Donna at the Lindo, Freeport, IL, Dec 28, 1924

Donna in the News
by Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspaper articles and advertisements regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and Donna Darling). I am always excited to find a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.


This week from the Freeport Journal-Standard (Freeport, IL) newspaper dated Friday, December 26, 1924, I learned that Donna Darling and her Bathing Girls Review played at the Lindo Theatre in Freeport on Sunday, December 28, 1924.

Freeport Journal-Standard Fri, Dec 26, 1924.

This was an advertisement only. I looked at other ads and articles during the days before and after this ad but wasn’t able to find any additional information in the Freeport Journal-Standard. This ad also mentions there were “Nine Girlies” in the show, and they were “From the Studios.”

Because of those newly available online articles, I was able to add another venue for Donna’s exciting vaudeville career.

New information added to her career list:

December 28, 1924 – Freeport, IL – The Lindo Theatre – Donna Darling and her Bathing Girls Review in “A Beach Promenade.”


Endnotes

My thanks to Newspapers.com for providing this service.

 

 

 

 

Donna in the News – California Bathing Girls – Cosmos – 14 March 1921.

Donna In the News
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers articles and advertisements regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (aka Donna Montran and Donna Darling). I am always excited when I learn of a new venue for my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s. 

This week, from the Sunday Star (Washington, D.C.) newspaper dated March 6, 1921, I learned that “California Bathing Girls” was a coming attraction to come to the Cosmos Theatre “next week.”

The article reads:

“California Bathing Girls”
A return engagement of the California Bathing Girls, with Donna Montran, featured in a beach parage, interspersed with exclusive songs by Donna Montran and dances by Anna La Toy, is announced for the Cosmos Theater for next week. It is a sensational production and presents an elaborate review of the latest in bathing costumes. Other attractions will include “Past, Present and Future” a comedy….

An article in the Washington Times (Washington, D.C.) dated March 15, 1921, confirmed this showing and venue with an article that reads:

AS

COSMOS—
California Bathing Girls.
Tom Rooney’s Broadway sensation, “The California Bathing Girls,” in a daring revue of bathing costumes, past, present and future, interpolated with songs by Donna Montran and effective dance poses by Anna La Toy, making an effective headliner to a very good vaudeville bill at the Cosmos theater this week. The Girls are pretty graceful and not too warmly clad, but as a whole the act is a novel drawing card. Manager Brylawski this week has completed his bill with six team acts….

Because of those articles recently discovered on NewspaperArchives, I was able to add another date and venue for Donna’s vaudeville.

New information added to her career list:
March 14-16, 1921 – Cosmos Theatre, Washington, D.C. – “California Bathing Girls” – News.

 

Donna Darling Collection – Part 88

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

This week, for Treasure Chest Tuesday, I look at clippings from a page of the Donna Darling Collection.

Clipping: Plaza – Let’s Go – Donna Darling Collection

“Plaza – Let’s Go” showed the movie “The U. P. Trail” from Zane Grey’s great novel. For Vaudeville, “Donna Montran and Her ‘Bathing Beauties’ is the headliner. This ad doesn’t say when or where the show occurred. However, Donna went by Montran in her Bathing Beauties shows during 1920 and 1921. Along with Donna on the bill were:

  • Billy and Eddie Gorman – Passing Songs of 1920
  • Bo Peep and Jack Horner – Kathlyn Arnold and George L. Cohan.
  • Bart Doyle – Chesterfieldian Entertainer
  • The Great Richards.

It also mentions the show played Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday. And in the margin between two clippings was a handwritten note that said “Worchester Mass.”

Image rotated horizontally for readability.

Analysis

Worchester Evening Gazette 27 Dec 1920 via Genealogy Bank.

My review of available online newspapers found an ad, via Genealogy Bank, from the Worchester Evening Gazette, 27 December 1920, that is almost identical. It advertised “Plaza – Let’s Go” and included the same vaudeville acts. Other newspaper issues and pages indicated that Donna’s show played at the Plaza in Worchester on December 27, 28, & 29, 1920.

That fills a gap I had in her show schedule from her playing at the Palace Theater in Hartford, CT, December 22-25 and playing the Plaza Theater in Bridgeport, CT, between 30 December 1929 and 1 January 1921.

Actions

  • I added the following to her list of shows:

December 27-29, 1924 – “Donna Montran and Her ‘Bathing Beauties’” played Plaza-Let’s Go in Worchester, MA.

  • There are four more clippings from the Donna Darling Collection which relate to this show. Additionally, I found six articles in three newspapers on Genealogy Bank that document the show even more. I will include them in detail when I write about this show in detail.

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 70

Two Strand Theaters

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
“As You Like It”
“Bathing Beauty Revue”

By Don Taylor

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”.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Strand. No Location is provided.
  • Date is not provided.
  • The show is “As You Like It.”

Analysis

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.

Conclusion

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.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Strand (somewhere near Albany, New York).
  • The date is not provided.
  • The show is “A Beach Promenade.”

Analysis

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

Strand Theatre

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.”

Key features:

  • The venue is the Strand, Amsterdam, New York.
  • Date is not provided.
  • The show is “California Bathing Beauties.”

Analysis

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.

Conclusion

January 31 – February 2, 1921 – Strand Theater (Amsterdam, NY) – Donna Montran and her “California Bathing Beauties.” DDC-70. (New Venue)


Endnotes & Sources

[i] IMBD After the Show (1921) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0011912/.

[ii] Cinema Treasures – Strand Theatre, 110 N. Pearl Street, Albany, NY 12207 http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/44094.

[iii] IMDB The Ghost in the Garret (1921) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0012214/.

[iv] Cinema Treasures – Strand Theatre, 133 E. Maine Street, Amsterdam, NY 12010. http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/37477.

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