Donna Darling Collection – Part 77

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at two pages from the Donna Darling Collection[i]. On the pages were eight photos that I’ll look at and hopefully identify during this article.

Donald Larson from the summer when he turned one. The person cut out was probably Donna (Montran) Kees. I used the surname of “Larson” from when I was born until about 12 years old.

The first photo is an easy one. It is me, from the summer when I was turning one. Sadly, the person with me was cut out. It was probably my grandmother Donna. My stepfather cut Donna out of many photos. In 1951, I had the surname of “Larson” as my mother had married a Larson, and using the same surname as a stepfather was common in those days as it made things easier.

Russell Kees, Age 1

Russell Kees, standing with a chair

This is clearly my uncle Russell Kees, probably when he probably about one. He is clearly standing, but he looks like he needs the chair’s aid to do so. Russell was born in August 1927, so this photo appears to be from the summer of 1928.

Gypsie

Donna “Darling’s” puppy (on left) Gypsie.

Next is a photo of Gypsie, Donna’s Pekinese, as a puppy of 5 weeks. With her is a littermate. We’ve seen Donna and Gypsie before. When Donna and her show were in Canada, having pictures taken while scantily clad in the snow, Donna had Gypsie with her. (See the Donna Darling Collection Part 9[ii].)

Donna & Gypsie

Donna “Darling” and her dog Gypsie circa 1926

We also see Donna holding Gypsie in what appears to be a beach on a cold day. Donna is wearing a stylish hat and coat.

Donna & Friend

In this photo, Donna is with an unknown woman. I’ve seen this woman in enough pictures that I’m sure she is a regular in Donna’s show. Donna was always keen to keep other people’s names out of her acts, so determining who this is for sure may be difficult. For now, I’ll call her “Woman Alpha.”

An unknown couple that were friends of Donna Darling and Sammy Clark in the late 1920s.

Friends of Donna

The next photo is of Woman Alpha with a man. For the sake of keeping track of them, I’m going to call him Man Alpha and the two of them Couple Alpha. I suspect this is probably a ferry.

Sammy Clark (Amsterdam( is on the left and Donna “Darling” (Montran) is on the right. The couple between them is unknown, but I call them the “Couple Bravo.”

Donna, Sammy, and Friends

Next is a photo of four people in swimsuits. Sammy is on the left; Donna is on the right. I’m confident the other woman is “Woman Bravo.” As such, I’m going to call the man with her “Man Bravo” and the two of them “Couple Bravo.”

Donna, Sammy, and the Gang (c. 1926)

The group of six people includes an unknown young man, Donna “Darling” (Montran), the man from who I call “Couple Bravo,” Sammy Clark, the woman from who I cal “Couple Bravo,” and a final unknown man in a shirt, tie, suit and hat.

This group of six includes an unknown young man, Donna “Darling,? “Man Bravo,” Sammy Clark, “Woman Bravo,” and a final unidentified man in a shirt, tie, suit, and hat.

I suspect that Couple Alpha and Couple Bravo are the same couple, but I can’t tell for sure. I’ll be looking for more evidence regarding their identification in future research.

Conclusion

Besides this blog post, I’ve added metadata of this information to the photo images using Vivid Restore.  More about that in a later blog.

Actions

  • Over the past few months, I’ve begun to improve my skills in photo identification. Clearly, there are two couples that should be identified. Are they the same couple? I’ll try to do so in the coming months.

Endnotes

[i] The originals images were: DSCN1473 (original).tiff, DSCN1523 (original).tiff, and SCAN0188 (original).tiff. Additionally, I have a tiff of each of these photos.

[ii] I didn’t learn that “the Peke” was actually Gypsie, the Pekinese dog until much later.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 76

The Stroud Theatre

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

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

First, we know the show took place during Thanksgiving week at the Stroud.

