Donna Darling Collection – Part 57

The Orpheum and the Majestic

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Collection that includes two clippings.

“Leon The Great” Pleases Orpheum

The mystery act of “Leon the Great,” advertised as the headline stunt on the bill current at the Orpheum, went over with a bang, but is forced to share honors with Primrose Semon and the Donna Darling revue.

The former is the snappiest and hardest working redhead to appear here in several months. Shad had a stock of clever songs and with her partner got across some original quips.

Donna’s singing, two comely toe dancers, and a comedian who was actually funny at times constitute the Donna Darling revue.

Stone and Leever get some good stuff across, but should get together with the comedian in Donna’s revue and flip coins for a couple of comic songs that both acts use.

“Leon the Great” is mysterious enough….

Analysis

This clipping comes without any date or location information.

  • Donna played the Orpheum in Clinton, IA on December 9th thru the 11th, 1926.
  • Donna Played the Orpheum in Des Moines on 2nd thru the 5th of January 1927.
  • Donna had a return engagement to the Orpheum in Clinton, IA on January 16th thru 19th, 1927.

According to the advertisement[1], Donna played at the Orpheum in Des Moines with The Great Leon, Miss Primrose Seamon, Stone & Leever, and Hartley and Patterson on January 2nd 1927. I have been unable to find any ads or articles for Donna in Clinton (either date) so far. However, it is unlikely that the same 5 acts played in both Des Moines and Clinton. As such, I’m confident this article relates to Donna’s show in Des Moines.

Majestic Theatre Program

MAJESTIC
THEATRE

IOWA’S FINEST
AND SAFEST
PLAY-HOUSE

Program
Season 1926-1927
Program (Continued)

DONNA DARLING REVUE

—With—
Sammy Clark
Assisted by Hal Dixon & Co.
A Super Song Revue—A Dazzling dance fantasy—A Novel
Comedy Oddity in Five Scenes

Analysis

Handwritten on the clipping are the words “Dubuque Iowa.” From previous work I know that Donna performed the Donna Darling Review at the Majestic Theater in Dubuque, Iowa from December 12th through December 15th. I wrote about some other clippings from that show in the Donna Darling Collection #55. I added DDC-57 to the listing for that show.

Conclusion

December 12-15, 1926 – Dubuque, IA – Majestic Theatre – Donna Darling Revue – Newspaper Archive – DDC-55, DDC-57.

ENDNOTES

[1] “1 Jan 1927, 8 – Des Moines Tribune At Newspapers.Com”. 2019. Newspapers.Com. Accessed October 24 2019. https://www.newspapers.com/image/324007959/?terms=%22Donna%2BDarling%2BRevue%22.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 56

Majestic (Harrisburg, PA) and York Opera House (York, PA)

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
Donna Darling & Boys
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from one page (0110) of the Donna Darling Collection.

Majestic Theatre

The first two clippings relate to Donna’s playing at the Majestic Theatre.

The first is a simple ad.

MAJESTIC
The Talk of the Town

Frederick V. Bowers
Popular Musical Comedy
Star and Song Writer,
In His
The first is a simple ad.
With a Bevy of Pretty Girls
— — —
COMING THURSDAY
Another Musical ComedFavorite
DONNA DARLING & BOYS

Sadly, nothing in this ad indicates which of the many Majestic Theatres this was nor does it indicate when. Luckily, an accompanying clipping on the same page provides a likely location and date for the show.

Majestic Theatre,
Harrisburg Pennsylvania
Week of April 3, 1922

MAXINE & BOGGY
The Comedy Dog

STEIFF PIANOS used in this Theatre

Spencer—CASE & MAYNE—Edith
In
“I WOULDN’T DO THAT”

Beautiful Musical Comedy Favorite
MISS DONNA DARLING & CO.
Assisted by Murry Walker and Jack Finney
In a Song and Dance Cocktail
“AS YOU LIKE IT”

MORGAN & MORGAN
“Making you Laugh”

MELODY LAND
In
Abbreviated “VARIETIES”
A Cycle Of
Songs and Dances
With
White and Mills
Juliet Beaumont
Kathleen Harrington
Ethel Cook
Assisted by

Olga Sirlis……………….Pianist
Martha Conwell …… Saxophonist
Charlotte Maloney…Violinist
Verna Dorn …………… Drummer
Scenery by Robert Law Studio
Staged by Douglas Royce

Newspaper articles, found at Genealogy Bank, confirmed that Donna played at the Majestic in Harrisburg on April 6th, 7th, and 8th. Also, in the Harrisburg Patriot on April 4th was the same ad in the clippings.

