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

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.

Chin-Chin in the News – 16 November 1919 – Trinidad, CO – Unknown Theatre

Vaudeville/Chin-Chin

My grandmother was a vaudeville star and I am following her career, trying to learn of her many performances. In October 1919, she joined the cast of the Charles Dillingham production of “Chin-Chin” “Chin-Chin” played in the US and Canada until June 1920. I monitor several newspaper services watching for new venues that the show played while she was a cast member.

I recently received a notification from the folks at Elephind that they had added the “Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection to their searchable items. As such, I ran a quick search and had two new findings. The first entry is from the Denver Jewish News dated 5 November 1919. It was an ad for Chin Chin playing at the Broadway Theatre in Denver, a venue I had learned about previously.

The second article found was from the Walsenburg World dated 20 November 1919, Page 5, Column 3, Para 12, which read:

Walsenburg World – Nov 20, 1919 – Page 5, Column 3, Paragraph 12.

“Mr. and Mrs. George Blickhahn, Mr. and Mrs. James Flynn, Mrs. B. Gardner, Aldolph Unfug, Miss Clara Kincaid of La Veta, and Lois Sporleder all spent Sunday in Trinidad seeing ‘Chin Chin.’”

The previous Sunday would have been November 16, 1919. Trinidad is a small town about 40 miles southeast of Walsenburg and about 11 miles north of the New Mexico border.

It appears that the show may have been at West’s Theatre, however, I’ll need to confirm that with additional research. The show played in Denver from the 9th to the 15th, went south to Trinidad for the 16th then returned back north to Pueblo on the 18th and Colorado Springs on the 19th.

New Venue Added:

Nov 16, 1919 – Trinidad, Colorado – (Probably) West’s Theatre.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 74

Donna Darling Revue
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Collection that includes both a clipping and a photo.

Palm Theater – Pueblo, Colorado

Image DSCN1433 from the Donna Darling Collection – Note the 6th act was apparently cut off. 

Key features:

  • The venue is the Palm Theater – Pueblo’s Leading Theater – Always a Big Show. The show is “Today and Monday – 2 Big Days. And is part of the Western Association of Keithp-Albee Orpheum Circuit.
  • The show is a “Double Headliner Bill with the First Feature Ace — “Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark”
  • The Second Feature Act is “Orpheus Quintet in “Big Moments from Big Operas”
  • Also on bill:
    • Zuhn & Dreis – Dementus Americanos – A Feature Comedy Act Made For Laughing Purposes.
    • Curtis & Lawrence – Up to the Minute and a Minute Ahead in “Is That the Custom.”
    • Morrell & Elynor – Beauty-Grace-Speed 0 Introducing the Charleston on Rollers.

Analysis

The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark began in May 1926. On September 17th and 18th, the show played at the Burns Theater in Colorado Springs and played on September 25th in El Paso, Texas. It is most likely that the show played in Pueblo on a date between the 18th and the 25th. The only Monday between those dates was Monday, September 20th, so it appears that the show played in Pueblo, CO, on September 19th and 20th.

I looked for newspapers on Newspapers.Com, Genealogy Bank, NewspaperArchive.com, and other sites via The Ancestor Hunt to prove that date; however, I was unable to find any papers for Pueblo in 1926 available online. However, I did discover that the Donna Darling Revue played at the Grand Theater in Douglas, Arizona on September 27th.

Photo of Sammy

Unknown woman & Sammy Clark – ca. 1926.

On the same page in the Donna Darling Collection as the Palm Theater clipping is a photo of an unknown woman and Sammy Clark. It must be from sometime between 1926 and 1928, with 1926 as the most likely. It is nice to have another photo of Sammy. I’ll keep an eye out for any other photos showing this unidentified woman.

Conclusion

September 19 & 20, 1926 – The Palm Theater, Pueblo, Colorado – “The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.”

September 27, 1926 – The Grand Theater, Douglas, Arizona – “The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.”

A day I learn of two more dates and venues for Donna’s Vaudeville Career is a good day.

Sources

Douglas Daily Dispatch, 1926-09-17 – Page 6 via Genealogy Bank.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 73

Donna Darling and her Jewel Revue – State Theater, Utica, New York.

Treasure Chest Thursday
by Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a full-page of the Donna Darling Collection, which included five items..

First is a clipping showing, “The Scintillating Beauty, Donna Darling and Her Jewel Revue, Presenting Singing, Dancing, Comedy, Elaborate Costumes, Special Settings and Lighting Effects” at State Theater. Luckily, Donna handwrote on the clipping, “Utica Mar 18-19-20” which gives us the location and date for the show. Donna’s “Little Jewel Review” is known to have run from November 1925 to March 1926. So, it appears she was in Utica, New York, from March 18 through the 20th, 1926.

Key features:

    • The venue is the State Theater
    • The show is the “Donna Darling and Her Jewel Revue.”
    • Also, on the bill:
      • Williams & Perry – Colored Entertainers Singing, Dancing
      • Lone & King – In Songs and Comedy
      • Cosmopolitan Trio – In a Song Offering
      • Chick and Dog – A Clever Canine Novelty
    • The Movie showing was Evelyn Brent in “Queen of Diamonds”

Two Advertising Clips

The first advertising clipping focuses upon “Queen of Diamonds,” but includes”

From advance reports of the vaudeville bill to be offered in today’s program, it appears the patrons will not be disappointed. Heading the list is Donna Darling and “Her Jewel Revue” in songs dances and comedy. Lowe & King….

The second clipping indicates,

The Darling Revue is listed as the headliner and deserves that title through virtue of its all-around excellence. A decided feature of the act are the dance numbers. These include toe, clog, gypsy, and Charleston novelties. Some well-received songs are also offered.

Two Photos

Finally, on the page are two lively little photos. One is clearly Donna in a stylish, bedazzled skirt and a long headscarf with a beaded cap.

The second photo is of an unknown man in a shirt and tie. The photo was taken outdoors so doesn’t appear to be related in time or place to Donna’s photo. The young man’s pants appear to be kaki and his tie is square cut on the bottom. Also, it looks (to me) that he has a garrison cap tucked into his waist, suggesting it is a soldier. Hopefully, I will be able to identify him later.

Conclusion

I added the following to Donna’s Itinerary:

    • March 18-20, 1926 – “Donna Darling and her Jewel Revue” – State Theater, Utica, New York – DDC-73.