  • 1919    We know Donna was part of the “Chin Chin” company and played in Salt Lake City during Thanksgiving, so it can’t be 1919.
  • 1920    Donna played as Donna Montran and Her Bathing Beauties, so we know it can’t be 1920.
  • 1921    Donna was playing with Murray Walker and Walter Davis as Donna Montran. By January 1922, her shows all featured “Donna Darling,” never Donna Montran. So it makes sense that “Dona Montrim” could be 1921.
  • 1922 – However, in November 1922, Donna was showing as Donna Darling and Company. It is possible Donna could have done some kind of throwback to using Montrim (Montran) in 1922.
  • 1923 – Thanksgiving Donna was appearing in the Donna Darling Revue during November 1923.
  • 1924 – In 1924, Donna’s show was again a Bathing Beauty show.
  • 1925 – In 1925, Donna was doing the “Little Jewel Revue.”
  • 1926 – Donna was showing with Sammy in 1926.
  • 1927 – Donna appears to have dropped out of show business during the summer of 1927. I have no record of her appearing in 1927 or 1928.

A search for the Stroud Theatre at Cinetreasures found only one Stroud Theatre open during the 1920s. That was in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Likewise, the 1921 The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide And Moving Picture Directory. Indicates there was only one Stroud Theatre, and it was in Stroudsburg.

I know very little about Donna’s shows in the fall of 1921. Indeed, she played in New York in October and played in Philadelphia in December, so her playing in Stroudsburg, PA in November 1921 makes sense. On the other hand, Donna played in Elmira, New York, in  November 1922 and Paterson, NJ, in December, so 1922 is possible.

The critical fact that illuminates the date is an accompanying article that mentions the feature “Inside the Cup” adapted from the story of Winston Churchill was also playing. Wikipedia indicates that the film adaptation of Churchill’s book was titled “Inside of the Cup” and was released in January of 1921. As such, I’m confident that the show had to have played at the Stroud Theater in Stroudsburg, PA in 1921.  Thanksgiving in 1921 was November 24th.

Additionally, a Newspapers.Com search for “Dona Montrim” yielded a match to her playing at Reade’s Savoy Theatre in Asbury Park, New Jersey, on October 13th and October 14th. That confirms her playing in the area using that unusual spelling. Thanks to Newspapers.Com, I was able to add another venue to her schedule.

Key features

  • The venue is the Stroud Theatre in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
  • At least two days between November 24th and November 25th, 1921.
  • The show is “Dona Montrim & Co. – Singing and Dancing.”
  • Also, on the bill
    • The Barry Jazzers
    • Three Walceys – Acrobatic Novelty
    • Whynot & Brady – Musical Act
    • Phil Davis – Southern Songster
    • Features: “Inside the Cup”

Analysis

Another note is her name in the article is “Dora Montrim.” A search for “Dora Montrim” at Newspapers.Com, Genealogy Bank, and Chronicling America did not yield any results. This show should be added to Donna’s Schedule:

Conclusion

  • November 24-25, 1921 – Stroud Theatre – Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania – Dona Montrim & Co. – DDC-76.
  • October 13-14, 1921 – Reade’s Savoy Theatre – Asbury Park, New Jersey – Dona Montrim & Co.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 71

Stratton Theatre – 14 April 1922.

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
Donna Darling
As You Like It

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection relating to the Stratton Theatre.


THEATRES

| WN DAILY TIMES-PRESS, FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 19 |

Stratton Offers Big Program

The acts at the Stratton are all wonderful. To pick the headline act would be quite a task but after one looks at beautiful Donna Darling and her dancing boys he will begin to sit up and take real notice. Her presentation is a miniature musical comedy which might be styled “An Act a Minute.” Murray Walker in his imitation of Pat Rooney was very good. Jack Finney the other boy with Miss Darling proved himself a dancing demon. The Rising Generation might be classed as one of the best child acts on the American stage today. Credit for this splendid offering goes to Miss Maude Daniels who has arranged this very pretty offering and the training of the children. James (Fat) Thompson and Al Petrie appear in a comedy barrage entitled “The Comoufleures.” James Valdare comes along with something new in the line of comedy cycling. Piasno and Bingham in “At the Barber Pole” have a very novelty skit which proves to be a choice bit of amusement. A big time act, “Yachting,” presented by Tom Brown, with Harry Voltaire and Arline Lloyd. This act might be styled as a musical cruise with oceans of melody. Sheehan and Richards present a |

Very bright offering of chatter and song that pleases all.

