“Chin-Chin” at Hippodrome, Pottsville, PA on April 26 & 27, 1920.

Donna and “Chin Chin” play at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, Pennsylvania on 24 & 25 April 1920.

Donna Montran
Vaudeville
Chin Chin

My grandmother, Donna Montran, joined the cast of the vaudeville show “Chin Chin” on October 30, 1919, and toured with the production until the production ended playing on May 31, 1920.  

Before the cast of “Chin-Chin” arrived at Pottsville, they had had a tough series of one-night shows and were probably pleased to have off on Sunday, April 25th before playing at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, PA. Also pleasing to the cast had to have been they would play at Pottsville for two days in a row.

“The Hippodrome” that must be the place where Hippo’s roam. That sounds good but isn’t right. The word “Hippodrome” comes from a Greek word, hippos, which means horse, and dremon, meaning path or way.[i] I doubt very much that horses ever raced at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, however, Mademoiselle Falloffski surly rode her horse in circles on stage during the production of “Chin-Chin” at the Hippodrome.

Continue reading ““Chin-Chin” at Hippodrome, Pottsville, PA on April 26 & 27, 1920.”

Donna Darling Collection – Part 56

Majestic (Harrisburg, PA) and York Opera House (York, PA)

Treasure Chest Thursday
Vaudeville
Donna Darling & Boys
By Don Taylor

For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at three clippings from one page (0110) of the Donna Darling Collection.

Majestic Theatre

The first two clippings relate to Donna’s playing at the Majestic Theatre.

The first is a simple ad.

MAJESTIC
The Talk of the Town

Frederick V. Bowers
Popular Musical Comedy
Star and Song Writer,
In His
The first is a simple ad.
With a Bevy of Pretty Girls
— — —
COMING THURSDAY
Another Musical ComedFavorite
DONNA DARLING & BOYS

Sadly, nothing in this ad indicates which of the many Majestic Theatres this was nor does it indicate when. Luckily, an accompanying clipping on the same page provides a likely location and date for the show.

Majestic Theatre,
Harrisburg Pennsylvania
Week of April 3, 1922

MAXINE & BOGGY
The Comedy Dog

STEIFF PIANOS used in this Theatre

Spencer—CASE & MAYNE—Edith
In
“I WOULDN’T DO THAT”

Beautiful Musical Comedy Favorite
MISS DONNA DARLING & CO.
Assisted by Murry Walker and Jack Finney
In a Song and Dance Cocktail
“AS YOU LIKE IT”

MORGAN & MORGAN
“Making you Laugh”

MELODY LAND
In
Abbreviated “VARIETIES”
A Cycle Of
Songs and Dances
With
White and Mills
Juliet Beaumont
Kathleen Harrington
Ethel Cook
Assisted by

Olga Sirlis……………….Pianist
Martha Conwell …… Saxophonist
Charlotte Maloney…Violinist
Verna Dorn …………… Drummer
Scenery by Robert Law Studio
Staged by Douglas Royce

Newspaper articles, found at Genealogy Bank, confirmed that Donna played at the Majestic in Harrisburg on April 6th, 7th, and 8th. Also, in the Harrisburg Patriot on April 4th was the same ad in the clippings.

York Opera House

The third clipping is part of a York Opera House show.  No date is provided, but articles at Newspapers.Com confirmed that Donna played at the York Opera House in York, Pennsylvania, on April 3rd to 5th. The clipping shows many of the same acts seen in the Majestic clipping.

In place of Case & Mayne is:

Ralph                 Jim
KITNER AND REANEY
In “An Ocean Episode”

And in place of Morgan & Morgan was:

Lorraine         Verna
HOWARD & SADLER
Presenting their Harmonious
Comedy Songalogue
“Wedding Belles”

Program items A and B are missing in both the clippings, it appears that all other filler films started the two showings. For example, at the York Opera House, instead of “Case & Mayne” and “Morgan and Morgan” was the last chapter of “Breaking Through” and “Aesop’s Fables.”

Conclusion

The “Life of Madonna Montran” was updated with the following:

April 3-5, 1922 – York, PA – York Opera House – Donna Darling & Boys – News May 2019. DDC-56.

April 6-8, 1922 – Harrisburg, PA – Majestic Theatre – Donna Darling & Boys (Murry Walker & Jack Finney) in “As You Like It.” – Genealogy Bank – DDC-56.

Actions

  • Write about Donna playing in York, PA, and the York Opera House.
  • Write about Donna playing in Harrisburg, PA, and the Majestic Theatre.

Sources

  • Clipping: Majestic Theatre – Harrisburg, PA – Coming Thursday – SCAN0110
  • Clipping: Majestic Theatre, Harrisburg, PA – Week of Apr 3, 1922 – SCAN0110
  • Clipping: York Opera House – SCAN0110
  • Genealogy Bank – The Patriot (Harrisburg, PA) dated 4 April 1922, Page 14.
  • Genealogy Bank – The Patriot (Harrisburg, PA) dated 7 April 1922, Page 18.
  • Newspapers.Com – The York Daily Record (York, PA) dated 5 April 1922, Page 9.

