Donna Darling Collection – Part 68

Four Orpheum Theaters

Treasure Chest Thursday,
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at ten clippings from seven different pages. Nine of them relate to the Orpheum Theaters in various locations. But first, there was a “Donna Darling Review” trade advertisement. It clearly was a clipping from a magazine. It didn’t provide anything about a theater. It gives the title of their show and who the director was.

A Novel Revue in Five Scenes



Direction: Lew Holleb
Lew Goldberg Office, Chicago

I think I can use this ad as a graphic for the entire show period.


Next, there were two clippings of “California Motion Picture Bathing Beauties” featuring Donna Darling. The theater is the “Orpheum-Racine’s Play House Deluxe” and the date is Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving was the November 27th in 1924. I had already determined that Donna played at the Racine Orpheum theatre on Nov 27, 28, & 29, so I am able to add the date to these two clippings.

Des Moines

There are three clippings that show another Orpheum theater. They are identified as under “Direction of Alexander Frank.” Alexander Frank provided direction to several theaters in Iowa during the 1920s. One of those theaters was in Des Moines. I had already established that Donna played the Des Moines Orpheum on January 2nd to the 5th, 1927; so, I’m sure this show is the show the clippings are related to.

Tulsa & Oklahoma City

The last three items include an Orpheum Theater Program. There is no date nor location with it. However, another clipping shows the Orpheum theater with the same acts also on the bill and had hand-written on it “Tulsa Okla.” Also, is a short ad showing the Donna Darling Revue “this W’k, Orpheum, Tulsa & Oklahoma City, Okla.”

Donna played the Orpheum Theater in Oklahoma City on December 9, 1923 and the Orpheum in Tulsa on December 13-14, 1923. At first I thought this venue must have been one of these two. Further research on line found acts different from the ones in the clippings played on those dates. Finally, a search for “Sie Tehar Troup” found they played in Oklahoma City with the “Darling Revue” starting Thursday, 12 August 1926. It is possible the same group played in Tulsa sometime in August 1926, however, I have not been able to find any papers for that time period and location, yet.


November 27-29, 1924 – Racine, Wisconsin – Orpheum – Bathing Beauties with Donna Darling. – DDC-68

January 2-5, 1927 – Des Moines, IA – Orpheum – Donna Darling Revue – – Archives.Com – DCC-68 

Two New Venues Discovered:

August 12, 1926 – Oklahoma City, OK – Orpheum Theater.

August ??, 1926 – Tulsa, OK – Orpheum – Darling Revue – DDC-68

Donna in the News – Sweet Voice at the Orpheum

Donna Darling Revue

“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 of my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s. 

This week article and advertising are from the Tulsa Tribune (Tulsa, OK) newspaper dated December 14, 1923 (Page 14)



Theater: Broadway Orpheum. Vaudeville and Photoplay

… Donna Darling, the headliner, with a pair of snappy young dancers, presented a delightful musical comedy medley. The Darling’s voice was sweet and the setting and costuming of the act rich and beautiful. The soft show dancing of her partners and Darling’s singing were quite pleasing….


Advertising on the same page showed that Donna’s show included Murry Earle, “Her Dancing Fool” and Tod Watson, “Her Beau Brummel[i].” Also on the bill with her were:

      • Burns & Lynn – Tunes, Tickles and Taps
      • Four Bellhops – Comedy Novelty
      • Williams & Clarke – “Happiness”
      • The Luster Bros. – In a Unique and Extraordinary Novelty

There were three vaudeville shows each day – 3, 7, and 9 p.m.

The article and advertising are available via

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

December 13-14, 1923 – Tulsa, Oklahoma – Broadway Orpheum – Donna Darling and Revue. 


[i] A “Beau Brummel” is a dandy and a “dandy” is a man who gives exaggerated attention to personal appearance. Source: “Beau Brummell.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc.,  Accessed 22 December 2019.


Donna Darling Collection – Part 51

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from the Donna Darling Collection.

The first article is a short paragraph about “Dancing Girls at Orpheum”


Donna Darling and her dancing girls headline the Orpheum bill for the first half of the week. “Songs and Steps” is the title of Donna’s act.

The Golden Bird, a trained canary….

Interesting. I had never heard of that act, and there are so many Orpheum theatres, it is impossible to know where, or even when, this show was playing.

Next, is an ad for the Orpheum Theatre with The Golden Bird headlining the ad with Donna Darling and Girls being the finale act. Donna’s show is billed as “The Musical Comedy Beauty Assisted by a Bevy of Bewitching Enchantresses in Songs and Steps.” I’ve seen “Donna Darling and Girls” before. She began that show sometime between August and September 1924. The movie Another Scandal was released in June 1924, so the show had to have been after that.

Finally, a third article for the show provides all of the remaining desired information. It was the Orpheum Theatre, Oklahoma City, Okla., for the week of September 6th (Sunday through Wednesday). The program played Sunday thru Wednesday – September 6th thru September 9th 1925.

Key features:

  • The venue was the Orpheum Theatre in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. It is “The World’s Best Vaudeville”
  • The show was the “Donna Darling and Girls, The Musical Comedy Beauty in Songs in “Songs and Steps”
  • Also on the Bill
    • Fox News “Modern Whaling” an Educational.
    • “Another Scandal” featuring Lois Wilson and an all star cast.
    • Althea Lucas and Co. in “An Artistic Triumph.”
    • Chad and Monte Huber, Late of So Long Letty” co. in “Dance Divertisements.”
    • THE GOLDEN BIRD, The Canary of Almost Human Intelligence, presented by LORRAINE EVON, The Charming Violinist.
    • Pat Barrett and Nora Cunneen in “Looking for Fun.”