The big feature photoplay is Pola Negri in “The Last Payment.” The scenes are thrilling and the production as a whole, is massive and superb. Tomorrow’s big feature will be Bebe Daniels in “One Wild Week.”

The second clipping is a reminder to me to double-check and triple-check scans before I return material to its source. In this case the very left edge of the scan was cut off which resulted in losing the first letter (or two) of each line. It is one of the items I wish I could get back and rescan.

 

Seven New Acts at the Stratton

Opening today with an all new Keith Program of seven sterling vaudeville acts the Stratton Theatre will present for the last half of the week and attraction for the local theatergoers that will outdo anything ever before attempted. James Valdare in a comedy cycling novelty, who has just toured Europe with Harry Lander’s famous troupe, opens the program with a whirl of daring deeds on a bicycle. Sheehan and Richards then follow in a bright and snappy offering of chatter and song. The Rising Generation, a sensational juvenile attraction which presents nine of the most talented children on the American Stage. Pisano and Bingham in a choice bit of amusement entitled “At the Barber Pole” Mr. Pisano as an Italian, and Mr. Bingham as an Irishman, and the dialogue of the two is productive of much fun. Miss Donna Darling, musical comedy favorite, and winner of the Madison Square Garden beauty contest assisted by Murray Walker and Jack Finney, her dancing boys, presents an unusually interesting  revue entitles “As You Like It.” James Thompson and Company in a screamingly funny ??ckface comedy brimming over with >>n, will add to your amusement. Tom Brown, of the famous Brown Brown Brothers, send the feature act to close the ???. It is Harry Voltaire and company in “Yachting,” described as a musical cruise with oceans of melody. The act embraces five saxophones a….

Key features:

  • The venue is the Stratton Theatre.
  • The date is the 2nd half of the week that includes April 14th (Apr 13-15)
  • The show is “As You Like It” staring Donna Darling and Murray Walker and Jack Finney.
  • Also on bill
    • James (Fat) Thompson & Al Petrie in “The Comoufleures”
    • James Valdare in a bicycle show
    • Piasno & Bingham in “At the Barber Pole”
    • Rising Generation. (A children’s act)
    • Sheehan & Richards
    • Tom Brown, with Harry Voltaire & Arline Lloyd in “Yachting”
    • Photoplay: Poli Negri in “The Last Payment”
  • Coming attractions include:
    • Bebe Daniels in “One Wild Week.”

Analysis

This first article has a banner that has a paper name and date of “wn Daily Times-Press dated Friday, April 14, 19.”  No year and no city. The good news is that Cinema Treasures indicates there were only two theaters with the name “Stratton” and one of them was in Middletown, New York.[i] Next, the clipping mentions that the photoplay showing was Pola Negri in “The Last Payment.” That movie was released in Germany in 1919.[ii] However, a review of newspaper mentions of the movie indicated that it didn’t come to the United States until the fall of 1921 and was playing through the Spring of 1922.  Additionally, in 1922, April 14th was a Friday, proving the show was in 1922.  The second half of the week would have been April 13, 14, & 15.

Conclusion

I added the following:

April 13-15, 1922 – Middletown, New York – Stratton Theatre – Donna Darling “As You Like It,” with Murray Walker and Jack Finney. – DDC-71.

Sources

[i] Internet: Cinema Treasures – Search for theaters named Stratton in the United States. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/united-states?q=Stratton&status=all accessed 25 July 2020.

[ii] Internet: IMDB – The Last Payment (1919) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0342674/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 – Accessed 25 July 2020.

“Chin Chin” – Colonial Theatre – Pittsfield, MA – 15 May 1920.

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” play at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA, on 15 May 1920.

Vaudeville
Chin Chin
Donna Montran

“Chin Chin” played at the Bennington, Vermont, Opera House on May 13th and the Empire Theater in North Adams on the 14th. Then the show moved the 20 miles south to play at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, MA on Saturday, the 15th.

Advertising for the show began on the 8th of May with an ad showing “Chin Chin” would be coming for “One Night Only” on May 15th. On the 10th, a quick little note said, “’Chin Chin’ at Colonial – Manager Raymond has booked Charles Dillingham’s ‘Chin Chin,’ with Walter Wills and Ray Binder for the Colonial Saturday night.”