York Opera House

The third clipping is part of a York Opera House show.  No date is provided, but articles at Newspapers.Com confirmed that Donna played at the York Opera House in York, Pennsylvania, on April 3rd to 5th. The clipping shows many of the same acts seen in the Majestic clipping.

In place of Case & Mayne is:

Ralph                 Jim
KITNER AND REANEY
In “An Ocean Episode”

And in place of Morgan & Morgan was:

Lorraine         Verna
HOWARD & SADLER
Presenting their Harmonious
Comedy Songalogue
“Wedding Belles”

Program items A and B are missing in both the clippings, it appears that all other filler films started the two showings. For example, at the York Opera House, instead of “Case & Mayne” and “Morgan and Morgan” was the last chapter of “Breaking Through” and “Aesop’s Fables.”

Conclusion

The “Life of Madonna Montran” was updated with the following:

April 3-5, 1922 – York, PA – York Opera House – Donna Darling & Boys – News May 2019. DDC-56.

April 6-8, 1922 – Harrisburg, PA – Majestic Theatre – Donna Darling & Boys (Murry Walker & Jack Finney) in “As You Like It.” – Genealogy Bank – DDC-56.

Actions

  • Write about Donna playing in York, PA, and the York Opera House.
  • Write about Donna playing in Harrisburg, PA, and the Majestic Theatre.

Sources

  • Clipping: Majestic Theatre – Harrisburg, PA – Coming Thursday – SCAN0110
  • Clipping: Majestic Theatre, Harrisburg, PA – Week of Apr 3, 1922 – SCAN0110
  • Clipping: York Opera House – SCAN0110
  • Genealogy Bank – The Patriot (Harrisburg, PA) dated 4 April 1922, Page 14.
  • Genealogy Bank – The Patriot (Harrisburg, PA) dated 7 April 1922, Page 18.
  • Newspapers.Com – The York Daily Record (York, PA) dated 5 April 1922, Page 9.

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.

Disclaimer

The ads and some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” If you purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission which will help me pay for this site. Please see my Disclaimer Page for more information. Continue reading “Donna – Rajah Theatre – Reading, PA – 24 Apr 1920”

Donna Darling Collection – Part 53

Shamokin – Donna appears after “Baby Marie Osborne”

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. The page includes two articles, one newspaper banner, and five tiny clips.

The two articles both appear to be from the Shamokin Daily News, Friday, February 10, 1922, but they might be a day apart.

BABY OSBORNE HEADS STRONG PROGRAM AT THE STRAND

BABY OSBORNE HEADS STRONG PROGRAM AT THE STRAND

This article talks about “Baby Marie Osborne,” at length, before it begins to talk about Donna or any of the other shows. The section about Donna reads,

“Miss Donna Darling, former musical comedy star, who is appearing on the Keith bill at the Strand the last three days of the week, has one of the most appealing and enjoyable musical and dancing acts seen here this season. Miss Darling is all that her name implies in appearance and ability and is supported by two talented young men, both of whom are gifted dancers and vocalists. The stage settings are among the most elaborate seen here this winter while Miss Darling’s vocal selections appeal to people of all ages.”

The “last three days of the week,” in this case, means February 9th, 10th, and 11th.

A second article,

FAMOUS CHILD ACTRESS HEADS THE STRAND PROGRAM

FAMOUS CHILD ACTRESS HEADS THE STRAND PROGRAM

also talks about Baby Marie Osborne before mentioning Donna. The Donna part reads,

“Another widely known star of the stage appearing on the same program is Miss Donna Darling, former musical comedy star and who is now on the Keith circuit in a high class vaudeville revue I which she is most popular as well as pleasing.”

With Donna at the Strand are

  • Baby Marie Osborne
  • Frank Markey (the “Banjo Boy”)
  • Coogan and Casey (Song act)
  • Crumley and Jones (Comedians)

Along with the two larger articles on the page are five small clippings, some of which are cut off (I use the symbol of “}|” to indicate the place where the image was cut off.)

ELMIRA (First Half) – Jean & White – Hunniford – Donna Darling Co.—Manuel Romaine Co.—At the Party.

ITHACA (Second Half)—Homer Romaine—Peel & Corvan—Donna Darling Co.—Gobson & Price—At the Party.

OLE}|
(First Half)—Crowden’s }|
&Casey—Alf Grant—Don}|

WHEELING
(First Half)—Hunniford—Harr}|
mings—Donna Darling Boys—Co}|
—Murray Kissen Co.

NEW CASTLE (Second Half)—Polli Cassi Co.—Hunniford—Ahern & Peterson{|
Donna Darling Co.

Analysis

I have long known that Donna played in Elmira the January 28th thru 31st, 1922.