My schedule of Donna’s shows had a huge gap before this clipping. She played July 26th in Decatur Illinois and September 20th in Sedalia, Missouri. Now, it appears that she did a Great Plains tour that summer.

September 6th thru September 9th 1925 – Orpheum Theatre, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – Donna Darling and Girls.


Donna Darling Collection – Image DSCN1415.

Oklahoma County (OK) Clerk Records and Bertha Mariam White Burlison Gardner

Oklahoma County (OK) Clerk Records
I am amazed at what is available online today.  Documents I would have never thought to look for 10 years ago are now readily accessible online.  In my Burlison Project, I was seeking to know more about Bertha Mariam White Burlison Gardner. I knew she lived in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma much of her life. I did a Google search for: Oklahoma County Clerk.  I then found they have a searchable database of documents in their “ROAM” system. I searched for Bertha Burlison and found three documents.  The first one was warranty deed where she bought her house on Angel Drive in 1974. Later in 1974, there was an antenuptial agreement between Bertha and Jack Gardner wherein they agreed they would keep any property they have before the marriage as individuals, particularly citing Bertha’s home.  I found it very interesting to note that the notary for the document was Bertha’s son, Larry.  Apparently, they wanted to make sure that Bertha kept the house in the event that Bertha and Jack’s marriage didn’t work out.  Apparently, that concern didn’t last long.  Only six years later (1980) a warranty deed was signed by Bertha wherein she sold ½ of the property to Jack making him a joint tenant and giving him full survivorship rights to the property.

Besides learning a little about the family dynamics, I also learned that Bertha and Jack were married sometime after 17 Jun 1974 and before 10 Dec 1980, probably close to June 1974.

BC-05 – Bertha Mariam White Burlison Gardner (1926-2013)

Photo of Bertha Mariam Gardner from Dignity Memorial Obituaries
Bertha Mariam Gardner
Via Dignity Memorials

Bertha Mariam White was born on 2 April 1926, the sixth of eleven children of Eugene W. and Ruthie Lee (Dodd) White in Blanchard, McClain County Oklahoma.

The 1930 census shows the young Bertha living with her Father, mother, seven siblings, and her paternal grandmother, Georgia A. Shipley (White) in nearby Goldsby.

According to the 1940 census, in 1935 the family was living in the same place, not the same house, as they lived in 1940.

The 1940 census indicates 14-year-old Bertha living with her father, mother, seven siblings. Also living with them was her oldest sister’s husband in Victor Township, McClain county, Oklahoma.  I had a difficult time figuring out exactly where Victor Township is. Google doesn’t show it. Mapquest shows a Victor, OK that is far away from McClain county.  After some effort, I was able to find a map that showed where it was and then I could apply it to a more detailed map.  Victor Township is a larger than typical townDship 9×6 miles square (most townships are 6×6 miles square) that includes the towns of Dibble, Blanchard, and Cole.

Map: Crop of McClain County, Oklahoma showing Victor Township
Via OKGenWeb

Bertha married J.B. Burlison on 10 October 1942 in Dibble, OK. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Clay Richey who was the minister at Free Will Baptist Church. The marriage witnesses were Mr. & Mrs. H. H. Burlison (presumably J.B.’s oldest brother, Haskel Hollis Burlison and his wife).

Their first son, Larry Dean was born 26 September 1943 in Blanchard, OK.

They must have moved to Texas for a while because their second son was born there in 1951. She would have two more children for a total of four boys.

We lose track of J.B. and Bertha until 1955 when they appear in an Oklahoma city directory living at 2826 SW 43rd. J.B. is a driver for Transcon Lines.
They had moved to 3612 SE 15th, Del City before J.B. died in an auto accident New Year’s morning 1972.  He and Bertha had been married 29 years at the time of his death. J.B. is buried at Sunny Lane Cemetery in Del City, OK.

Before 1974, Bertha bought a home at 4013 Angela Drive, Del City.  Because in June of 1974 Bertha and her perspective husband signed an antenuptial agreement protecting her house from her new husband, Jack Earl Gardner, Jr.  I don’t know exactly when they were married, but certainly sometime in 1974.
In 1980, Bertha signed a warranty deed making them joint tenants of the house at 4013 Angela Drive giving Jack full rights of survivorship.

Family history indicates that the house on Angela Drive was destroyed in a tornado in 1999.

On 2 July 2000 Jack died. They had been married for 26 years. Jack Earl Gardner, Jr. is buried at Sunny Lane Cemetery in Del City, OK.

In September 2008, her oldest child, Larry died.

Bertha Mariam Gardner died on 5 November 2013. Services for her were held at Bill Eisenhour Southeast Chapel. Her obituary says she was to be buried in Sunny Lane Cemetery; however, I am not sure where. The marker for her first husband has her name and birthdate on it but has not been inscribed with a death date.  Her second husband’s marker doesn’t indicate anything. So, I need to contact the cemetery and see if their records indicate exactly where Bertha is buried, with her first husband without updating the marker or she may be buried elsewhere in the cemetery.

Lessons to Remember:

Always check for County Record repositories. They can provide invaluable information.

Further Research:

Determine exact date for Bertha and Jack’s marriage.
Determine Bertha’s burial location within Sunny Lane Cemetery.

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