Donna – Rajah Theatre – Reading, PA – 24 Apr 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played at the Rajah Theatre in Reading, PA, on 24 April 1920 

Donna Montran
Chin Chin
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.We know that April, 1920, was a grueling month for the “Chin Chin” cast. On April 22nd they played Frederick, MD. On the 23rd they traveled the 65 miles north to Carlisle, played there one night then on the 80 miles to Reading for another two shows – a matinee and an evening show.

Preshow Advertising

The Reading Eagle – April 18, 1920, Page 16

The first advertising I found was in the Reading Eagle, starting on April 18th. There was a standard ad on page 16, along with a lengthy article about the show.[i]

RAJAH THEATRE

“CHIN CHIN”

Coming to the Rajah Theatre matinee and night, Saturday, April 24,  Charles Dillinghan’s “Chin Chin,” the musical comedy which is one of those tales of love and wishing common to the Arabian Nights.

The Reading Eagle – April 18, 1920, Page 16

All impossibilities are crowded into it, jumbled together like the figures in a dream in the end it resolves itself into a vehicle for the display of the clever grotesqueries of the two clever “turn” artists, Walter Wills and Roy Binder. Mr Wills, whose body seems made of rubber, and whose facial expressions change as quickly as the wheel of fortune gives Chin Hop It Paderewsky, Mlle Falloffski, a gendarme and a ventriloquist, transformations accompanied by such curious tricks and poses such tumbling, dancing, imitating such a running fire of jokes and fun-making that the audience fairly screams with laughter. Mr. Binder gives in rapid succession Chin Hop Lo, the widow, a coolie, and the ringmaster, lightning changes of mood, manner and get-up that provide the audience to mirth. George Usher makes an aggregable and picturesque Aladdin.

The danseuse is Irene McKay, and astonishing acrobatic and step performer whose twinkling feet are full of speed and syncopation. Her number with Mr. Willis entitled “Dance Poetic,” is a remarkable performance ending with a surprise to the audience.

The favorite songs are “The Chinese Honeymoon,” “Good-bye Girls,” “I’m Through” “Volet,” “The Gray Dove,” and “Love Moon.” The most recalled dance and song numbers are the “Teddy Bear Dance,” (without words), “Go Gar Sing Gong-Jue,” “Temple Bells,” The Rag of Rags,” and “Bally Moony.”

The clever saxophone sextette by Tom Brown’s Clown Band is one of the most amusing and delightful bits of the play. The company is one of the largest organizations presenting a musical comedy on the road today. There girls and girls.

There were adds and articles daily in the Reading Eagle or the Reading Times from the 18th through the 23rd. I did not see any that called out Donna directly, but a couple mentioned “Love Moon” being sung, which was a song sung by the Goddess of the Lamp (Donna’s role).

Next Stop

It is likely that the “Chin Chin” cast had off on Sunday, April 26th. However, the show must go on and it played at the Hippodrome in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.

Rajah Theatre

The Rajah Theatre between 1917 and 1921
Photo courtesy “Go Reading Berks”

The Rajah Theatre was initially built in the 1800s as a market with a Masonic Temple on its upper floors. It was built on a potter’s field of a cemetery. Although the cemetery interred were supposed to be reinterred at another location, in the early 1800s there were still 30 uncovered during the building during 1873.[ii]  It was converted to a theatre in 1886 and became the Academy of Music.

The 1913 Theatrical Guide indicates that the Academy of Music had a seating capacity of 1,341 – 795 on the Main Floor, 341 in the Balcony, and 206 in the Gallery. Besides the Academy, there were four other theaters in Reading at the time, the Orpheum, Hippodrome, Lyric, and Palace Theatres.

In 1917, The Academy of Music was purchased by the Rajah Shriners, renamed the Rajah Theatre, and became the vaudeville house that “Chin Chin” played at.

Rahah Theatre after the 1921 fire. Photo Courtesy of George M. Meiser IS via Reading Eagle [iii]

In May 1921[iv] the Rajah burned and underwent substantial rebuilding. The theatre reopened on September 10, 1922.

The theater had two more fires, both in 1935, but recovered quickly from them.[v]

In 2000, the building received a $7 million facelift and became the Sovereign Performing Arts Center (named for Sovereign Bank). Today, it is the Santander Performing Arts Center (for the Santander Bank) and is home for the Reading Symphony Orchestra, the Reading Civic Opera Society, and hosts a variety of events.[vi]

Specifications for the Academy of Music (Rajah Theatre)[vii]

  • Proscenium opening: 35.5×32 ft
  • Front to back wall: 32 ft
  • Between side walls: 76 ft
  • Apron 2 ft
  • Between fly girders: 45 ft
  • To rigging loft: 55 ft
  • To fly gallery: 30 ft
  • 10 Dressing rooms

Today

Today, the Rajah Theatre is the Santander Performing Arts Center.

Disclaimer

The ads and some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” If you purchase after clicking on them, I will receive a small commission which will help me pay for this site. Please see my Disclaimer Page for more information. Continue reading “Donna – Rajah Theatre – Reading, PA – 24 Apr 1920”

Donna Darling Collection – Part 53

Shamokin – Donna appears after “Baby Marie Osborne”

Treasure Chest Thursday

By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at a page from the Donna Darling Collection. The page includes two articles, one newspaper banner, and five tiny clips.

