I’m looking at a second advertising sheet from the Donna Darling Collection Treasure Chest. The sheet includes photos of Donna, Sammy, and two or three other people. It contains the same pictures of Donna and Sammy that I looked at last week in Part 90 – Donna Darling & Sammy Clark Booked Solid
In all of the Darling and Clark Revue advertisements, Hal Dixon is the most common name associated with the show. I am pretty sure the man in the cameo must be Hal Dixon. I don’t think that it is Donna in the center square. I am also not positive that the man in the square is Hal either. The eyebrows look right, but the eyes look lighter in the dance pose. Also, the part of the hair is very different, and it seems to me the lips are different.
The same photos of Sammy and Donna as last week.
An additional image that I presume to be of Hal Dixon.
Another photo of two more people in the cast. Possibly Hal Dixon and (unlikely) Donna.
This advertising flyer is probably from April 1929.
The Donna Darling and Sammy Clark Revue began in April 1926. The act included Babe Barrington, Hal Dixon, and Steve Lazur. These five people are the only ones I’ve seen the names for in this Revue. However, this flyer suggests that two other people may have been in the show.
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 several vaudeville clippings from three different pages of the Donna Darling Collection. All of them relate to the Colonial Theater. One to the Colonial Theater in Lancaster, PA. The second one the Colonial Theater in Washington DC, and the third Colonial theater in Detroit, MI. Determining the various locations and dates was challenging but led to new words for my vocabulary and some amazing finds.
Lancaster, PA – Colonial Theater
The first venue was easy to analyze. Donna wrote on the clipping “Lancaster Pa Apr. 15.” It appears that she also wrote “Intelligence.” but I have no idea what that might mean in this context.
Colonial – Keith Vaudeville – Best in the World Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday—April 17, 18, 19 Special Easter Show Miss Donna Daring and Co…. Bruce Morgan and Tom Moran, Valentine Vox, Transfield Sisters, [Movie] “Haunted Spooks: A Two-reel Lloyd Comedy…
PROGRAM AT COLONIAL STARTS WITH WHIRL
Yesterday’s, today’s and tomorrow’s program at the Colonial Theatre, opened with a whirl at last evening’s show. “A Song, A Dance and a Cocktail,” was the feature of the show. Miss Dona Darling eclipsed the limelight in brightness, wit and personality of exceptional quality combined with a vein of rascality that had the audience in constant bursts of amusement.
The rest of the program….
Donna Darling and Company was a show that she had during 1922. A quick check of a 1922 calendar confirmed that April 17th, 18th, and 19th, were Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday in 1922. Then on Cinema Treasures, I confirmed that there was once a Colonial Theater in Lancaster, PA. It opened before 1914 and later became the Boyd Theater. Besides the newspaper ad there were two short write-ups regarding the show. This was a new date and location for me. Of particular interest is that the newspaper clearly says, “Donna Daring.” This is a new search parameter for me to use in the future.
Washington, DC – Colonial Theater
Colonial Theater – Two Shows 2 P.M., 7:30 Tom Rooney Presents Donna Montran and Her California Bathing Beauties presenting “A Classy Beach Promenade” An Up to the Minute Musical Tabloid A Carload of Scenery and Fetching Costumes
Also, on the bill:
Little Dolly Dimples and her “Man O’ Wars Man”
Taylor & Brown – Daring Doings Herbert Trainor – Pleasing Magic Davis & Kidaire “Make ‘em Smile Boys” [Movie] Alice Calhoun Vtagraph [sic] Favorite in Princess Jones (6 Parts)
The second clipping was dated March 15th. Donna still went by Montran and she did her California Bathing Beauties in 1921. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of March 1921 were the 14th, 15th, and 16th. Her mentioning it was the Washington papers that the ad ran in, tightens the location to the Colonial Theater in Washington, DC.
Detroit, MI – Colonial Theater
Featured in Vaudeville
The following features are announced for the week by the leading vaudeville houses:
Temple –May Wirth….
