Donna Darling Collection – Part 60 – Parkway Theatre

Donna Montran – Vaudeville
Treasure Chest Thursday
By Don Taylor

Photo of Don Taylor with cat Nasi.For this week’s Treasure Chest Tuesday, I’m looking at eight images all relating to the Parkway Theatre. None of the clippings indicate what city the show is taking place in and none of the clippings provide a date. Donna’s 1924-1925 show went by many different names, Hollywood Bathing Beauties,” “California Bathing Beauties Revue,” and “Bathing Beauties Revue featuring Donna Darling. A film mentioned, “The Painted Flapper,” was released in October 1924, so Donna’s show most likely within the three months after the film’s release.

From other research, I knew that Donna played at the Parkway Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin from January 11 to the 15th. Could this be the Parkway Theatre of Donna’s Scrapbook?

A quick review said, yes, these clippings came from that show. Many of the clippings were identical to articles I found online so, I feel comfortable these clipping for the Parkway are from Donna’s Madison Show.

PARKWAY

Clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.
Clipping from newspapers.com

THE CALIFORNIA BATHING BEAUTIES REVUE

Direct from the Studios at Hollywood
In Person
featuring

DONNA DARLING
Creator of principal role in “Chin Chin” star of “Girl Behind the Gun;” winner of Madison Square beauty contest.
MR. MURRY EARLE Late feature dancer for George White Scandals
ALL ROSS & ALICE LOUISE Dances and Comedians
MISS BETTY BRYANT – Know for her comedy team work.
MISS MILDRED O’BRIEN – In Mack Sennett Comedies
MISS CLARICE ALLYN – Toe Dancer
MISS KATHERYN KOLLEEN – Dancer
MISS MYRTLE CARLSON – Dancer


PARKWAY
Same info as the previous ad, plus additional info about the accompanying motion picture, “The Painted Flapper: An Ultra Modern Jazzology” starring James Kirkwood and Pauline Garon.

(Note: Donna cut off the ads for coming attractions. )


Parkway

Clipping from the Donna Darling Collection.

The much heralded Bathing Girl Revue headed by Miss Donna Darling and her motion picture studio girls made it bow to Parkway Patrons yesterday and won applause. Their offering is fast, clean and colorful and thoroughly devoid of anything that smacks of the sensational often associated with the miniature revues.

Identical article in the Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, WI) · 12 Jan 1925, Page 7.

The plot, though not a new one, is unique in development. In a short half hour one is whipped through a mirage of singing and dancing numbers following in quick succession, telling a history of the bathing suit from Grandmother’s day down to the present time, with a side trip around the world including stop offs at various beach resorts. The costumes are elaborate, the setting pleasing and the lighting effects unusual.

Of the cast Miss Darling stand out by right of her personality, beauty and grace. She was ably assisted by Murry Earl, a dancer of accomplishment. Miss Betty Bryant, for her demon dancing in the Mars episode and dainty Clarice Allyn’s Chinese bathing girl number deserve special mention.


BATHING BEAUTIES OF MOVIES IN REVUE AT PARKWAY

Bathing girls from various California motion picture studios will make a personal appearance in a colorful Hollywood Revue at the Parkway this week, beginning today. This review is a clever musical and dancing number which will show the Parkway patrons that these versatile girls can do other things than merely pose before the camera.

Miss Donna Darling, who comes direct from the Mack Sennett studios, is the charming star who introduces the Bathing Beauties dressed in bathing costumes dating from 1860 to the present day. Betty Bryant is the “Miss America of 1925.” Bathing costumes of various countries and fashionable sea-shore centers are introduced. Chief among these numbers is Mildred O’Brian, who appear as the beauty from Palm Beach. Miss Darling’s life guards, Murry Earl and Al Ross, add comedy to the Egyptian dance while petite Clarice Allyn as the Chinese bathing girl enhances the offering with clever toe dancing.

Elaborate costumes have been selected for this sparkling revue. The music is snappy and the production has brilliant scenic and lighting effects.


