artists made possible an offering that is practically invincible in the world of variety. Donna Montran leads the procession of beautiful girls that appear in the act and the scene presented in that of a beach where there is all the sunshine and azure blue of the California skies. The attraction will certainly do justice to the feature position of the bill for it cannot be surpassed in point of color and scintillancy. The Bathing Beauties scored a very big success with yesterday’s audience and will assuredly retain that popularity throughout the balance of the week.

Likewise, the Morning Call also had a great article about the Bathing Beauties in their newspaper.

MAJESTIC

“The Bathing Beauties.”

The News (Paterson, NJ) 13 Jan 1921, Page 9

Ten pretty California girls, bringing with them all the beauty and charm of that lovely Western country, will grace the feature position of the current bill at the Majestic theatre in “The Bathing Beauties,” said to be vaudeville’s daintiest act. These comely artists, surrounded by a veritable shower of scenes and electrical effects, making possible one of the most scintillating color schemes ever adopted for a vaudeville act, will offer a production of the most unique type for Paterson playgoers. “The Bathing Beauties” cannot be surpassed in point of pulchritude. And when this beauty is enhanced by an attractive beach setting, marked out in all the rich color and effect of which stagecraft is capable then there is no alternative for playgoers but to be charmed by this most brilliant of variety specialties. “The Bathing Beauties” is one of the most expensive productions ever brought here, but Manager Walsh is not sparing expense when the interest of the patrons is concerned. The act will be a big favorite here.

The Morning Call – 14 Jan 1921

The display ads and the text provide information regarding other acts on the bill.

These include:

  • Sailor Lonra “On the Flexible Pole.”
  • Manning & Lee “After the Matinee.”
  • Jones & Johnson “Darktown’s Brightest Entertainers.” (A blackface routine)
  • Milani Fullardo Four – Comedy, Singing and Music.

As the “Bathing Beauties” were finishing the week, The Morning Call had one more article.

The Morning Call (Paterson, NY) 13 Jan 1921, Page 11

MAJESTIC

“Bathing Beauties.”

“The Bathing Beauties” are the predominant attraction at the Majestic theatre the last part of this week and are scoring a big success. A wealth of color and charm attends the production of this pretty specialty and the audiences have been quick to appreciate the calibre of the act. No other attraction of the present season has achieved as much popularity as this engaging combination of action and pulchritude. “The Bathing Beauties,” led by Donn Montran, have proved one of the best numbers staged here in many weeks.

Majestic Theatre – Paterson, New Jersey

Photo Credit: Paterson History – The Rich History of the City of Paterson, NJ – Photos – Theaters.

This appearance is Donna’s first know showing at The Majestic Theatre in Paterson; however, she played there again in December 1922.

The Majestic Theater opened on 28 November 1910 and was demolished in the 1970s.[i]

In 1921 The Majestic had a seating capacity of 1,200 and showed both vaudeville and pictures. It was part of the Keith Vaudeville Circuit. The stage was 40’ wide, 28’ deep, and 60’ high.[ii]

Besides the Call and the News, there were four other papers. “Chronicle,” “Press,” “Passaic News,” and “Herald.”


Endnotes

[i] “Majestic Theater In Paterson, NJ – Cinema Treasures”. 2020. Cinematreasures.Org. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/7969.

[ii] The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical guide and moving v.20 1921 Page 256, New Jersey – Paterson – Majestic Theatre. Hathi Trust – https://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924063709764?urlappend=%3Bseq=300

Chin Chin – Lyceum Theatre – Paterson, NJ – May 7th & 8th 1920.

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Lyceum Theatre in Paterson, New Jersey on 7 & 8 May 1920.

Donna Montran
Chin Chin
Vaudeville

“Chin Chin” played in Wilkes-Barre, PA on May 4th.  I haven’t determined where the show was on May 5th or 6th. However, by the 7th, it had progressed the 110 miles east to Patterson.

