Donna Darling Collection – Part 85

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection with Donna in her fashion coat.

Donna Darling.

Bathing Beauties of Movies Here in Revue at the Lincoln.

Bathing girls from various California motion picture studios will make a personal appearance in a colorful Hollywood revue at the Lincoln. This revue is a clever musical and dancing number which will show patrons that these versatile girls can do other things than merely making poses before the camera. Miss Donna Darling, who comes direct from the Mack Sennet studios, is the charming star who introduces the bathing beauties dressed in bathing costumes dating from 1860 to the present day. Bettl [sic] Bryant is the “Miss America of 1925.’’ Bathing costumes of various countries and fashionable seashore centers are introduced. Chief among these number is Mildred O’Brian, who appears as the beauty from Palm Beach. Miss Darling’s life guards, Murry Earl and Al Ross, add comedy to the Egyptian dance, while Petite Clarice Allyn as the Chinese bathing girl enhances the program with clever toe dancing.

Elaborate costumes have been selected for this sparkling revue. The music is snappy and the production has brilliant scenic and lighting effects.

Key features:

  • The venue is the Lincoln; however, neither a city nor state is provided.
  • No date is provided; however, Betty Bryant is “Miss America of 1925” indicating that the show was in 1925.
  • Other cast members included
    • Betty Bryant
    • Mildred O’Brian
    • Murry Earl
    • Al Ross
    • Clarice Allyn


Donna Darling and Girls is known to have played at the Lincoln Theatre in Belleville, Illinois, on 6 October 1925. She also played there in 1924 and 1926 with different shows, so the Lincoln Theatre in Belleville was well known to her.

The Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, IL) paper dated 6 October 1925, Page 9[i], mentions Donna Darling and girls in their “Song and Dance Revue” were at the Lincoln.

A further review of Genealogy Bank, Newspaper Archives, Elephind, Chronicling America, and the Byron Public Library District at Advantage Preservation failed to provide any additional potential venues for Donna at “the Lincoln” during 1925.


Tentatively, I ascribe this clipping to her playing at the Lincoln in Belleville, IL, on 6 October 1925.


[i] The Belleville News-Democrat (Belleville, Illinois) 06 Oct 1925, TuePage 9 – Via

Donna Darling Collection – Part 84

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.This week, for Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Collection. The page includes three clippings, all relating to the Grand Theater.

The Grand

This is the first week of the Grand’s new and permanent policy of offering a program of pictures and vaudeville at popular prices and judging from the reception accorded the entertainment yesterday by the patrons it should develop Into a successful institution. The Hollywood motion picture bathing girls present the variety entertainment, while the screen’s chief feature is a Monty Banks full length comedy, “Racing Luck.”

“The Evolution of the Bathing Suit” is what the Hollywood organization, of which Donna Darling is the star, calls its revue. The schedule is opened by a magnetic little miss who calls herself the poet or the show. She introduces Miss- Darling, who sings a song about the girl of 1860, to be followed by three girls who dance in bathing costumes of that period. Betty Bryant dances as the modern girl, Alice Louise is the Bowery type, Clarice Allyn the Chinese bather, Jerry Jean the Atlantic City model, Nattie Norine the Palm Beach stroller and Tom Watson and Al Ross as the life guards.

There are few slow moments in the production, the dancing is varied and pleasing and the singing of Miss Darling, who wears some beautiful costumes, is well worth the applause it receives. There is a hula dancer who is the most interesting hula dancer we have seen in front of the footlights of a Terre Haute theater this season, and the team of Watson and Ross is excellent in its eccentric creations. The show, as a whole, is a well-balanced piece.

The Grand orchestra, under the direction of George Jacob, violinist, who has Cliff Lowe, his pianist, as his trusty right-hand man, surprises one with its skill in handling the musical score of the show.

Along with the article is an advertisement and a photo of Donna with her beautiful cloak.  Both of the clippings also mention she is at the Grand Theatre.

Key features:

    • Venue: Grand Theatre in Terre Haute.
    • Cast: Betty Bryant, Alice Louise, Clarice Allyn, Jerry Jean, Nattie Norine Tom Watson, and Al Ross.
    • Also on bill:
      • The movie: “Racing Luck” with Monty Banks.


According to Wikipedia[i], Racing Luck with Monty Banks was released on 11 May 1924, so the show needed to be after that.

Donna began her Bathing Girl Review in the fall of 1924 and played at Indiana theatres from February through May of 1925. My uncle Russell’s research indicated that Donna played in Terre Haute, IN, on 18 April 1925. I do not know where he got this information; however, this date fits in nicely with Donna’s itinerary being in Rushville, IN, on 26 March and Vincennes, IN, on 27 April.

