[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

SCVNews.com | Opinion/Commentary: Forgotten Facts of Mentryville Revealed in ‘The Last Roundup’ | 02-17-2013
Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
71°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 4
1867 - Harald Sandberg born in Norway; built Sandberg's Summit Hotel on the Ridge Route [story]


Then and Now in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Feb 17, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

See all of the revealing screenshots from the 1929 film [here].

 

I’ve done a fair amount of wranglin’ in my days – moving a few cows around Pico Canyon, and once even wranglin’ some sheep. Cats are the worst critters to wrangle. People are worse. Suckin’ dust on the south end of a northbound trail ride of teenagers is about the worst wrangling job I ever had the misfortune of having.

Until I saw what may be the worst wranglin’ job ever: rattlesnake wrangler.  It looks like a very skillful job that I want to be as far away from as I can get.

But there he was on a little filming set the other day between the Pico Cottage and the Felton School. Eight folks standing around the wrangler as he was trying to coax the snake to bite a cowboy boot. Don’t know the film company or what it was all about.

There were some other stunt actors there who had spent some time rolling off of the porch roof and the roof of the chicken house onto some really neat air mats.

I, too, rolled off those roofs, only I didn’t have the mats. It may explain why I spent all those years in and around submarines – but that is a whole new story.

It is going to be good to see the Pico Cottage or “Big House” in another movie. The chicken house will be in a movie again, too. But these are not scenes new to cinematic history.

Just the other day I watched a 1929 silent three-reel Western called “The Last Roundup.” It was mostly filmed in Mentryville.

Hazel Mills enters through the gate in the white picket fence in front of the Pico Cottage (aka Big House) while cameraman Hap Depew gives us a view of the front door and porch in this screenshot from "The Last Roundup" (1929).

Hazel Mills enters through the gate in the white picket fence in front of the Pico Cottage (aka Big House) while cameraman Hap Depew gives us a view of the front door and porch in this screenshot from “The Last Roundup” (1929).

Do any of you remember the stars of “The Last Roundup”? Bob Custer was the hero. Hazel Mills was the schoolmarm, or teacher. There was an actor named Cliff Lyons, too, but no relation to Lyons Avenue. Their name was Lyon.

Anyway, it is a great little flick about a ranch foreman who has to save the schoolmarm and catch the cattle rustlers and arsonists. Yep, the movie even has the wonderful Southern California event, the brush fire. One scene must have been a very large fire filmed someplace and put in the film. It looks like the fire may have been in the Hollywood Hills. I can’t really tell.

Scenes filmed in the movie include some details of the buildings that I hadn’t known before – little details that folks have wondered about for a long time.

Now, since it is not a movie in color, we don’t know what color the buildings were painted at the time. They all look to be the same. I can state here and now that the barn and school were not red.

It is in those little details that I had to concede I was wrong about the fence in front of the cottage. I said for years that it was a two-board fence painted white. Well … it turns out it was a white picket fence, as has been (re)constructed in the past few years.

Fight scene in front of the chicken house (at left), which has a lean-to on its right (west) side; and the tin garage, which has a double-hung window on its left (east) side. The tin garage is long gone.

Fight scene in front of the chicken house (at left), which has a lean-to on its right (west) side; and the tin garage, which has a double-hung window on its left (east) side. The tin garage is long gone.

It also shows the eucalyptus trees growing in front of the house and around the Felton School. They appear to be pretty mature trees, about 30 years old.

One scene has the hero and the schoolmarm in front of the barn. They kiss. (I got a kiss there once.) But it also has a view of the suspected doors that opened to the coral to allow access to the milking area. We had heard of those doors, but by the 1960’s when I lived there, they had been replaced with the siding you now see.

These details might mean little to many, but they are important to folks who want to know about them. At least both of us do.

Felton schoolyard with eucalyptus trees and what might be an exercise apparatus.

Felton schoolyard with eucalyptus trees and what might be an exercise apparatus.

There are a couple of great views of Felton School. Both sides. Little details like the woven lattice screens that block the view of the interior of the boys restroom or outhouse. In that same frame of film we can see a column supporting part of the long-gone community center building. I didn’t know about that detail before I saw this flick.

There are also some shots of the chicken house that show a “lean-to” roof off the side. Never knew about that, either.

The Santa Clarita Valley is unique in that while we may lack a concise, written history of many parts of the valley, we have films that show huge chunks of it. Many of us argue about that history only to find that what we thought and what we had been told is not what these old movies show. We know for sure that filming has been going on in our valley since 1910.

I’m looking for an old Tom Mix movie filmed in Mentryville in 1927 named “Outlaws of Red River.” Anyone have a copy?

