“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 aka 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.
From The Whittier News, (Whittier, California) newspaper dated 30 June 1924.
The Whittier News – 28 June 1924
“Headlining is that rare beauty of the stage world, Miss Donna Darling, the young lady who recently took the beauty prize at the Hippodrome in New York. The lady is appearing in a charming little song and dance revue called ‘As You Like It’, and it is said that the singer wears a wonderfully exquisite gown, containing some 20,000+ pearls. In her support will be Jack Lewis, a comedian and pianist of note. Miss Darling’s clothes are particularly charming creations. She wears a colonial costume of gold cloth in which she sings some old favorites. The settings for this act are gorgeous and most expensive.”
Because of the newly available online article & advertising, I was able to add another venue for Donna’s “As You Like It” tour.
June 30, 1924 – Whittier, CA – Scenic Theatre – Donna Darling and Company presenting “As You Like It.”
The_Whittier_News_Sat__Jun_28__1924, Page 2, Column 4, “Things Theatrical” via Newspapers.Com.
The_Whittier_News_Mon__Jun_30__1924_, Page 15, Column 1, “Scenic Theatre” via Newspapers.Com.
The National Theater, Chico, California, Oct or November 1926.
For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at two clippings from the Donna Darling Collection. Both relate to the National Theater. The same movie and the same last act mentioned are the same. Other than this entry, I haven’t seen the “Ko-Ko Kwartette” singing “Sweet Adeline” before. That makes this show unique.
Luckily, one of the clips indicates that it comes from “The Chico Record,” so we know that the show played there. The “Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark” occurred in 1926. The show entered Southern California in early October 1926 and traveled north. On October 30th, the show played at the Modesto Theater and on November 3rd, the show had moved up the coast and played in Medford, Oregon. As such, it is clear this show occurred sometime between October 30th and November 3rd.
CHICO RECORD, CHICO, CALIFORNIA
National—The headline on to- vaudeville program at the National Theater is The Donna Darling Revue headed by Miss Darling, who won the title of “Musical Comedy Beauty,” in Madison Square Garden’s show and there’s Sammy Clark, known as the Juvenile Komik. Princess Winona, and Indian prima donna, sings modern and Indian songs. Billy Curtis and Lou Lawrence have a laughing skit called “Is that the Custom?” in which a lady traveler appears to claim her trunk from a hard boiled official. Zuhn & Dreis are a couple of “nut” comedians who, believing they are an amusement exhibit, adopt a placard billing called “Dementus Americanos,” habitat North America. Morel & Elynor introduce beauty, grace, and speed doing the “Charleston on Rollers.” The film feature is “The Road to Glory,” starring May McAvoy and Ford Stirling. The Ko-Ko-Kwartette sings “Sweet Adeline” for a real feast of humor.
(circa) November 1, 1926 – Chico, California – National Theater – Donna Darling Revue with Sammy Clark – DDC-64.
This week for Montran Monday[i], I found two short Montran mentions.
The first one is from the Redondo Reflex (Redondo, CA) dated 16 Sep 1921 on page 7.
Mrs. M. H. Babcock, of 304 Francisca avenue, is expecting her mother, Mrs. M. W. Montran, to be here shortly from her home in Los Angeles for a few days’ visit.
The second one is from the Redondo Reflex (Redondo, CA) dated 2 Dec 1921 on page 8.
Mrs. M. W. Montran, of Los Angeles, spent the weekend with her daughter, Mrs. H. B. Babcock.
From the two notes I learned:
In September 1921, Thelma M. (Montran) Babcock (wife of Minor Howard) lived at 304 Francisca Ave, Redondo, CA.
In September 1921, Maude was living in Los Angeles, CA.
In December 1921, Thelma was living in Redondo.
In December 1921, Maude was still living in Los Angeles.
[i] Montran Monday – My grandmother’s father was John Montran. She used the surname, as a young child and again when she began in show business. The name is uncommon and most of the Montrans I see in the newspapers are my grandmother during her early vaudeville career. However, with the constant flow of newly digitized material, I often learn of new articles which contain the Montran name. I pay attention to the finding and try to determine a possible relationship of any Montrans to Donna’s father, John Montran.