Donna Darling Collection – Part 61

Rivoli Theater

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that talk about the Rivoli Theater.

The first item is a newspaper clipping from the Rivoli Theatre where F. L. Koppelberger was manager. It says Donna played there January 7, 8, 9, &10 January 1925. Previous research found that Donna played at the Rivoli theater in La Cross, Wisconsin on those dates. So that is a clear add-in clipping for.

January 7-10, 1925 – La Cross, Wisconsin – Rivoli – California Bathing Beauties Revue.

This is a particularly interesting clipping. It shows the two-dozen vignettes that comprised of Donna’s 1925 Bathing Beauty Show.

  • Clarice Allyn
  • Betty Bryant
  • Katheryn Carlson
  • Donna Darling
  • Murry Earl
  • FNU Flaherty
  • Alice Louise
  • Mildred O’Brien
  • Al Ross

Donna was “Miss Prolog” and “Miss 1860.” She starred in “The Globe Trotter,” “Donna” (herself), “You Bet Your Life,” “The Jazzbo Bathers,” and in the closing review.

Other shows on the bill included “Douglas MacLean in “Never Say Die” and Larry Semon giving the news and in “Trouble Brewing.” That will help confirm the other clippings. In 1925, two years before the first “talkies” theaters often provided a news segment that was narrated by a local individual. In this case, Larry Semon was the narrator. His name on other advertising shows which Rivoli theater would be correct. Other clippings show that his Rivoli theater had unique rivets in the theater logo.

The ads use different names for two of the cast – Miss Katheryn Kolleen and Miss Myrtle Carlson are identified as members of the show.

Also, the clippings include two advertisements from the Rivoli. One shows a woman diving, but the other shows a woman sitting in a shell. I’ve not seen that image before in Donna’s advertising.

Actions

There is another set of “Rivoli” Theatre clipping that appears to relate to Donna and Sammy playing at the Rivoli in Portland, Oregon.  I’ll look at those closer next time.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 60 – Parkway Theatre

Donna Montran – Vaudeville
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at eight images all relating to the Parkway Theatre. None of the clippings indicate what city the show is taking place in and none of the clippings provide a date. Donna’s 1924-1925 show went by many different names, Hollywood Bathing Beauties,” “California Bathing Beauties Revue,” and “Bathing Beauties Revue featuring Donna Darling. A film mentioned, “The Painted Flapper,” was released in October 1924, so Donna’s show most likely within the three months after the film’s release.

From other research, I knew that Donna played at the Parkway Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin from January 11 to the 15th. Could this be the Parkway Theatre of Donna’s Scrapbook?

A quick review said, yes, these clippings came from that show. Many of the clippings were identical to articles I found online so, I feel comfortable these clipping for the Parkway are from Donna’s Madison Show.

PARKWAY

Clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.
Clipping from newspapers.com

THE CALIFORNIA BATHING BEAUTIES REVUE

Direct from the Studios at Hollywood
In Person
featuring

DONNA DARLING
Creator of principal role in “Chin Chin” star of “Girl Behind the Gun;” winner of Madison Square beauty contest.
MR. MURRY EARLE Late feature dancer for George White Scandals
ALL ROSS & ALICE LOUISE Dances and Comedians
MISS BETTY BRYANT – Know for her comedy team work.
MISS MILDRED O’BRIEN – In Mack Sennett Comedies
MISS CLARICE ALLYN – Toe Dancer
MISS KATHERYN KOLLEEN – Dancer
MISS MYRTLE CARLSON – Dancer


PARKWAY
Same info as the previous ad, plus additional info about the accompanying motion picture, “The Painted Flapper: An Ultra Modern Jazzology” starring James Kirkwood and Pauline Garon.

(Note: Donna cut off the ads for coming attractions. )


Parkway

Clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

The much heralded Bathing Girl Revue headed by Miss Donna Darling and her motion picture studio girls made it bow to Parkway Patrons yesterday and won applause. Their offering is fast, clean and colorful and thoroughly devoid of anything that smacks of the sensational often associated with the miniature revues.