There was a large ad that ran across two pages in Donna’s scrapbook. It shows Donna on the left and two of the other girls. I have not identified either of them yet. I suspect one of them is probably Betty Bryant, but the other could be Mildred O’Brian or Clarice Allyn or even one of the other two girls. I’ll need to research that further.

Conclusion

The Donna Darling Collection provided new information about her show at the Parkway Theatre, Madison Wisconsin on January 11 to the 15th, 1925.

Follow-up Actions

I’ll need to search for photos of the other individuals of the show that are in the advertising.

Sources

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · 12 Jan 1925 · Page 7.

Wisconsin State Journal (Madison, Wisconsin) · 14 Jan 1925 · Page 15.

Donna in the News – Special Act on Thanksgiving

25 November 1925

Vaudeville – Jewel Review

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

This week’s article is from page 4 of the Kenosha News (Kenosha, WI), dated 25 November 1925.

VAUDEVILLE ON THANKSGIVING.
——-
Special Act to Accompany Feature Picture, “The Pony Express.”

A special vaudeville act will be given on Thanksgiving Day at the Orpheum theater in conjunction with the feature picture, “The Pony Express.” The act will be Donna Darling and girls in “Her Little Jewel Revue.” There will be singing, dancing and special scenery.

The picture which starts Thursday for the rest of the week has one scene on the mammoth location set near Cheyenne, Wyoming, that was directed by Vice-President Charles G. Dawes. The vice-president extended the range of his versatility when he assumed the role of motion picture director. Aided by an occasional word from James Cruse, the producer, and Betty Compson, who has the featured feminine role in this epic production, the general appeared to enjoy the experience, shouting “Camera” like a veteran.

Thanks to this new posting at Newspapers.com, I learned that on Nov 26, 1925, in Kenosha, Wisconsin at the Orpheum Theater, Donna Darling and girls presented the “Little Jewel Revue.” I was able to add another venue for Donna’s “Little Jewel Revue” tour.

Donna & “Chin Chin” – La Crosse Theatre (La Crosse, WI) – 10 February 1920

Donna Montran and “Chin Chin” played the La Crosse Theatre in La Crosse, Wisconsin, Wisconsin, on 10 February 1920

 Vaudeville
Chin Chin

Thanks to my “Donna in the News” alert last January, I learned then that Donna, and the cast of “Chin Chin,” played the La Crosse Theater in La Crosse, Wisconsin, on February 10, 1920. Now, I’ve finally had a chance to further look at that theater and show. Besides those original articles from the 4th, 5th, and 8th, I was able to find additional articles from the 3rd, 6th, 9th, 10th, and 11th.

“Chin Chin” Schedule –

Feb 1-7, 1920 – Minneapolis, MN – Metropolitan Opera House
Feb 8-9, 1920 – Unknown (possible break?)
Feb 10, 1920 – La Crosse, WI – La Crosse Theatre
Feb 11, 1920 – Chippewa Falls, WI – Rex Theatre
Feb 12, 1920 – Eau Claire, WI – Grand Theatre

Advertising

For a one-night show, the advertising for “Chin Chin” was spectacular. Every day there was something in the newspaper from eight days before the show until the day after the show. Promotion for the show began with a notice on February 3rd, that an Eau Claire boy was one of the show leads.  Along with it was a standard “To the General Public” notice from the theater’s manager, F. L. Koppelberger.[i]

Eau Claire Boy in “Chin Chin”

Include ad The music of Ivan Caryll, which serves to illustrate the story of “Chin Chin,” which comes to the La Crosse theater on February 10th, and in which Walter Wills and Roy Binder, an Eau Claire boy, demonstrate their wonderful powers of drollery and skill in dancing. Ethyl Lawrence, as “Violet Bond” the American girls, is a charming little actress, and always succeeds in winning the good graces of the audience. Her rendition of the duet, “Love Moon,” with the aid of George Usher as “Aladdin,” is one of the particular bright spots of the show.

The following day, a photo of the “Pekin Girls” graced the paper[ii] along with a short article and the same announcement from the manager as on the day before.

The remaining advertisements are pretty standard.