The Berkshire Eagle reported Monday, after the show:

The Berkshire Eagle – May 17, 1920

“Chin Chin” with Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the leading roles played to a good-sized audience at the Colonial theatre Saturday evening. It was the second one night stand in two days despite this that there was a large attendance. Like other Dillingham shows it was a wonderful production.

The play is a modern version of the famous old Arabian Nights tale of “Aladdin, or the Wonderful Lamp.” Messrs. Wills and Binder become a couple of Chinamen who have more or less adventures in the pursuit of the lamp which brought its possessor all kinds of happiness. The musical numbers were very sweet and catchy.

Among the many features in this gigantic show are the Teddy Bear dance, Tom Brown’s Saxophone band, a real circus tent with an honest-to-goodness big white circus horse circling around the ring, while Mlle. Falloffski performs the most daring and screamingly funny bareback stunts. Tom Brown’s band was one of the big hits of the evening.

Theater

Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA – (Photo courtesy of Granola via Cinema Treasures)

The Colonial Theatre was built in 1903 but burned in 1912. It underwent extensive renovation and reopened with state-of-the-art theatrical technology, in 1912.

The 1921 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill Theatrical Guide and Moving Picture Directory indicated that the Pittsfield Colonial Theatre was operated by the Goldstein Bros. Amusement Co. and managed by L. H. Raymond. The theater played legitimate theater, stock, and picture attractions.[i] It had a seating capacity of 487 on the main floor, 309 in the balcony, 350 in the gallery, and 72 in the Box seats for a total capacity of 1218.

Specifications for the Colonial Theatre

Proscenium opening: 32 ft
Front to back wall: 45 ft
Between side walls: 58 ft
Apron 5 ft
Between fly girders: 46 ft
To rigging loft: 64 ft
Between fly galleries: 40 ft
The theatre had 8 Dressing rooms

Photo courtesy: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism via Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/masstravel/ (CC BY-ND 2.0) https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/
Photo courtesy: Massachusetts Office Of Travel & Tourism via Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0).

The theatre operated until 1934 when it closed due to the Depression. It reopened in 1937 as a movie theater with occasional community performances. It closed in 1952 and became a paint and art supply business. In 1998, the theatre was designated a National Historic Treasure. In 2001, the Colonial Theatre Association began a restoration of the building. In 2006, the theatre reopened to the public with its vaulted gilded enterence, elaborately decorated boxes and balcony, and exquisite ornamental detail.[ii]

Today

The Colonial Theatre of Pittsfield, MA, is a beautifully renovated facility.

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Endnotes

[i] (1921). The Julius Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical guide and moving picture directory. New York, N.Y.: Julius Cahn-Gus Hill via Hathi Trust – https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=coo.31924063709764&view=1up&seq=7 – Accessed 21 July 2020.

[ii] Internet: Berkshire Theatre Group website, “History of the Colonial Theatre” https://www.berkshiretheatregroup.org/berkshire-theatre-group/history-of-the-colonial-theatre/ – Accessed 21 July 2020.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 66

Rivoli Theatre – Portland, Oregon

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to the Rivoli Theatre in Portland, Oregon.

From previous research, thanks to Genealogy Bank, I had learned that The Donna Darling Review with Sammy Clark played at the Rivoli Theatre in Portland from November 6th through the 8th. The Playbill is always great to see.

Next was a clipping “Donna Darling Revue Crest of Rivoli Bill,” which appears to be an advertising article. It reads, in part:

“Sammy Clark, the “anesthetic dancer,” with the Donna Darling Revue, is the brightest spot on the Rivoli bill this week. Sammy is one of those untamed spirits who dance for the pure joy of expression. His costume, a cloud of pink unmentionables, is peculiarly fit for his wild spirit.

“Donna Darling herself is a pretty miss with a nice voice for ballads. The rest of the company consists of an excellent pair of dancers and a whistling comedian. It is a clever act, and well staged.”

Conclusion

November 6-8, 1926 – The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark played at the Rivoli Theatre in Portland, Oregon.