“The Last Roundup” has several scenes outside of Mentryville. Beale’s Cut, Placerita Canyon, and some places that today defy efforts to identify them. One place may be the Walker Cabin in Placerita. Can’t tell. So the next installment will be about the rest of the movie.

I will write a little about Towsley Canyon – how it ties into Mentryville and Pico and how it is today. I may dabble a little in local politics again. Stand by for next week.

I can tell you one thing I won’t be doing until then: wranglin’ rattlers!

 

Darryl Manzer grew up in the Pico Canyon oil town of Mentryville in the 1960s and attended Hart High School. After a career in the U.S. Navy he returned to live in the Santa Clarita Valley. He can be reached at dmanzer@scvhistory.com and his commentaries, published on Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

 

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

1 Comment

  1. Don’t forget that a lot of things were added and built just for the movies and then torn down again afterwards just like they do today and have always done. :-) It’s hard to trust what it shows in the movies because of that. We had so much built and torn down by movies and TV production companies in the 29 years our family lived in Mentryville. We sure wished we could have kept some of those things because some were well built and strong. We did keep the little bell tower, though, and the front set of the garage my dad built (the yellow “house”. Most everything had to be torn down. Afterwards, another production company would build something in the same place…and on and on.

Commentary Policy
All opinions and ideas are welcome. Factually inaccurate, libelous, defamatory, profane or hateful statements are not. Your words must be your own. All commentary is subject to editing for legibility. There is no length limit, but the shorter, the better the odds of people reading it. "Local" SCV-related topics are preferred. Send commentary to: INFO (at) SCVNEWS.COM. Author's full name, community name, phone number and e-mail address are required. Phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not published except at author's request. Acknowledgment of submission does not guarantee publication.
Read More From...
Related Content
RECENT COMMENTARY
Friday, Sep 4, 2015
Trump taking on the mainstream media's favoritism of the left is to be hailed. Unfortunately, Trump’s ego spirals him into orbit with no filter. One would think with his power and the circles he runs in, he’d be a bit more sophisticated. Shame on me for setting a bar for Trump. I learned long, long ago that money doesn’t translate into class.
Thursday, Sep 3, 2015
Most of the published reactions to the Bureau of Land Management’s decision to cancel Cemex’s Soledad Canyon mining contracts have been nothing short of naïve. Simply put, it’s a little soon to be singing, “Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead,” while the witch still has a few flying monkeys circling over Soledad Canyon.
Thursday, Sep 3, 2015
I slowed down, since more often than not, several quail will follow the lead across the road. Sure enough, that is what happened. It was the last two quail that decided to run halfway across the road; then they jumped up and flew into the thick rabbit bush. I guess they needed to show the group they were independent thinkers.
Tuesday, Sep 1, 2015
Following the Old Town Newhall Specific Plan, which was created after extensive outreach to and input from the community, the city is interested in finding a development partner to build a mixed-use project, anchored by an art-house movie theater, on the former redevelopment block property across from the Newhall Library.
Tuesday, Sep 1, 2015
Your city works hard to plan and implement workshops and programs that are family-friendly, informative and great contributors to our amazingly high quality of life.
Monday, Aug 31, 2015
Now that the dust (pun intended) has settled, it’s a shame to see who is taking the credit for winning the good battle. It is also frustrating to still see some residents not appreciating what our city actually accomplished. They still don’t get the potential domino effect Cemex would have had on our quality of life.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Academy Class No. 407 is comprised of 46 male and five female Deputy Sheriffs, one male Police Officer from Glendale Police Department, and one male Police Officer from Inglewood Police Department. The recruits took the oath of office during the ceremony held Friday, Sept. 4, and transitioned their status into peace officers.
Sheriff Swears In 53 New Officers
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, nurses have reached an agreement with Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital after months of negotiations. Plus, grading has begun on the road for the future Castaic High School. Click the link to see those stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, September 4, 2015
Registered nurses at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia have reached a tentative agreement with hospital officials on a new three-year collective bargaining pact that ends a months-long dispute, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced Friday.
Hospital, Nurses Strike a Bargain
The most prominent advocate of the "end of life" legislation that's working its way through Sacramento - and the lead plaintiff in a related lawsuit - is Christy O’Donnell, a civil rights attorney and former LAPD sergeant who lives in Valencia and suffers from brain, liver, lung, rib and spine cancer. She’s morphine intolerant and is going to die painfully from her illness. She wants to be able to have a physician help her commit suicide - painlessly and legally.