Reviews

Rarely is there a review for a show that has played and moved on to another city. However, the La Cross Tribune ran a modest review the day after the show. Although they didn’t mention Donna, they did mention that “those singing the leading parts last night had pleasing voices and encores were numerous.”[iii]

Theater

The La Crosse Theatre opened in 1900,[iv] but its history goes back to the 1860s when there was an opera house at the location. The Sanborn Fire Maps indicate it was an Opera House in 1891, but it appears to have had a very different footprint than the theater had in the 1920s. The early 1900s form for the theater was short lived. The theater was closed in 1927 and a new building, the Hoeschler Building was opened in 1930.

The James Cahn Theater Guide 1922 supplement indicated that the La Crosse theater had a seating capacity of 1,100 all on the ground floor. The stage was 68 feet wide, 36 feet deep, and 32 feet high.

La Crosse Theater – La Cross, WI.
Photo via Cinema Treasures uploaded by Ken Roe.


ENDNOTES

[i] The La Crosse Tribune · Tue, Feb 3, 1920 · Page 4 – Via Newspapers.com.[ii] The La Crosse Tribune · Wed, Feb 4, 1920 · Page 10 – Via Newspapers.com
[iii] The La Crosse Tribune · Wed, Feb 11, 1920 · Page 5
[iv] Cinema Treasures, La Crosse Theatre, La Crosse, WIS http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/57410

Donna in the News – “Chin Chin” plays the La Crosse Theatre, Feb. 10, 1920

This week from the La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) newspapers dated February 4th through the 10th, 1920.

I’ve long known that Donna and the cast of “Chin Chin” played at the Metropolitan Opera House in Minneapolis from February 1st through the 7th, and played in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on February 11th.   However, it would be unlikely that the should would go three days without a show. Thanks to Newspapers.Com[i], I learned this week that “Chin Chin” also played at the La Crosse Theatre, in La Crosse, Wisconsin on February 10th.

The troupe’s February itinerary began:

I’m still wondering if “Chin Chin” played somewhere on the 9th. Probably.  Time will tell.


“Donna in the News” is my report of newly discovered 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 of my grandmother’s exciting show business career of the 1910s and 1920s.


Endnotes

[i] The La Crosse Tribune (La Crosse, WI) dated 4 February 1920, Page 4, Column 5, et al. Accessed via Newspapers.Com on 10 Jan 2019.

Ancestor Bio – Bertha Koch (1862-1927)

52 Ancestors – Week 2018-52
Darling-Huber-Trumpi-Koch
By Don Taylor

Bertha Koch is the mother of Bertha Barbara Trumpi[i] who was an immigrant ancestor. Bertha Barbara came to the United States first; then her mother went to the States to visit her.  Mom went back and forth from Switzerland to the United States several times. Eventually, she apparently divorced her husband, Bernhart Trumpi, married Kaspar Hefti, and then returned to the United States with her new husband.

Darling Research 2018 – Ancestor #31

List of Grandparents

Grandmother: Florence Wilma Huber Darling (1908-1934)
1st Great- Grandmother: Bertha Barbara Trumpi Huber (1884-1968)
2nd Great- Grandmother: Bertha Koch[ii] (1862-1927)

Bertha Koch (1862-1927)

Birth

Bertha Koch was (probably) born 21 August 1862 in Glarus, Switzerland. Her parents’ names are unknown. When Bertha was born, the Civil War was raging in the United States.  The Swiss had adopted a federal constitution in 1848 following its civil war.

Childhood

Swiss home interior from a display at the Swiss Historical Village & Museum in New Glarus, Wisconsin.

Nothing is known of Bertha’s childhood specifically; however, when Bertha was about 12, Switzerland underwent an extensive constitutional change wherein the Swiss federal government took over responsibility for defense, trade, and legal matters and everything else became the responsibilities of the individual cantons, such as Glarus.[iii]

Marriage

On 10 February 1883, the 20-year-old Bertha married the 39-year-old widower, Bernhart Trumpi in Ennenda, Glarus, Switzerland.

Children of Bernhart & Bertha (Koch) Trümpi.