Identical article in the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) · 12 Jan 1925, Page 7.

The plot, though not a new one, is unique in development. In a short half hour one is whipped through a mirage of singing and dancing numbers following in quick succession, telling a history of the bathing suit from Grandmother’s day down to the present time, with a side trip around the world including stop offs at various beach resorts. The costumes are elaborate, the setting pleasing and the lighting effects unusual.

Of the cast Miss Darling stand out by right of her personality, beauty and grace. She was ably assisted by Murry Earl, a dancer of accomplishment. Miss Betty Bryant, for her demon dancing in the Mars episode and dainty Clarice Allyn’s Chinese bathing girl number deserve special mention.


BATHING BEAUTIES OF MOVIES IN REVUE AT PARKWAY

Bathing girls from various California motion picture studios will make a personal appearance in a colorful Hollywood Revue at the Parkway this week, beginning today. This review is a clever musical and dancing number which will show the Parkway patrons that these versatile girls can do other things than merely pose before the camera.

Miss Donna Darling, who comes direct from the Mack Sennett studios, is the charming star who introduces the Bathing Beauties dressed in bathing costumes dating from 1860 to the present day. Betty Bryant is the “Miss America of 1925.” Bathing costumes of various countries and fashionable sea-shore centers are introduced. Chief among these numbers is Mildred O’Brian, who appear as the beauty from Palm Beach. Miss Darling’s life guards, Murry Earl and Al Ross, add comedy to the Egyptian dance while petite Clarice Allyn as the Chinese bathing girl enhances the offering with clever toe dancing.

Elaborate costumes have been selected for this sparkling revue. The music is snappy and the production has brilliant scenic and lighting effects.


There was a large ad that ran across two pages in Donna’s scrapbook. It shows Donna on the left and two of the other girls. I have not identified either of them yet. I suspect one of them is probably Betty Bryant, but the other could be Mildred O’Brian or Clarice Allyn or even one of the other two girls. I’ll need to research that further.

Conclusion

The Donna Darling Collection provided new information about her show at the Parkway Theatre, Madison Wisconsin on January 11 to the 15th, 1925.

Follow-up Actions

I’ll need to search for photos of the other individuals of the show that are in the advertising.

Sources

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · 12 Jan 1925 · Page 7.

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · 14 Jan 1925 · Page 15.

Donna in the News – Special Act on Thanksgiving

25 November 1925

Vaudeville – Jewel Review

 “Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly discovered newspaper 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’s article is from page 4 of the Kenosha News (Kenosha, WI), dated 25 November 1925.

VAUDEVILLE ON THANKSGIVING.
——-
Special Act to Accompany Feature Picture, “The Pony Express.”

A special vaudeville act will be given on Thanksgiving Day at the Orpheum theater in conjunction with the feature picture, “The Pony Express.” The act will be Donna Darling and girls in “Her Little Jewel Revue.” There will be singing, dancing and special scenery.

The picture which starts Thursday for the rest of the week has one scene on the mammoth location set near Cheyenne, Wyoming, that was directed by Vice-President Charles G. Dawes. The vice-president extended the range of his versatility when he assumed the role of motion picture director. Aided by an occasional word from James Cruse, the producer, and Betty Compson, who has the featured feminine role in this epic production, the general appeared to enjoy the experience, shouting “Camera” like a veteran.

Thanks to this new posting at Newspapers.com, I learned that on Nov 26, 1925, in Kenosha, Wisconsin at the Orpheum Theater, Donna Darling and girls presented the “Little Jewel Revue.” I was able to add another venue for Donna’s “Little Jewel Revue” tour.