SCV Mom at Center of End-of-Life Debate Speaks Out (Video)
A commercial airliner flying over the Lancaster City area of the Antelope Valley Thursday night, Sept. 3, reported to air traffic controllers that their cockpit was illuminated several times by a powerful green laser light. The city and sheriff's fixed-wing Law Enforcement Airborne Platform System (LEAPS) was sent up, and almost immediately, its cockpit was illuminated several times with the powerful light.
Lancaster Man Tried to Crash Commercial Airliner and Sheriff Plane
Child & Family Center has received a $100,000 grant from the office of Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich to fund the development of a new program for psychological testing.
$100K for Child & Family to Do Psychological Testing
The next installment of the ARTree Speaker Series will feature artist and animator Jian Lee and Will Kim.
Next ARTree Lecture:  Two Animators Bring a Unique Approach to Old Town Newhall
Grading began promptly last week after Los Angeles County approved the permit for the construction of a new access road to the site where the new Castaic High School will be built — putting the long-awaited new school one step closer toward completion.
North Access Road to Castaic High School Site Going In
Certain streets in Santa Clarita will be affected for the week of September 7, 2015, for the Santa Clarita Annual Slurry Seal & Overlay Project. During this time, please make sure to read all posted parking signs, as dates are subject to change.
City Street Repaving Sched., Week of Sept. 7 (8)
Public facilities such as City Hall, the three branches of the Santa Clarita Public Library, the Sports Complex, and Community Centers will be closed Monday, Sept. 7. Regular business hours will resume on Tuesday, Sept. 8.
Labor Day: City Libraries, Community Centers Closed But Pool Open 12-5
Hearing loss can result in higher medical expenses, negative effects on relationships and shortened life expectancy. For those still in their working years, untreated hearing loss can also have an effect on income.
Ignore Your Ears at Your Peril | By Nola Aronson
A resolution by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, coauthored by Sen. Sharon Runner, to name the Golden Valley Road bridge over State Route 14 for the late "road warrior" Connie Worden-Roberts has cleared both houses of the Legislature unanimously.
Wilk, Runner Get Final OK for Worden-Roberts Bridge Name
A man was transported to the hospital after he struck and killed a loose horse with his car Thursday at about 9:30 p.m. in Agua Dulce.
Man Taken to Hospital After Striking Horse with Car
Castaic and Val Verde: Zone 2 Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the Week of 8/24/2015 to 8/30/2015
Blotter: Sexual Assault, Burglaries in Castaic
Stevenson Ranch-West Valencia, Zone 3 Public Safety and Crime Prevention Information for the week of 08/24/15 – 08/30/2015
Blotter: Burglaries, Drug Charges in Stevenson Ranch
During Brake Safety Week last year, 9,989 vehicles were inspected and 1,514 were taken out of service. Brake-related violations are the most frequent reason for commercial vehicles to be taken out of service during roadside inspections by the CHP.
Check Your Brakes: It’s That Time of Year
Trump taking on the mainstream media's favoritism of the left is to be hailed. Unfortunately, Trump’s ego spirals him into orbit with no filter. One would think with his power and the circles he runs in, he’d be a bit more sophisticated. Shame on me for setting a bar for Trump. I learned long, long ago that money doesn’t translate into class.
The Disappointing Donald
1867 - Harald Sandberg born in Norway; built Sandberg's Summit Hotel on the Ridge Route [story]
Palmdale Station Detectives are seeking the public’s help in identifying a vehicle used in two trailer thefts from Agua Dulce Storage on Davenport Road.
Wanted: Info on Trailer Thefts in Agua Dulce
Santa Clarita City Council agenda for Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015.
Council Tuesday: Lost Cyn. Bridge Widening; Bouquet Cyn. Senior Apts.
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a local restaurant is hut down due to health code violations. Plus, September is National Suicide Prevention Month and various organizations in Santa Clarita are here to help. Click the link to see those stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, September 3, 2015
Born and brewed in Southern California since 1963, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf is the oldest and largest privately-held specialty coffee and tea retailer in the United States.
Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Has a New Leader
Organizers behind a statewide ballot initiative announced Thursday they have collected 109,000 signatures – or more than a quarter of the goal – in just three weeks of talking with voters across the state. It comes on the heels of a recent statewide poll showing 68 percent of California voters support the measure, according to SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, which is sponsoring the measure.
Union Touts Public Support for Its Statewide $15 Minimum Wage Initiative
The New Revolution, the beloved steel roller coaster that has thrilled more than 45 million guests in its 40-year reign at the park, will be repainted a brilliant white and blue color, while newly designed trains will be fitted with lap and calf bars and will feature red, white and blue colors with a silver eagle hood adornment. For coaster fans, the elimination of shoulder harnesses will provide a smoother, sleeker ride experience with more airtime.
Six Flags to Revolutionize Revolution (Video)