Donna – Rajah Theatre – Reading, PA – 24 Apr 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the Rajah Theatre in Reading, PA, on 24 April 1920 

Donna Montran
Chin Chin
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.We know that April, 1920, was a grueling month for the “Chin Chin” cast. On April 22nd they played Frederick, MD. On the 23rd they traveled the 65 miles north to Carlisle, played there one night then on the 80 miles to Reading for another two shows – a matinee and an evening show.

Preshow Advertising

The Reading Eagle – April 18, 1920, Page 16

The first advertising I found was in the Reading Eagle, starting on April 18th. There was a standard ad on page 16, along with a lengthy article about the show.[i]

RAJAH THEATRE

“CHIN CHIN”

Coming to the Rajah Theatre matinee and night, Saturday, April 24,  Charles Dillinghan’s “Chin Chin,” the musical comedy which is one of those tales of love and wishing common to the Arabian Nights.

The Reading Eagle – April 18, 1920, Page 16

All impossibilities are crowded into it, jumbled together like the figures in a dream in the end it resolves itself into a vehicle for the display of the clever grotesqueries of the two clever “turn” artists, Walter Wills and Roy Binder. Mr Wills, whose body seems made of rubber, and whose facial expressions change as quickly as the wheel of fortune gives Chin Hop It Paderewsky, Mlle Falloffski, a gendarme and a ventriloquist, transformations accompanied by such curious tricks and poses such tumbling, dancing, imitating such a running fire of jokes and fun-making that the audience fairly screams with laughter. Mr. Binder gives in rapid succession Chin Hop Lo, the widow, a coolie, and the ringmaster, lightning changes of mood, manner and get-up that provide the audience to mirth. George Usher makes an aggregable and picturesque Aladdin.

The danseuse is Irene McKay, and astonishing acrobatic and step performer whose twinkling feet are full of speed and syncopation. Her number with Mr. Willis entitled “Dance Poetic,” is a remarkable performance ending with a surprise to the audience.

The favorite songs are “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Good-bye Girls,” “I’m Through” “Volet,” “The Gray Dove,” and “Love Moon.” The most recalled dance and song numbers are the “Teddy Bear Dance,” (without words), “Go Gar Sing Gong-Jue,” “Temple Bells,” The Rag of Rags,” and “Bally Moony.”

The clever saxophone sextette by Tom Brown’s Clown Band is one of the most amusing and delightful bits of the play. The company is one of the largest organizations presenting a musical comedy on the road today. There girls and girls.

There were adds and articles daily in the Reading Eagle or the Reading Times from the 18th through the 23rd. I did not see any that called out Donna directly, but a couple mentioned “Love Moon” being sung, which was a song sung by the Goddess of the Lamp (Donna’s role).

Next Stop

It is likely that the “Chin Chin” cast had off on Sunday, April 26th. However, the show must go on and it played at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Rajah Theatre

The Rajah Theatre between 1917 and 1921
Photo courtesy “Go Reading Berks”

The Rajah Theatre was initially built in the 1800s as a market with a Masonic Temple on its upper floors. It was built on a potter’s field of a cemetery. Although the cemetery interred were supposed to be reinterred at another location, in the early 1800s there were still 30 uncovered during the building during 1873.[ii]  It was converted to a theatre in 1886 and became the Academy of Music.

The 1913 Theatrical Guide indicates that the Academy of Music had a seating capacity of 1,341 – 795 on the Main Floor, 341 in the Balcony, and 206 in the Gallery. Besides the Academy, there were four other theaters in Reading at the time, the Orpheum, Hippodrome, Lyric, and Palace Theatres.

In 1917, The Academy of Music was purchased by the Rajah Shriners, renamed the Rajah Theatre, and became the vaudeville house that “Chin Chin” played at.

Rahah Theatre after the 1921 fire. Photo Courtesy of George M. Meiser IS via Reading Eagle [iii]

In May 1921[iv] the Rajah burned and underwent substantial rebuilding. The theatre reopened on September 10, 1922.

The theater had two more fires, both in 1935, but recovered quickly from them.[v]

In 2000, the building received a $7 million facelift and became the Sovereign Performing Arts Center (named for Sovereign Bank). Today, it is the Santander Performing Arts Center (for the Santander Bank) and is home for the Reading Symphony Orchestra, the Reading Civic Opera Society, and hosts a variety of events.[vi]

Specifications for the Academy of Music (Rajah Theatre)[vii]

  • Proscenium opening: 35.5×32 ft
  • Front to back wall: 32 ft
  • Between side walls: 76 ft
  • Apron 2 ft
  • Between fly girders: 45 ft
  • To rigging loft: 55 ft
  • To fly gallery: 30 ft
  • 10 Dressing rooms

Today

Today, the Rajah Theatre is the Santander Performing Arts Center.

