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.
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.
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.
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.
Chin Chin played at the Smith Opera House in Geneva, NY, on May 21st. The troupe then traveled the 60 miles south to Elmira, and two shows at the Lyceum Theatre. This showing had more advertising articles than most shows. Sadly, my grandmother, Donna, isn’t mentioned by name, however, her role, “Goddess of the Lamp” is mis-mentioned as the “Goddess of the Light.”
On May 18th, the Star-Gazette ran the following advertisement on Page 13:
“Chin Chin” Saturday Matinee and Evening
Melodious, artistic and diverting is “Chin Chin” scheduled for the Lyceum this Saturday Matinee and evening. To Walter Wills and Roy Binder are entrusted the principal parts, supported by a company of clever comedians and a beautiful chorus. In their song “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Go Gar Sig Gong-Jue,” and “Temple Bells,” the two clever comedians Wills and Binder make a decided hit and are always recalled again and again. In this charming fantasy with a Chinese atmosphere there are also a score of other songs that are the fascinating, whistling kine, and several unique dances that carry the snappy comedy along delightfully. This is a great play for the children matinee prices 50c, 75, $1, $1.50. Evening: 50c. $1.00, $1.50, $2.00. Seat sale Thursday morning. Phone 411.—Adv.
On May 19th, the Star-Gazette ran the following advertisement on Page 16:
“Chin Chin” Saturday
“Chin Chin” comes to the Lyceum on Saturday matinee and evening, and is a musical comedy, or concoction, that turned them away on a previous engagement. Charles Dillingham thought it over and resolved that he had a piece of theatrical property far too valuable to pack away in the storehouse. He had no concern about its fate if he could get a pair of comedians with enough talent to play the parts of the two Chinese. Walter Wills and Roy Binder came up to the specifications, and so the new “Chin Chin” with as much pains taken upon it as the original production, was sent on tour.
Yet, “Chin Chin” does not depend wholly upon the chief comedians, its melodies, already familiar every are ingratiating: “The Good-bye Girs” [sic] song. “The Love Moon” and other numbers are delightfully tuneful, and the sprightliness of the complete story is fetching.
When Mr. Dillingham puts on a play there is not a shabby spot showing anywhere, but every detail of costume and scenery is perfected to suit the most discriminating taste. Matinee 50c, 75, $1, $1.50. Evening: 50c. $1.00, $1.50, $2.00; Seat sale tomorrow.-Adv.
On May 20th, the Star-Gazette ran the following advertisement on Page 13:
Coming to the Lyceum on Saturday is Charles Dillingham’s “Chin Chin” the musical comedy which is one of those tales of live and wishing common to the Arabian Nights. All impossibilities are crowded into it jumbled together like the figures in a dream and 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 us Chin Hop Hi, Paderewski, Mlle. Falloffski, a Gendarme and a ventriloquist, transformations accompanied by such curies 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 us in rapid succession Chin Hop Lo, the widow, a Coolie and the Ring Master, lightening changes of mood, manner and get-up that provoked the audience to mirth. No more diverting and entertaining “comics” have come this way for many seasons. George Usher makes an agreeable and picturesque Aladdin.
The danseuse par excellence is Irene McKay, and astonishing acrobatic and step performer whose twinkling feet are full of speed and syncopation, her number with Mr. Wills 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,” “Violet.” “The Gray Dove,” and “Love Moon.” The most recalled dance and song numbers are the “Teddy Bear Dance.” (without words), “Go Gar Sig 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 hits of the play. The company is acceded to be the largest organization presenting a musical comedy on the road today, there are girls, and girls and girls. Extra musicians are carried by the company assuring patrons of the correct interpretation of the excellent musical score. Matinee 50c, 75, $1, $1.50. Evening: 50c. $1.00, $1.50, $2.00. Seats now selling.—Adv.
Advertising for the show continued every day in the Elmira Star-Gazette. Additionally, the Sayre, PA, Evening Times (about 20 miles from Elmira) ran advertising articles daily including the following the day of the show.
“CHIN CHIN” IN ELMIRA TONIGHT
Chin Chin, a musical comedy in three acts and seven sets of scenery, which has won an international reputation as one of the biggest musical comedy successes of recent years, is scheduled for an appearance at the Lyceum Theater, Elmira this evening. Catchy song numbers abound with delightful melody, lavish scenery, costumes of the Oriental and Old English style, a chorus of over thirty sprightly girlies, hilarious comedy and pantomimic work introduced by a number of clever comedians with Walter Wills and Roy Binder in the lead, all combine to afford a capital evening’s entertainment of good, clean fun.