I knew she played in Ithaca on Feb 2nd. The “Second Half” would indicate that she was in Ithaca on February 2nd thru the 4th. That added two new days to my schedule for Donna.

I have known that Donna played in Olean Feb 13-15, which would be the first half of that week.

I have never had a record of Donna playing in Wheeling. The clipping’s placement seems to be between Olean, NY, and New Castle, PA. The first half of the week following Olean would be February 20, 21, & 22. The rest of that week would be 23, 24, and 25, February for her to have been in New Castle, PA.

So, thanks to this page of the Donna Darling Collection, I learned of two new venues for Donna’s schedule.

  • Feb 9-11, 1922 – Shamokin, PA – The Strand – Donna Darling
  • Feb 20-22, 1922 – Wheeling WV – Unknown Theatre – Donna Darling Boys

Sources

Donna Darling Collection – Image SCAN0087.

Chin Chin – Regent Theatre – Muskegon, MI – 23 Feb 1920

Donna and “Chin Chin” play at the Regent Theatre in Muskegon, Michigan, on 23 February 1920.

Background

February 1920 was a busy month for the cast and crew of “Chin Chin.” They began the month in Minneapolis and played across Wisconsin, on to Indiana, and then up to Michigan. I know they played the Powers Theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on Feb 20th and 21st. They probably had off Sunday, 22 February. Then they opened for one night at the Regent Theatre in Muskegon, Michigan.

Advertising

A standard “To the General Public” announcement was published by Paul J. Schlossman in the Muskegon Chronical on February 18th letting the General Public know that “Chin Chin” was coming to the Regent Theatre on Monday, February 23, 1920.  There would be two shows, a matinee at 2:30 and an evening show at 8:15.

Muskegon Chronicle – 21 FEB 1920, Page 2 (Via Genealogy Bank)

Articles

The Thursday paper before the show featured an article and a photograph. The article read:

Muskegon Chronicle – 19 Feb 1920, Page 10 via Genealogy Bank

Charles Dillingham’s Chin Chin, with a record of two solid years at the Globe theater, New York , and heralded as the greatest of all musical comedies comes to the Regent theater for a matinee and evening performance Monday, Feb. 23.

In the production of “Chin Chin” the producer, Chas. Dillingham is providing a glorious festival of fun and spectacular attractiveness, demonstrations of grotesque acrobatic specialties and dancing in numerous through this very musical concoction. Those who heard “The Pink Lady” and “The Little Café” cannot fail to anticipate with pleasure the prospect of hearing further gems in “Chin Chin” from the gifted composer, Ivan Caryll.

Charles Dillingham long ago established a reputation for good taste in his production so far as color, light, groupings, music and expression go to make up an ensemble. In the company are clever comedians, talented singers and dancers, besides plenty of beautiful, radiant women. The production in its original New York entirety will be seen here. By the box office returns, the most potent argument in the theater when the entertainments such this are under consideration, “Chin Chin” is the greatest and best.

Certainly the most exacting and sophisticated taste will ask for little or nothing more in facile playfulness, pretty dresses, swift dances and prankish amusement than this production has to offer.

Ivan Caryll’s score is rich with ingratiating melodies, and the various stage settings make attractive pictures.

Post Show

It is unlikely that the cast and crew had off on February 24th, so I need to continue searching for a venue that they played that day. It is probably a town between Muskegon and Bay City (but not Grand Rapids). “Chin Chin” played in Bay City on the 25th.

Regent Theater

Theater Image[i]
The Regent Theater, designed by Detroit architect C. Howard Crane, was built by Paul Schlossman in 1916. None of the theatrical guides that I have indicate the specifics of the theater, however, other sources indicate the seating was 1,100. A new façade and marquee were installed in 1939. The theater was demolished in 1972 to make way for the Muskegon Mall. The mall was torn down in 2003.[ii]

 

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map[iii], Muskegon, Michigan, 1940, Image 10, Block 564 – Library of Congress

Today

Today, the location of the Regent Theater is an open park-like area with picnic tables next to the Muskegon Area Transit System.

Further Research

Find a theater guide from the 1920s and incorporate theater specifics from it into this article.

Disclaimer

The ads and some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” If you purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission which will help me pay for this site. Please see my Disclaimer Page for more information.



Endnotes

[i] Regent Theater in Muskegon, MI – Cinema Treasures. 2019. Cinematreasures.Org. Accessed August 16 2019. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/41270

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Image 10 Of Sanborn Fire Insurance Map From Muskegon, Muskegon County, Michigan. “. 2019. The Library Of Congress. Accessed August 16 2019. https://www.loc.gov/resource/g4114mm.g04122195001/?sp=10&r=0.498,0.987,0.434,0.213,0.