Donna & “Chin Chin” – La Crosse Theatre (La Crosse, WI) – 10 February 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played the La Crosse Theatre in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Wisconsin, on 10 February 1920

 Vaudeville
Chin Chin

Thanks to my “Donna in the News” alert last January, I learned then that Donna, and the cast of “Chin Chin,” played the La Crosse Theater in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on February 10, 1920. Now, I’ve finally had a chance to further look at that theater and show. Besides those original articles from the 4th, 5th, and 8th, I was able to find additional articles from the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.

“Chin Chin” Schedule –

Feb 1-7, 1920 – Minneapolis, MN – Metropolitan Opera House
Feb 8-9, 1920 – Unknown (possible break?)
Feb 10, 1920 – La Crosse, WI – La Crosse Theatre
Feb 11, 1920 – Chippewa Falls, WI – Rex Theatre
Feb 12, 1920 – Eau Claire, WI – Grand Theatre

Advertising

For a one-night show, the advertising for “Chin Chin” was spectacular. Every day there was something in the newspaper from eight days before the show until the day after the show. Promotion for the show began with a notice on February 3rd, that an Eau Claire boy was one of the show leads.  Along with it was a standard “To the General Public” notice from the theater’s manager, F. L. Koppelberger.[i]

Eau Claire Boy in “Chin Chin”

Include ad The music of Ivan Caryll, which serves to illustrate the story of “Chin Chin,” which comes to the La Crosse theater on February 10th, and in which Walter Wills and Roy Binder, an Eau Claire boy, demonstrate their wonderful powers of drollery and skill in dancing. Ethyl Lawrence, as “Violet Bond” the American girls, is a charming little actress, and always succeeds in winning the good graces of the audience. Her rendition of the duet, “Love Moon,” with the aid of George Usher as “Aladdin,” is one of the particular bright spots of the show.

The following day, a photo of the “Pekin Girls” graced the paper[ii] along with a short article and the same announcement from the manager as on the day before.

The remaining advertisements are pretty standard.

Reviews

Rarely is there a review for a show that has played and moved on to another city. However, the La Cross Tribune ran a modest review the day after the show. Although they didn’t mention Donna, they did mention that “those singing the leading parts last night had pleasing voices and encores were numerous.”[iii]

Theater

The La Crosse Theatre opened in 1900,[iv] but its history goes back to the 1860s when there was an opera house at the location. The Sanborn Fire Maps indicate it was an Opera House in 1891, but it appears to have had a very different footprint than the theater had in the 1920s. The early 1900s form for the theater was short lived. The theater was closed in 1927 and a new building, the Hoeschler Building was opened in 1930.

The James Cahn Theater Guide 1922 supplement indicated that the La Crosse theater had a seating capacity of 1,100 all on the ground floor. The stage was 68 feet wide, 36 feet deep, and 32 feet high.

La Crosse Theater – La Cross, WI.
Photo via Cinema Treasures uploaded by Ken Roe.


ENDNOTES

[i] The La Crosse Tribune · Tue, Feb 3, 1920 · Page 4 – Via Newspapers.com.[ii] The La Crosse Tribune · Wed, Feb 4, 1920 · Page 10 – Via Newspapers.com
[iii] The La Crosse Tribune · Wed, Feb 11, 1920 · Page 5
[iv] Cinema Treasures, La Crosse Theatre, La Crosse, WIS http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/57410

Donna in the News – “Chin Chin” plays the La Crosse Theatre, Feb. 10, 1920

This week from the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) newspapers dated February 4th through the 10th, 1920.

I’ve long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played at the Metropolitan Opera House in Minneapolis from February 1st through the 7th, and played in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on February 11th.   However, it would be unlikely that the should would go three days without a show. Thanks to Newspapers.Com[i], I learned this week that “Chin Chin” also played at the La Crosse Theatre, in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 10th.

The troupe’s February itinerary began:

I’m still wondering if “Chin Chin” played somewhere on the 9th. Probably.  Time will tell.


“Donna in the News” is my report of newly discovered 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 of my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.


Endnotes

[i] The La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) dated 4 February 1920, Page 4, Column 5, et al. Accessed via Newspapers.Com on 10 Jan 2019.