In the first act, we have Aladdin and Violet Bond, a charming young American girl in search of a magical lamp which has the power to grant any wish of the owner. They meet at the toy shop of Abanazer, and the remaining acts and scenes are brought about gb [sic] the magical properties of the lamp found in the tea shop of Widow Twanke. In succession foll such characters as Fan Tan, the Goddess of the Light, Chin Hop Hi, Chin Hop Lo, Paderewski, the Ventriloquist and many others too numerous to mention. Evening prices $2, $1.50, $1, 50c.
Post Show Info
There is a five-day gap in my records of the Chin Chin show, but I know the show played at the Orpheum Theatre in York PA on May 28th. So, I suspect that the show played in New York or Pennsylvania during the 23rd to the 27th. I definitely need to search the New York and Pennsylvania newspapers of May 1920 searching for the show appearances.
In 1866, Henry S. Gilbert and Daniel R. Platt formed the “Lake Street Building Association” to build a public hall, the Elmira Opera House. In 1898 the hall was remodeled and renamed the Lyceum Theatre.[i] On March 6, 1904, a fire erupted which destroyed the theatre.[ii] Two theaters and six stores were destroyed in the inferno. On October 19, 1905, the New Lyceum theater opened. The theater operated until 1926 when it closed. The building was finally demolished in 1949.[iii]
Specifications for the Lyceum Theatre, Elmira
There is some conflict regarding the seating capacity. The 1921 Juliua Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical guide reports a seating capacity of 1,576[iv] and the 1913 Julius Cahn-Gus Hill guide reports 100 more, 1676. LL.F. 566, Bal 438, Gal 600, Boxes 72. In any event, it was the second largest theatre in Elmira at the time. (The Colonial seated 1816.)[v] However, the Lyceum had the largest stage in town with a proscenium opening of 38 x 28 feet. Other theater specifications include:
Front to back wall: 40 ft
Between side walls: 68 ft
Apron 2 ft
Between fly girders: 50 ft
To rigging loft: 58 ft
To fly gallery: 28 ft
Today, 150 Lake Street, Elmira, New York is occupied by a Five Star Bank branch office.
Review newspaper sources for other venues for “Chin Chin” to have played between May 23rd and May 27th.
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Fisher’s Appleton, Appleton, WI & The Lyric, East Saint Louis, IL
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection.
This first clipping has no date and no location. However, the key to determining location is that the program was printed by “Petersen-Bauer Printing Co. (Phone 1592).” A quick Google search of the internet found that the Petersen-Bauer Printing Company was in Appleton, Wisconsin. From previous research, I knew that Donna played in Appleton at Fisher’s Appleton from December 1st to December 3rd, 1924. So, I’m quite certain that this clipping is from that show.
Next are two clippings on the same page in the scrapbook. They both relate to The Lyric Theatre.
Neither clipping indicates what city or what date.
The venue is the Lyric Theatre. It is advertised as “The Cool Lyric.”
The show is the “Donna Darling and Girls” – Presenting her Little Revue.
Also, on the bill:
Montie – Moments of Syncopation
Taylor and Owens – Comedy Singing and Talking
Dippy Diers and Bennett – The Inimitable Pantomimist
Paul Godt at the Mighty Organ
Parsons’ Syncopators – The Best Orchestra in Southern Illinois
The movie is Shore Leave starring Richard Barthelmess
Next is an article clipping
BARTHELMESS HERE IN COMEDY AT LYRIC
On the Stage.
The feature attraction on the bill at the Lyric which, opened yesterday is Dona Darling and Her Girls, who present a fast-colorful revue. Miss Darling’s “Don t Care Whose Papa” is put over very good. The “Evolution of the Bathing’ Suit”, showing the kind that were worn in I860 and 1900 is very cleverly done. They also show the Dutch, French and Gypsy bathing girls, which leads up to the ultra-flapper bathing girl of 1925. The girls in the act are exceptionally good dances, and Miss Darling has a very pleasing voice. Their Hawaiian bathing girl and their harmony singing of “The Ukulele Lady” went over big yesterday. They close with an original Hawaiian Charleston dance. All in all, this is one of the best revues seen here this season….
The advertisement clipping mentions “Paul Godt at the Mighty Organ” and mentions “Parsons’ Syncopators.” Both of which relate to the Lyric Theatre in East Saint Louis. Shore Leave, starring Richard Barthelmess was released in September 1925.[i] Donna is known to have played in Oklahoma, Missouri, Illinois and Nebraska during September 1925. As such, it is easy to suspect she played in East St. Louis at that time. It doesn’t appear that there are any East Saint Louis newspapers available online. It doesn’t appear that there are any East Saint Louis papers currently available online.
So, for the first clipping I’ll add a date to the clipping and incorporate the clipping when I write about Donna’s playing in Appleton, Wisconsin.
For the second (and third) clippings, I’ll add the following entry to her itinerary as:
TBD – Probably Sept or Oct 1925 – East Saint Louis, Illinois – Lyric Theatre – Donna Darling and Girls presenting Her Little Revue. DDC-72.