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Andrew J Hailey and the 1850 Census

Census Sunday
Roberts-Scott-Haley
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.Sometimes it takes a leap to find an ancestor in the census records. Such is the case for my third-great-grandfather, Andrew J. Hailey.

Finding Andrew in the 1850 Census has been a challenge. Some facts that I think I  know:

  • Andrew was born in Tennessee in 1836.
  • Andrew’s parents were born in Tennessee.[i]
  • Andrew married Martha Melinda Montgomery in Manchester, Coffee, Tennessee in 1857.[ii]
  • Andrew and Martha lived in Manchester, Coffee County, Tennessee in 1860.[iii]

The 1850 Census indicated one Haily family in Coffee County with children in the proper age group. It has two children, Charles & James, born in 1836 plus/minus a year. Neither seems to be a candidate for my Andrew.

However, in Bedford County, (next to Coffee County) there was a Madison Hailey family with a male in the household of the right age named “Anderson.” Also, both apparent parents were born in Tennessee as I would expect.[iv] Could this “Anderson” by my Andrew?

Anderson or Andrew?

A close look at the census image doesn’t either confirm or refute it. Indeed, what the enumerator wrote looks more like “Anderson” than “Andrew,” but it is so poorly written, it is difficult to tell, it could be “Andrew.”

The 1850 Census doesn’t provide relationships; however, the household looks like it might be a typical family unit with Madison and Anney Hailey as the apparent parents of six children.

Household                              Sex      Age      Birthplace

Madison L Hailey                    M         33        Tennessee

Anney Hailey                            F          35        Tennessee

Anderson J Hailey                  M        16        Tennessee

James C Hailey                         M         12        Tennessee

Elizabeth M Hailey                  F          10        Tennessee

Mary Ann Hailey                     F          8          Tennessee

Hester Ann Hailey                   F          7          Tennessee

John R Hailey                           M         3          Tennessee

If this “Anderson” is my Andrew, and my Andrew was living in Coffee County with his wife, I would expect I can’t find Anderson in any census. The 1840 Census doesn’t have names except for the head of the household. Going back to the 1860 Census, I have scoured the 1860 Census and have been unable to find an Anderson Hailey anywhere. So, I believe that either Anderson died or Anderson J. Hailey is Andrew J. Hailey.

I am going to take the leap and ascribe Anderson as Andrew and Madison and Anney as his parents in my records tentatively. I’ll be able to back it out at any time. In the meanwhile, I’ll continue searching for information to corroborate or refute this tentative association.

Continue reading “Andrew J Hailey and the 1850 Census”

Donna Darling Collection – Part 55

Majestic Theatre

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Collection. There were three images on this page. One an ad and two short articles all relating to playing at the Majestic Theatre, Dubuque, Iowa.

The advertising has a handwritten note which says, very faintly, “Dec 12 to 15 – Dubuque, Iowa.” This is consistent with a Newspaper Archive article I found previously, in the Dubuque Telegraph Herald dated 12 Dec 1926, Page 18[i].  The clipping  shows that the Majestic Theatre was part of the “Western Vaudeville Managers Association.” The ad also indicates that the show was “starting today for 4 days.”

The first article reads:

MAJESTIC

A well poised revue with originality in every detail down to the fantastic stage settings, is the headline stage attraction on the Majestic’s new bill which opened Sunday. The Donna Darling Revue, with a five-person cast including the irrepressible Sammy Clark, is one of the best review acts to visit Dubuque this season. It is a wholesome, if ludicrous combination of song, dance and laughter.

The second article reads:

DARLING AND CLARK AT MAJESTIC TODAY

Popular Comedian And Singer And Their Assistances To Present Song And Dance Revu.

Donna Darling and Sammy Clark, well known and popular wherever vaudeville is liked, head the bill opening at the Majestic today and continuing through the rest of the week. They are assisted by Barring and Lazur and Hal Dixon, and they will present a comedy, song and dance revu. Miss Darling formerly headed her own revu and for years was a singer in music comedy. She will provide the songs, some of the dancing and Clark will furnish the fun. He is widely known as a comedian and his work is said to rank with the best of them. Their assistants are singers and dancers. The act is well staged and comes highly recommended.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Majestic Theatre. The theater was part of the “Western Vaudeville Managers Association.”
  • The show is the “DONNA DARLING REVUE With Sammy Clark assisted by Hal Dixon and Company.
  • Also on the bill:
    • Jack Sparling and Herm Rose in “The Coming Champion”
    • The Geralds in Musical Gypsies” and Their Mandolino.
    • Spangles,” a 1926 Universal release starring Marion Nixon and Pat O’Malley.[ii]

Conclusion

December 12-15, 1926 – Dubuque, IA – Majestic Theatre – Donna Darling Revue – Newspaper Archive – DDC-55 Continue reading “Donna Darling Collection – Part 55”

ThruLines – William Henry Brown – Part 3

ThruLines Thursday
Brown
DNA

In this look at my ThruLinestm results, I’m looking closer at matches, who I have in common with my great-great-grandparents’, William Henry & Marion (Sanford) Brown’s son, Clyde Hewett Brown. Clyde was born in April 1877 in Michigan, he married Phoebe Jane Manning in 1898 and they had two children. He died sometime before 1903. Clyde was the brother of my great-grandfather, Arthur, and Phoebe was the sister of my great-grandmother, Mary. So, this is a case where two brothers married two sisters.