Cinema Treasures indicates the Grand Opera House opened in 1907 and changed its name to the Grand Theatre when movies replaced live entertainment. This clipping shows that the name had changed by 1925 when it switched to having a film and vaudeville mix.

Terre Haute Saturday Spectator, 11 April 1925, Page 10. (via Newspaper Archives)

The 11 April Saturday Spectator[ii] ran an ad for The Grand Theatre showing the “Hollywood Motion Picture Bathing Girls featuring Donna Darling” to run all week starting Sunday. That ad suggests her show ran from 12 April to the 18th. Really interesting is that the Saturday Spectator of 18 April says that, “The Donna Darling Company will continue on the bill the remainder of the week. A change in songs, dances and costumes was made Thursday.” I had no idea that the show changed during the middle of a run.


During the week of 12-18 April 1925, Donna’s “Evolution of the Bathing Suit” played at the Grand Theatre in Terre Haute, Indiana.


[i] Wikipedia: Racing Luck (1924 film)

[ii] Terre Haute Saturday Spectator, April 11, 1925, Page 10 (Via Newspaper Archives).

Donna Darling Collection – Part 79

Terrace Theatre – Beautiful Bathing Girls

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a second clipping from the Donna Darling Collection relating to the Terrace Theater.


Miss Donna Darling, star with Beautiful Bathing Girls from the Motion Picture Studios, now playing at the Terrace theatre.

The stellar act at the Terrace theatre the first of the week is the Beautiful Bathing girls from the Moving Picture Studios, headed by Donna Darling. Fashions in bathing suits from 1860 down to the present are shown by these girls, who also give a good account of themselves in several dance numbers. Probably the largest early week night audience in many fonths [sic] witness the performance Monday night. Two other good acts and a feature picture, “So This Is Marriage,” complete the Terrace bill.

The silent film, “So This Is Marriage,” was released in 1924, confirming that this showing was from 1924 or 1924 and not any of Donna’s earlier Bathing Beauty shows.

Cinema Treasures reports there were 41 Terrace theatres in the United States. Thirty-seven of them opened after 1925. One was in Vallejo, California; Donna didn’t tour the west coast with this show. One, the Airdome, was a second listing for the Terrace in Danville, Illinois. The last one was the Terrace Theatre in Chicago. This is clearly a clipping from her show at one of the two locations, either Danville or Chicago.

Because Donna played the Empress Theatre in Chicago in October 1924, I suspect that this clipping is from her probable show in Danville in October 1924.

Key features:

  • The venue was the Terrace Theatre in (Probably Danville, Illinois) but possibly Chicago.
  • The show was the “Beautiful Bathing Girls from the Motion Picture Studios” staring Donna Darling.

Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online for Danville, Illinois.


Date Unknown (Fall 1924- Spring 1925) – Danville, IL, Hollywood Revue of Bathing Beauties.

Donna Darling Collection – Part 78

Terrace Theatre – Bathing Beauties

Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at a clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

Terrace Theatre – Attendance Records Smashed, circa 1925

Cinema Treasures reported 41 Terrace theatres in the united states, but only one of them in a city named Danville – Danville, IL. Donna appears to have had two trips into Illinois with her Bathing Beauties, once in the fall of 1924 (September) and again in January/February 1925. So this show must have been from one of those periods.

This clipping is particularly interesting because it names the other girls in the show.

  • Betty Bryant of Ziegfield’s – A Prize Winner.
  • Mildred O’Brien – In Singing and Dancing.
  • Alyce Louyse – A Bather From Mars.
  • Clarice Allyn – Petite Toe Dancer.
  • May Walker – Blue Singer and Beach Flirt

It also mentions Murray Earl as Comedian.

Key features:

  • The venue was the Terrace Theatre in Danville, Illinois.
  • The show was the “California Motion Picture – Big Hollywood Reue of Bathing Beauties, featuring Donna Darling.

Finally, a review of the newspapers of the time yielded none currently available online for Danville, Illinois.


Date Unknown (Probably Fall 1924or Spring 1925) – Danville, IL – Terrace Theatre – Hollywood Revue of Bathing Beauties.

Donna in the News – The Indiana Theater, Bedford, IN

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

This week from the Bedford Daily Times, (Bedford, Indiana) dated April 30th thru May 2nd, 1925.

I didn’t see any articles; however, there were ads for Donna’s show three days in a row.

Because of those newly available online articles, I was able to add another venue for Donna’s 1925 Bathing Girl Revue. The new venue added to her career list: “April 30 – May 2, 1925 – Indiana Theater – Bedford, IN – Bathing Girl Revue featuring beautiful Donna Darling.”

My thanks to for their continuous efforts to digitize newspapers and their alert capability.

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