Continue to monitor for the availability of newspapers from East Saint Louis in September 1925.
[i] IMDB Shore Leave (1925) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0016346/accessed 12 Aug 2020.
Treasure Chest Thursday
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.
| 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….
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.”
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.
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.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three images from the Donna Darling Collection that relate to the Strand Theater.
MISS DONNA DARLING
Who with her Dancing Boys will be at the Strand first half next week in a dance revue entitled “As You Like It”.
The venue is the Strand. No Location is provided.
Date is not provided.
The show is “As You Like It.”
Although the cropped image doesn’t include any other clues, the original torn out image mentions “William de Mille” and “__ter the Show” is playing somewhere. “After the Show” was released in October 1921.[i] So, it appears that the date for the show is probably October or November 1921.
Donna’s “As you Like It” show began in June 1921 and ran until October 1922. Donna played the Strand theater in Ithaca, New York and played the Strand theater in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, in February 1922. This clipping could be from either of those shows, but it is more likely from an earlier show at a here-to-for unknown Strand theater she played in late 1921.
Circa Oct-Nov 1921 – Strand Theater – (Unknown Location) Donna Darling “As You Like It.” DDC-70.
Second Strand Clipping
Mabel Talliaferro at Strand
The most notable engagement of the present season at the Strand is announced by the management for the first half of this week, in presentation of that charming artist of stage and screen, Mabel Talliaferro, who is appearing in person in “Connie,” a playlet of comedy and romance with Daniel Moyles and Edmund Soraghan. Miss Talliaferro has been secured for a limited engagement in vaudeville and has been brought out of New York city for one week, split between the Strand and Proctor’s Grand Theatre, Albany, and will be a headliner at both theatres. Other big-time stars will be secured and as the big-time acts will not take a booking of less than a week, they will be divided between the Strand and Proctor’s Grand in Albany, which theatre has a ninety-nine cent admission.
Another engagement for the first half of next week at the Strand is Donna Montran and her Bathing Beauties in “A Beach Promenade” which is a headliner. This act carries a beautiful setting, stunning costumes, and ten of “California’s selected peaches.”
Other acts on the bill are Fred and Tommy Hayden;” “The American Englishman,” and Wolfred and Stephens, who are billed as “The Boys That Are Different.” “The Ghost in the Garret,” which is Dorothy Gish’s latest starring vehicle, will be screened. The latest Pathe News completes the bill.
The venue is the Strand (somewhere near Albany, New York).
The date is not provided.
The show is “A Beach Promenade.”
The Strand Theatre in Albany opened November 19, 1920. “It was billed as “New York State’s Most Beautiful Theatre.”[ii] “The Ghost in the Garret” was released in February 1921.[iii]
Donna’s “A Beach Promenade” show began in July 1920 and ran until March 1921. Donna played at the Clinton Theatre in Albany during September 22-25. So, this appears to be a new venue for this show. HOWEVER –
Strand Ad Clipping
Largest and Best Theatre Orchestra in Town | Consistently the Best Show in Town.
“When Better Shows Come to Amsterdam, The Strand will Present Them.” | Tonight, Tomorrow & Wednesday
Engagement Extraordinary | Mabel Taliaferro (herself) | Famous Star of Stage and Screen, in | “Connie” | A One Act Playlet of Comedy and Romance.
Fred & Tommy Hayden – The American Englishmen.
Wolfred & Stephens – The Boys That Are Different.
Engagement De Luxe | Donna Montran and her | California Bathing Beauties | With Ten of California’s Selected Peaches.
Photoplay—Paramount Presents | Dorothy Gish | Premier Comedienne of the Screen, in | “The Ghost in the Garret.”
The venue is the Strand, Amsterdam, New York.
Date is not provided.
The show is “California Bathing Beauties.”
This advertisement clipping and the previous “article” were physically on the same page of my grandmother’s scrapbook. They also had the exact same acts, so, my initial thought was they were of the same show. Then I realized that one was for the Strand in Albany and the other was for the Strand in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is a small town about 35 miles northwest of Albany. A review of Amsterdam theatres indicated that “The Lyceum Theatre was operating prior to 1914. By 1931, it had been renamed Strand Theatre and was operated by the Schine Circuit.”[iv] So the question arises, when did the Lyceum change its name to Strand? Anyway, I was really confused.
In 1921, the Amsterdam Theatre, managed by Ed. Clapp was the only theater in Amsterdam, New York, listed in Julius Cahn-Gus Hill theatrical guide.[v]
Research at FultonHistory.Com led to the exact ad and article (from above). It ran on page 6 of the January 31, 1921 issue of the Amsterdam Evening Recorder confirming the date and location of the show.
January 31 – February 2, 1921 – Strand Theater (Amsterdam, NY) – Donna Montran and her “California Bathing Beauties.” DDC-70. (New Venue)