“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(Freeport, Ill.) newspaper dated August 4, 1926, I learned that Donna played at the Lindo Theatre
Pages 5 and 14 of the paper had clippings showing the Donna Darling Revue was at the Lindo “Tonight and Tomorrow.” It looks like she may have been the only vaudeville show along with a 50-minute silent comedy thriller, “The Savage,” starring Ben Lyon and May McAvoy.
I’m looking at an advertising sheet from the Donna Darling Collection for Treasure Chest Thursday. The sheet includes photos of Donna and Sammy. It appears it may have been for “The Artist’s Paper.” It mentions that Donna Darling and Sammy Clark booked solid – Orpheum and Affiliated Circuits in their new Revue, assisted by Babe Barring, Hal Dixon, and Steve Lazur.
Photos of Sammy and Donna.
Their act was in the Orpheum Circuit
Also in the act were Babe Barrington, Hal Dixon, and Steve Lazur.
The Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark started in April 1926. Their first show together was on April 8, 1926, at Keeney’s Livingston Theatre in Brooklyn, New York.
The Orpheum Circuit was a chain of vaudeville theaters that operated through 1927. It merged with the Keith-Albee-Orpheum corporation and later became part of RKO (Radio-Keith-Orpheum). The Orpheum Circuit was a booking agency that worked to assure similar acts weren’t on the playbill simultaneously and that shows were only at one theater during a season. If Donna and Sammy were in the Orpheum Circuit, I would expect they would likely only play theaters in that system.
The act included Babe Barrington, Hal Dixon, and Steve Lazur. It appears the three joined the Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark began in April 1926.
Donna Darling Collection – Part 89. Barring, Lezure, & Hal Dixon on the piano were mentioned in a clipping from August or September 1926 when they played at the Novelty Theater, Topeka, Kansas.
Donna in Bridgeport, CT, at Poli’s – June 30-July2, 1927. Hal Dixon appears to be part of “Modern Vaudeville Frolics” that played at Poli’s in Bridgeport, Connecticut, June 30-July 2, 1927. However, it seems that may have been a one-time title for the show, and it was the Donna Darling Review in May and later in July 1927.
This advertising flyer is probably from April 1926.
Besides Donna and Sammy, the act was assisted by Babe Barrington (Possibly Barring), Hal Dixon, and Steve Lazur (or Lazure). Hal Dixon played piano for the Donna Darling Review.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Thursday, I’m looking at two clippings from one page of the Donna Darling Collection. There is both an ad and a text write-up. The good news is that a handwritten note above the clippings is “Topeka Kans.”
The ad shows three show times, 3:00—7:30—9:15, at the Novelty Theater.
The show is the “Dona [sic] Darling Revue with Sammy Clark in a riot of beauty and comedy singing and dancing.”
The clip also mentions four other acts in the program, Pathe News, and a Screen Comedy.
The text advertising write-up reads:
AT THE NOVELTY The First Half.
An entirely different bill of vaudeville will be on at the Novelty the first three days of the week. Col Mack believes in “mixing them” and avoiding “that sameness.” This season he will not only mix the attractions on every bill but he will make every possible effort to make each bill “different.”
The feature of the first half will be the Donna Darling Revue, with Miss Darling “The Musical Comedy Beauty,” and Sammy Clark the “Juvenile Komic,” making merry both on their own and because of their absolute dissimilarity. The revue is filled with song and dance number of just the sort that are demanded by vaudeville patrons. Donna and Sammy are supported in the act by the team of Barring and Lazure with Hal Dixon featured at the piano.
The program as usual will be started by the newest movie news….
The venue is the Novelty Theater in Topeka, Kansas.
None of the other shows on the bill are named.
Donna and Sammy began their show together about May 1926 in New York. The show headed west to Michigan and Ontario. In July, it was in Illinois and Ohio. In August, it headed west to Illinois and Oklahoma. After a short return to Illinois, they headed west again for Colorado, Texas, and Arizona in September. After several months in the west, they returned to the Midwest (Iowa) in January 1927. I haven’t found any dates or venues for Donna and Sammy in Kansas; however, they had to have played in Kansas in August or September 1926.
Cinema Treasures indicates that the Novelty Theatre opened in Topeka, Kansas, in 1908. After Donna played there, it became the Dickinson Theatre, then closed in 1988 and was demolished in 1993.
New Venue: August or September 1926 – The Novelty Theater, Topeka, Kansas – Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark.
I have set up alerts for “Donna Darling” and “Sammy Clark” in Kansas during 1926 at Newspapers.com and Genealogy Bank.
I added a task to check NewspaperArchives and Elephind (Library of Congress) every year for new postings.
“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspaper articles and advertising regarding my grandmother, Madonna Montran (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’s article is from the Santa Barbara Daily News (Santa Barbara, CA), dated October 15th, 1926[i].
The ad doesn’t mention Donna, but Page 13 does have a brief mention of the shows at the Mission; it says:
The Mission will offer a very entertaining and jazzy program today and Saturday, headed by “The Donna Darling Review.”
“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’s clipping is from The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kansas), dated 2 December 1923. It and several other clippings can be added to Donna’s history.
THE NEW THEATER BILLS
VAUDEVILLE. Matinee and night. Two shows Saturday night. Blossom Seeley headlining bill opening Monday matinee for three days.
Blossom Seeley calls her medium of expression “Miss Syncopation.” Evidently she…
Billy McDermott, who bills himself as “The only Survivor of Coxey’s Army,” is a tramp…
Donna Darling is a musical comedy ingenue. With a capable supporting company, Miss Darling offers a dazzling dance fantasy called “A Song and Dance Romance.”
This clipping and the associated advertisements show Donna played at the Orpheum Theater in Wichita, Kansas, on December 3rd, 4th, and 5th, 1923.