Preshow Advertising

Advertising for the show began with a May 1st article:[i]

“Chin Chin” to Come to Lyceum

Manager Guggenheim of the Lyceum Theatre, Patterson, has secured Charles Dillingham’s only company presenting that wonderful spectacle of “Chin Chin”, scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 7 and 8, with a matinee Saturday. This riot of fun, feast of music and bevy of feminine beauty appeared at the Globe theatre in New York for two solid years and is heralded as the greatest musical comedy success emanating from the gay white way. In the leading comedy roles are Walter Wills and Roy Binder.

In this musically rich show spontaneous approval is always accorded such melodious turns as “Good-Bye Girls, I’m Through”, “Love Moon”, The Grey Moon”, “Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue”. The comedy song, and “The Ragging of the Rag of Rags”.-adv.

Show Advertising

The Morning Call – Sat, May 8, 1920

Advertising continued daily through the last ad in both the Patterson and the Passaic newspapers. The show played on May 7th and the May 8th issue of The Morning Call (Patterson, NY) had a call-out which mentioned Donna. It said, in part,

Interwoven into this sparkling comedy of melody is a fairy-tale romance, bringing into play Aladdin and his lamp. Donna Montran, impersonating Violet, meets Aladdin (Star Dunham) at a toy bazar. You all know the story of the mysterious lamp. Suffice it to say that whoever secures the lamp may have any wish granted as it is wished. Aladdin wished for Violet. He got her. Not until the lamp had brought many complications, however.

Post Show Info

I’m not sure where the show went from there, but five days later it had worked its way 175 miles north to Bennington, Vermont.

Lyceum Theatre – Patterson, NJ

The theater was located at 125 Van Houten St., next door to the local fire station, and had a seating capacity of 1,950.

Specifications for the Lyceum Theatre[ii]

The Lyceum is on the right beyond the fire station.

Front to back wall: 45 ft
Between side walls: 80 ft
Between fly girders: 10 ft
To rigging loft: 52 ft

Newspapers —”Chronicle,” “Call,” “News,” “Press,” “Passaic News,” “Herald.”  I haven’t found the “Chronicle” or the “Press” issues.

What Happened to the Theater

On March 22, 1931, the Paterson Lyceum theater burned to the ground.[iii]

Today

Today, the location the Paterson Lyceum theater occupied is a parking ramp.

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Endnotes

[i] Passaic Daily Herald (Passaic, New Jersey) · Sat, May 1, 1920, · Page 4, Column 1.jpg

[ii] The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide And Moving Picture Directory. New York, N.Y.: Julius Cahn-Gus Hill, 1921. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/coo.31924063709764?urlappend=%3Bseq=300 accessed 12 March 2020.

[iii] “PATERSON FIRE JOURNAL & NORTH JERSEY FIRE HISTORY”. Patersonfirejournal.Blogspot.Com. Accessed March 12, 2020. http://patersonfirejournal.blogspot.com/2015/.

Donna in the News – Passaic & Patterson, New Jersey.

“Chin Chin”

This week Newspapers.Com released two more newspapers that were of interest to my Donna Montran Vaudeville Career work. First, the Passaic Daily Herald had several articles and ads for “Chin Chin” playing at the Lyceum Theatre in Paterson, New Jersey on May 7th and 8th, 1920.  Besides the Herald, the News (Paterson, NY) also had advertising and articles regarding that show.  This was all new information to me about the venues that “Chin Chin” played at during Donna’s being with the cast.

Bathing Beauties

Additionally, the News (Paterson, NY) had a small ad showing that Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties played at the Majestic Theater.  The date isn’t 100% clear, but it appears that it was January 13, 14, & 15, 1921, that her Beach Promenade played.

The News (Paterson, New Jersey) · Fri, Jan 14, 1921 · Page 21

Both of these are new dates and venues to be added to my list of Donna’s career performances.

  • May 7 & 8, 1920 – Paterson, NY – Lyceum Theater – “Chin Chin”
  • Jan 13-15, 1921 – Paterson, New Jersey – Majestic Theatre — Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties.

“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.

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