NAME BORN MARRIED DEATH
Bertha Barbara 1884 1905 – John Huber 1968
Babetta 1888 1906 – Wilhelm Bochs 1970
Tricela (?) c. 1894 Unknown
Freida A 1895 1913 – Adolph Karch 1971
August c. 1902 Unknown
Frederick c. 1903 Unknown
Ernst Lorrain 1905 1967

Stories

In 1903, Bertha’s oldest daughter, Bertha Barbara, left Switzerland for the United States. Oral tradition indicates she came to America in the care of an aunt and uncle who traveled from America to get Bertha Barbara and return to the States.

In 1905, Bertha went to the States to visit her daughter, Bertha Barbara, who was living near New Glarus, Wisconsin. Traveling with her were three children, daughters Babetta, Trucela, and her son August. She was very pregnant during the trip and had her youngest child Ernst Lorrain aboard the ship to America during the voyage aboard the S. S. Lorraine. Her youngest child’s middle name was fashioned on the ship he was born. The vessel departed La Have on October 21st.  Ernst was born on the 22nd of October, and the ship arrived in New York on 28th of October 1912[iv].

Image of the SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria
SS Kaiserin Auguste Victoria

The next bit of her life is very unclear.  It appears that she returned to Switzerland before 1910 because she does not show in any records during that time.  Also, by 1912, Bertha had remarried to Kaspar Hafti. The documents I have found indicate that her husband Bernhart died on 10 February 1913. We don’t know if she and Bernhart divorced, if the date I have for Bernhart’s death is incorrect, or if she and Kaspar headed to the states traveling as “man and wife.”  In any event, she, husband Kaspar, and son Ernst Trumpi returned to the United States aboard the S. S. Kaiserin Augusta Victoria in 1912[v]. Their planned destination was Portland, Oregon. I have been unsuccessful in finding Kaspar and Bertha in the 1920 Census. I suspect they returned to Switzerland because they returned to the States from Switzerland in 1925 and were listed in the ship’s manifest with their last residence being in Ennenda, Glarus, Switzerland.[vi]

Death & Burial

Bertha and Kaspar located in Escalon, San Joaquin, California, USA. Bertha died of cerebral apoplexy[vii] on 17 Apr 1927 at the San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, San Joaquin County, California[viii] about 17 miles from Escalon. Bertha was buried at a “Rural Cemetery.”  I have been unable to locate any burial information for Bertha Koch Trumpi Hefti.

Further Actions / Follow-up

  • Query various funeral homes in French Camp to see if any of them now have the records of what once was the Stockton Mortuary Company.
  • Follow the lives of each of Bertha’s children and learn if any of them provide insight into Bertha’s life.
  • Query more records for the Trumpi and Koch families of Ennenda, Glaris, Switzerland.

Endnotes

[i] I use Trumpi as the surname for standardization. Handwritten records in the United States typically use Trümpi. In Switzerland, the surname was typically spelled Trümpy. The use of American typewriters resulted in most modern records being spelled “Trumpi.”

[ii] Several records indicate Bertha’s surname was Kock. However, Babette indicated her mother’s surname was “Cook” in one record. The German word“Koch” translates to Cook in English, so I believe Koch is correct.

[iii] Internet: Wikipedia – “History of Switzerland.” Accessed 20 December 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Switzerland.

[iv] Year: 1905; Arrival: Microfilm serial: T715; Microfilm roll: T715_636; Line: 4; List number:. Name:  Retha Trumpi  Birth:  abt 1863.

[v] Ancestry.com, Swiss Overseas Emigration, 1910-1953 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008), Ancestry. Accessed 27 Aug 2014.

[vi] Ancestry.com, Swiss Overseas Emigration, 1910-1953 (Provo, UT, USA, Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008), Ancestry, Bertha Hafti – 1925. Accessed 19 Dec 2018.

[vii] The term formerly referred to what is now called a “stroke.”

[viii] ”California, County Birth and Death Records, 1800-1994,” database with images, FamilySearch — California State Archives, Sacramento. Accessed 19 December 2018.