Colonial – A beautifully stages singing and dancing act in a futuristic version of the nether regions[ii], offered by Donna Darling, former Follies performer, is to headline the vaudeville. Miss Darling and Sammy Clark are both well known stars of terpischore[iii] and are assisted in the act by Barring, Lazure and Hal Dixon. Other acts include…. The Colonial announces a special New Year’s eve show, starting at midnight.
This third clipping confused me a bit. I misread the last sentence which says, “The Colonial announces a special New Year’s eve show, starting at midnight.” I misread that it to mean the special show was while Donna was playing there. I searched and searched for a place that had both a Temple Theater and a Colonial Theater. I could only find two places, Chicago and Detroit. Being in Detroit during the holidays made sense as Donna’s mother lived there. I found she played at the Palace Theater in Rockford during Christmas and at the Orpheum in Des Moines in New Years. During my search I used many new search parameters to look for Donna. I ended up finding well over a hundred new dates and venues. It was truly amazing what I found. I have added the new dates and venues to my Donna Montran page.
I eventually came to the conclusion that the note regarding a New Year’s Eve show doesn’t apply to Donna’s show.
Three new dates and venues directly identified because of Donna’s Colonial Theater clippings.
Mar 14-16, 1921 – Washington, DC – Colonial Theatre – Donna Montran and her California Bathing Beauties. DDC Part 27
April 17-19, 1922 – Lancaster, PA – Colonial – Donna Daring and Co., DDC Part 27
December 19, 1926 – Detroit, Michigan – Colonial – Donna Darling Revue – DDC Part 27 – Also see: Genealogy Bank
There were also over 100 new dates and performance venues I discovered while doing this research. They have been applied to the Donna Montran Vaudeville Page.
Genealogy Bank was used extensively during this research.
Further search my newspaper sources for “Donna Daring.”
[i] I have cropped and sized all images for the web – Original scan’s available.
[ii] Wikipedia – Hell, the Underworld, or any place of darkness or eternal suffering
[iii] [sic] “terpischore” should be terpsichore – Wikipedia – In Greek mythology, Terpsichore (/tərpˈsɪkəriː/; Τερψιχόρη) “delight in dancing” was one of the nine Muses and goddess of dance and chorus. She lends her name to the word “terpsichorean” which means “of or relating to dance”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terpsichore
We know Donna played in Warren, PA, in early May, but don’t know where she, Sammy, and Hal Dixon were until the played at Poli’s Theater in Bridgeport, CT from June 30 until July 2, 1927.[i][ii]
From the advertising it is clear that the movies had taken over. Irene Rich in a Warner Bros. silent feature, “The Climbers” was top billing. Even for the opening night, the “Donna Darling Revue” was promoted after “Amateur Night” in the “Amusements” article regarding what was playing at the Poli, which read:
AMATEURS TONIGHT AT POLI’S VAUDEVILLE
In addition to the amateur presentations tonight, Poli’s Vaudeville theater offers a splendid new program today.
Irene Rich leads an all-star cast through the screen version of the stage success “The climbers.” Commander Byrd’s start over the Atlantic is in Pathe News and a short Mack Sennett comedy completes the photoplay bill.
Heading the vaudeville contingent is Stan Stanley and company in a bit of farce, hokum and burlesque. The captain Boys present their six beautiful fashionettes in an elaborate dance act. Modern Vaudeville Frolics includes Donna Darling, Sammy Clark and Hal Dixon; Watts and Reingold in “Their Own Way,” and William Moore as “The Chef” contribute entertainment of high caliber.[iii]
I’m still searching for other Donna Darling showings during 1927. This may have been her last show in 1927 as her son, Russell, was born less than two months later. I do know she played in Mount Carmel, PA in April 1928.
Poli’s was, in some ways, kind of an early multiplex. Built in 1922 by Sylvester Z Poli, the Palace and Majestic Theaters were separate theaters within the same building complex separated by the Savoy Hotel. The Poli Palace was the larger of the two theaters and was the largest theater in Connecticut until 1975[iv]. According to Historic Buildings of Connecticut, Mae West also played the Poli Palace in 1927.[v] The Majestic Theater closed in 1971 and the Palace Theater closed in 1975. The theater has been vacant for 40 years and the city is hoping to redevelop the property.