Clyde and Phoebe had two children. Estella May Brown and Henry L. Brown. Estella married Zachariah Ariah Barnett and they had six children. Three of those children have descendants that have tested with Ancestry and have connected themselves to an Ancestry Tree—Mildred, Hazel, and Phoebe.

Analysis

The trees of each of these individuals are consistent with I have from my own sources. As such, all three appear to be third cousins, one twice removed and two once removed.

Mildred Merie Barnett (1917-2003) – Identical to my records.
TW[i] is a 3rd cousin, once removed, who shares 37 cM on two segments. My records already had her, her parents, and her grandparents, from another source. Looking at TW’s tree I found nothing new, however, the shared DNA confirms the relationship.

Hazel Idella Barnett (1922-2001) – Identical to my records.
JH is a 3rd cousin, twice removed, who shares 29 cM on three segments. Additionally, I have JH’s grandfather’s information. I don’t know who JH’s father is, but I can add him as a Living Unknown to my tree and then JH as a DNA Match.

Phebe E Barnet (____-____) – Similar to my Phoebe Elizabeth Barnett (1933-2007)
LI is a 3rd cousin, once removed, with whom I share 56 cM on 4 segments. LI has the same name for her grandmother, but has no new information regarding Phoebe nor her descendants. There is no way to determine who which of the five children I know about for Phoebe, so I don’t know how this match connects exactly. I’ve messaged LI to ask about which of the children of Phoebe is LI’s mother.

Conclusion

Thanks to ThruLines, I’ve been able to add 2 new third cousins, which broadens my tree.

Afterword

If you are a descendant of Clifford Gerome Brown, please consider testing with Ancestry DNA; it is an excellent genealogical resource and can help you broaden your tree too. If you have tested with Ancestry, but haven’t linked yourself to an Ancestry tree, please do so. I’d love to learn how we are related.

All of my ThruLines posts are listed under the ThruLines Thursday category. Continue reading “ThruLines – William Henry Brown – Part 3”

J de Montran arrived in NY in January 1859

Montrans in the News

Montran Monday
By Don Taylor

This week I discovered an article in the New York Daily Herald from Friday, January 21, 1859.

ARRIVALS.

New York Daily Herald – 21 January 1859

From New Orleans and Havana, in the steamship Black Warrior—D Hubbard, wife, two children and servant; G Gueydon, J de Montran, Dr W A Davis, L Lavanburg, J W Retnecke, B S Wolf, H T Reinecke, Madame M Alanza and servant, A Oxosco, J P Bill, J Pusadas, F Casas, P Silva, S Sanson, J F M Acosta, Capt J Chase, Capt J S Dubel, wife and child, A Fraser, Jr, M Ferrera, A Nunez, J F Mesa, W Phillips, J Reynolds, Fr. W Gibbs; A Chase, Alex McDonald, sent by American Consul at Havana.

Comments:

J. de Montran arrived from Havana aboard the Black Warrier in January 1859. If “J de Montran” were 20 years of age, he would have been 53 years old when my grandmother was conceived. My great-grandmother (Ida Barber) was 18 years old at the time, so I don’t think this is my John Montran. However, it is worthwhile trying to track down what happened to J de Montran and see if he had any children.

Additional Research

Shipname – “Black Warrior” or “Black Wamer?”

I looked closely at the New York Passenger and Crew Lists from 1859 and found a record for the “Black Wamer” arriving on 20 January 1859 from Havana. My review of the document indicates that the ship name could be Black Warrior just as easily as Black Wamer, so I believe the transcription of the name in Ancestry.Com is incorrect regarding the ship’s name.  That said, it is very interesting that J de Montran does NOT show up in the list of passengers or crew. [1]

So, it appears that J de Montran may have intended to go to New York as was reported by the American Consul as going, but didn’t as he doesn’t appear in the Passenger/Crew list.

Source:

New York Daily Herald – NEW YORK, NEW YORK – Friday, January 21, 1859 via Newspapers.Com

Endnotes

[1] Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Ship: Black Wamer – Arrived 20 January 1859.