[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
Cloudy
Cloudy
65°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
December 21
1910 - Newhall (Auto) Tunnel opens, bypassing Beale's Cut [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
Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Stories about these creamy white bears spread from British Columbia to people in the area that is now the United States, where they were assumed to be mythological creatures.
Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
That Christmas Eve celebration was amazing - beautiful in so many ways, but especially for the people who were brought together that evening. We celebrated alongside Australians, Brits, Arabs and Jews, and it even snowed in the early morning hours, something extremely rare for that part of the world.
Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
This high-speed rail issue transcends most other problems we’ve had recently. Billboards? Small problem. High-speed rail? HUGE problem.
Friday, Dec 19, 2014
On Aug. 18, nine days after the killing, 78 people were arrested and, depending which news source you read, either 74 or 75 were from out of the area. California and New York were cited often as states sending their best and brightest.
Friday, Dec 19, 2014
The folks from Chiquita have been handing out new bikes and toys all over the place. It is Christmas, after all. Never pass up a good chance to ruin somebody’s health by being a “good neighbor” and giving out gifts.
Thursday, Dec 18, 2014
Most people with Medicare don’t pay any premium for Part A, which helps covers hospital care. But for those who do, the 2015 premium is dropping, from a maximum of $426 per month to $407 per month. The annual deductible is going up a little, from $1,216 in 2014 to $1,260 in 2015.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1910 - Newhall (Auto) Tunnel opens, bypassing Beale's Cut [story]
Stories about these creamy white bears spread from British Columbia to people in the area that is now the United States, where they were assumed to be mythological creatures.
Spirit Bear
Three unlicensed drivers were arrested and ordered to court, at a Friday night checkpoint in Santa Clarita.
3 Unlicensed Drivers Busted at Checkpoint
That Christmas Eve celebration was amazing - beautiful in so many ways, but especially for the people who were brought together that evening. We celebrated alongside Australians, Brits, Arabs and Jews, and it even snowed in the early morning hours, something extremely rare for that part of the world.
An Old Elevator
1925- New York premiere of William S. Hart's final film, "Tumbleweeds" [story]
This high-speed rail issue transcends most other problems we’ve had recently. Billboards? Small problem. High-speed rail? HUGE problem.
This Bullet Kills
Filmmaker and CalArts faculty James Benning’s 16mm documentary "13 Lakes" (2004) and CalArts alumnus John Lasseter’s 3D animated short, "Luxo Jr." (1986), are among the 25 films selected this year by the Library of Congress for inclusion in the National Film Registry.
Films by CalArts’ Benning, Lasseter Make National Registry
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: About 1,000 West Creek Academy students, parents, administrators and teachers created a “living painting” of a piano Friday. PLUS more local news.
SCV NewsBreak for Friday, December 19, 2014
AQUILA M8, under development for a confidential customer, Millennium's AQUILA platform product line, supporting missions of up to 3000 kg total mass in low, medium and geostationary Earth orbits.
Tested in Santa Clarita, Satellite Structure is Good to Go
The settlement terms require that T-Mobile pay at least $90 million; of this sum, at least $67.5 million must be paid to consumers—a portion of which may be paid by forgiving debts consumers may owe T-Mobile.
T-Mobile to Pay $90 Mil. to Settle Cramming Charges
Nearly 1,000 West Creek Academy students, parents, administrators and teachers created a “living painting” of a piano.
West Creek Kids Create Living Piano
The City of Santa Clarita invites community members to welcome the New Year at the Arctic Chill Polar Bear Swim on Thursday, Jan. 1, at 9 a.m.
Jan. 1: Polar Bear Swim at Santa Clarita Aquatic Center
Holiday hiring helped hold Santa Clarita’s unemployment rate at 4.5 percent in November, even with October. The real story is in the comparison to last November’s 5.7 percent.
Santa Clarita Jobless Rate Falls 1.2% Over Year
For the second consecutive year, UCLA ranked No. 5 in Kiplinger Personal Finance’s list of “Best Values in Public Colleges.”
Kiplinger Rates UCLA 5th Best Value
Deputy Joe Trejo, known affectionately as “the Mayor of Newhall” and “Uncle Joe,” retired this week as community relations deputy for the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.
Trejo, De-facto Mayor of Newhall, Turns In His Badge
Former light heavyweight champion and 1984 silver medalist boxer Virgil Hill, 50, is making a comeback. He took on his son, Valencia High School grad Virgil Hill, Jr., in a three-round exhibition.
Valencia’s Hall of Fame Boxer Fights His Son
The North American Aerospace Defense Command has informed the Defense Department that every indication is that Santa Claus will arrive on time this year to deliver presents to the world’s estimated 1.9 billion children, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said Friday.
NORAD Tunes Up Santa Tracking System
1969 - SCV resident Kristy Swanson, original Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), born in Mission Viejo [story]
On Aug. 18, nine days after the killing, 78 people were arrested and, depending which news source you read, either 74 or 75 were from out of the area. California and New York were cited often as states sending their best and brightest.
Fools Rush to Ferguson
The folks from Chiquita have been handing out new bikes and toys all over the place. It is Christmas, after all. Never pass up a good chance to ruin somebody’s health by being a “good neighbor” and giving out gifts.
Fluffy Clouds and Kittens
SCV NewsBreak: State Water Board members unanimously approved changes to the chloride compliance requirements for the SCV Sanitation District Tuesday. What does it mean for property owners in Santa Clarita?
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, December 18, 2014
After more than a half-dozen meetings and hundreds of comments, high-speed rail officials say they’re still figuring out how to include the public’s concerns in their multi-billion dollar plan.
Bullet Train Officials Digesting Public’s Concerns
The California State Board of Equalization has conducted a public hearing and moved forward with regulation amendments clarifying that hydroponic farmers qualify for the sales and use tax exemptions for fertilizer.
BOE: Hydroponic Farmers Qualify for Tax Exemptions
Friday night, The Vu in Newhall presents No Small Children; Saturday at Wolf Creek Brewery off Rye Canyon Loop in Valencia, it’s the annual Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.
SCV Entertainment Beat: No Small Children, Ugly Sweaters