The two articles both appear to be from the Shamokin Daily News, Friday, February 10, 1922, but they might be a day apart.

BABY OSBORNE HEADS STRONG PROGRAM AT THE STRAND

BABY OSBORNE HEADS STRONG PROGRAM AT THE STRAND

This article talks about “Baby Marie Osborne,” at length, before it begins to talk about Donna or any of the other shows. The section about Donna reads,

“Miss Donna Darling, former musical comedy star, who is appearing on the Keith bill at the Strand the last three days of the week, has one of the most appealing and enjoyable musical and dancing acts seen here this season. Miss Darling is all that her name implies in appearance and ability and is supported by two talented young men, both of whom are gifted dancers and vocalists. The stage settings are among the most elaborate seen here this winter while Miss Darling’s vocal selections appeal to people of all ages.”

The “last three days of the week,” in this case, means February 9th, 10th, and 11th.

A second article,

FAMOUS CHILD ACTRESS HEADS THE STRAND PROGRAM

FAMOUS CHILD ACTRESS HEADS THE STRAND PROGRAM

also talks about Baby Marie Osborne before mentioning Donna. The Donna part reads,

“Another widely known star of the stage appearing on the same program is Miss Donna Darling, former musical comedy star and who is now on the Keith circuit in a high class vaudeville revue I which she is most popular as well as pleasing.”

With Donna at the Strand are

  • Baby Marie Osborne
  • Frank Markey (the “Banjo Boy”)
  • Coogan and Casey (Song act)
  • Crumley and Jones (Comedians)

Along with the two larger articles on the page are five small clippings, some of which are cut off (I use the symbol of “}|” to indicate the place where the image was cut off.)

ELMIRA (First Half) – Jean & White – Hunniford – Donna Darling Co.—Manuel Romaine Co.—At the Party.

ITHACA (Second Half)—Homer Romaine—Peel & Corvan—Donna Darling Co.—Gobson & Price—At the Party.

OLE}|
(First Half)—Crowden’s }|
&Casey—Alf Grant—Don}|

WHEELING
(First Half)—Hunniford—Harr}|
mings—Donna Darling Boys—Co}|
—Murray Kissen Co.

NEW CASTLE (Second Half)—Polli Cassi Co.—Hunniford—Ahern & Peterson{|
Donna Darling Co.

Analysis

I have long known that Donna played in Elmira the January 28th thru 31st, 1922.

I knew she played in Ithaca on Feb 2nd. The “Second Half” would indicate that she was in Ithaca on February 2nd thru the 4th. That added two new days to my schedule for Donna.

I have known that Donna played in Olean Feb 13-15, which would be the first half of that week.

I have never had a record of Donna playing in Wheeling. The clipping’s placement seems to be between Olean, NY, and New Castle, PA. The first half of the week following Olean would be February 20, 21, & 22. The rest of that week would be 23, 24, and 25, February for her to have been in New Castle, PA.

So, thanks to this page of the Donna Darling Collection, I learned of two new venues for Donna’s schedule.

  • Feb 9-11, 1922 – Shamokin, PA – The Strand – Donna Darling
  • Feb 20-22, 1922 – Wheeling WV – Unknown Theatre – Donna Darling Boys

Sources

Donna Darling Collection – Image SCAN0087.

Donna in the News – New July 8th 2019

“Donna in the News” is my reporting of newly found newspapers 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. 

This week I received a notification from Newspapers.com that I had 36 new hits on my alerts – 15 from “Montran,” 15 from “Walter Wills” (which suggests “Chin Chin”), and 6 from “Dona/Donna Darling” from seven different newspapers dated between 3 May 1920 and 5 March 1928.

The articles related to six shows during her career.  Four of the shows I had previously in my list of Donna’s performances. They were:

  • Lyceum Theatre, Paterson, PA – May 7 -8 1920 – “Chin Chin.”
  • Colonial Theatre, Lancaster, PA – April 17, 18, & 19, 1922 – “Special Easter Show.”
  • Grand Theatre, Saint Louis, MO – July 7-9, 1923 – Donna Darling show.
  • Majestic Concerts – Brooklyn, NY – Mar 5, 1928 – Donna Darling and Somory [sic] Clark in “The Princess and the King.”
Can anyone translate?

Adding more clippings to what I already had is always good.  However, what is particularly cool about the Grand Theatre clipping is that the newspaper that speaks of Donna is written in German. I don’t know what it says.  I tried OCRing the words and transcribing the text to no avail. All I really know is that the article mentions “Donna Darling” and was published during the week Donna was in Saint Louis, Mo.  Hopefully, someone who reads German and German font will help me out.

The other two venues were new to me.

  • Fulton Opera House, Lancaster, PA May 29, 1920 – Chin Chin
  • Keeney’s Theatre – Brooklyn, NY – Aug 1921, Donna Montran.

So, I’ve been able to add two new shows that Donna was a part of. I will add All of these clippings to future venue writeups.

Have a great week.