[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
Sunny
Sunny
66°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
July 21
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [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.

Leave a Comment


Opinion Section 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: LETTERS (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
Thursday, Jul 20, 2017
Much of the dramatic decline of the yellow-billed cuckoo in California has been directly attributed to breeding habitat loss and degradation from lands being converted to agricultural and other urban uses.
Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017
The Newhall Ranch project will create nearly 74,000 permanent jobs within the region and an estimated 130,000 construction jobs over the decades it will take to build the project, and it will provide a variety of housing types from apartments and starter homes to places to raise a family, from affordable housing to executive housing.
Friday, Jul 14, 2017
Medicare covers a variety of heath care services that you can get in the comfort and privacy of your home. These include intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, speech-language pathology services, and occupational therapy.
Tuesday, Jul 11, 2017
In their attempt to usurp the Division of State Architect's role in the reopening of Acton School, the Acton-Agua Dulce school board has exposed itself to possible penalties being levied against the district, or civil lawsuits against individual board members.
Sunday, Jul 9, 2017
Python hunters work in pairs. One is the puller and one is the “hole guy.” The hole guy crawls into the hole to face the python head-on. When he’s bitten and the snake is holding on tight, the puller pulls out the hole guy, and the snake comes out with him.
Wednesday, Jul 5, 2017
As the temperatures go up this week, a great way to cool off is to head to one of the City’s six pools, says Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Striplin.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
2009 - Castaic resident Gidget, the Taco Bell commercial Chihuahua, dies at 15 after major stroke [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, a Los Angeles woman is one of four hurt in a fatal crash in Acton Thursday morning. Plus, several streets in the city will be impacted for road rehab through next Friday. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, July 20, 2017
Three children and one adult from Los Angeles were airlifted from the 14 freeway in Acton Thursday morning after a fatal solo-vehicle rollover crash.
Infant Killed, Four Injured in Early-Morning Acton Crash
The City of Santa Clarita is in need of volunteers for a pair of events taking place in August at the Aquatic Center, located at 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway. Space is still available for those wishing to assist at the Swim League Finals on August 5 and the LA84 Swim & Synchro Festival on August 12, 2017.
Volunteers Needed for Upcoming Aquatic Center Events
As Los Angeles County prepares for the procurement and manufacturing stage of its nationally-recognized Voting Systems Assessment Project (VSAP), Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean Logan is focusing resources on election security.
County Prepares for Updated Voting System
Every summer, novice and veteran interpreters and interpreting students gather for one week to learn about professional development, and to participate in workshops that build their skills.
CSUN Student to Host Workshop for Interpreters
Residents in Santa Clarita can soon enroll in a number of specialized classes, recreational sports, youth programming and more for the fall season.
July 25: Start of Fall Seasons Online Registration
Castaic residents heard from county planners Wednesday at the Castaic Area Town Council meeting, with a focus on solutions for concerns about the Hillcrest Parkway landscape.
Castaic Residents Voice Concerns Over Hillcrest Parkway Maintenance
After being featured in the “KHTS Adopt a Pet” series last month, a then 10-week-old kitten named Faith has found her forever home. But before she can truly get her “happily ever after,” Faith needs surgery to correct a medical problem that is already causing damage to her eyes.
GoFundMe Page Started for Former ‘KHTS Adopt a Pet’ Kitten
From Aug. 5-9, this year's graduates from CalArts' Programs in Art, Art and Technology and Photography and Media present work in Clothing Optional at Night Gallery in Los Angeles, with an opening reception on Aug. 5.
Exhibit to Feature Works by Recent CalARTS’ Graduates
Join us at this month's breakfast for networking and an update by our State Senator Scott Wilk on the progress of water district consolidation and the impact his bill, SB 634, will have on the Santa Clarita Valley.
Aug. 9: Update on Water District Consolidation at Chamber Breakfast
California State University, Northridge and Southwestern Law School have joined forces to bring a clinic to the CSUN campus in fall 2017.
Legal Clinic For Undocumented Students Comes to CSUN This Fall
Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are investigating a dead body reported at Sierra Highway and Remsen street.
Possible Suicide in Newhall; Investigation Ongoing
Legislation was introduced Wednesday by Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) the Securely Expediting Clearances through Reporting Transparency (SECRET) Act, H.R. 3210, passed the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Knight Bill on Security Clearances Passes House Committee
A decades-old effort to restore water and salmon to California’s second largest river is on the chopping block under a proposal by House Republicans to speed up dam projects and increase diversions to farmers.
GROW Act Moves to Senate
Much of the dramatic decline of the yellow-billed cuckoo in California has been directly attributed to breeding habitat loss and degradation from lands being converted to agricultural and other urban uses.
Western Yellow-Billed Cuckoos
2001 - Then-Assemblyman George Runner introduces legislation to memorialize the historic Ridge Route. Enacted Oct. 4. [story]
The Painted Turtle's North Los Angeles Regional Advisory Board will present a "Hoedown BBQ" fundraiser to benefit the nonprofit organization on Saturday, October 28 starting at 3:30 p.m.
October 28: ‘Hoedown BBQ’ to Benefit The Painted Turtle
Award-winning Santa Clarita architectural artist Thomas W. Schaller will demonstrate watercolor painting at the Santa Clarita Artists Association meeting on Monday, Sept. 18, at 6:30 p.m.
Sept. 18: Water Color Painting Demo at SCAA Meeting
The Newhall Ranch project will create nearly 74,000 permanent jobs within the region and an estimated 130,000 construction jobs over the decades it will take to build the project, and it will provide a variety of housing types from apartments and starter homes to places to raise a family, from affordable housing to executive housing.
Why Newhall Ranch is Good for SCV
Hart School District officials met with Ms. Maggie Ford from Albert Einstein Academy Wednesday morning to confirm that the Hart-Einstein Charter in Santa Clarita (grades 7-12) will be closing.
Einstein Academy to Close 7-12 Charter School
The Santa Clarita Artists Association will present a Summer Art Festival at Tournament Players Club in Stevenson Ranch on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9, from 9 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Sept. 8-9: SCAA Summer Arts Festival at TPC
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak, prosecutors are not pressing charges against a man who detectives believed started the Towsley Fire. Plus, find out when the new SCV Sheriff's Station will officially open. Watch these stories and more on tonight's edition of SCV NewsBreak.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, July 19, 2017
Award-winning Santa Clarita artist Laurie Morgan presents a one-woman show at FastFrame Valencia during October, with a wine and hors d’oeuvres opening reception set for Saturday, October 7 from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
October: Laurie Morgan 1-Woman Show at FastFrame Valencia
Air quality will be unhealthy for all individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Thursday, according to an AQMD alert.
SCV Air Quality Unhealthy Thursday
'Summer Daze,' the Santa Clarita Artists Association's new show, is now on display at the SCAA Art Gallery in Newhall through August 19.
‘Summer Daze’ on Display at SCAA Art Gallery Till August 19
Santa Clarita resident Collin Lee, an experienced copywriter but newcomer to picture books, recently won an IPPY, one of the world’s top independent book awards, for his book "The Efil Brothers."
Santa Clarita Author Wins IPPY Gold Medal for Children’s Book
The new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station to be built on Golden Valley Road between Sierra Highway and Centre Pointe Drive is slated to open in 2020, according to project officials.
New SCV Sheriff’s Station Slated to Open in 2020
The streets in Santa Clarita listed in this story will be affected for the week of July 19-28 for the city's Road Rehab Project.
July 19-28: Santa Clarita Roads in Rehab
The city of Santa Clarita has received an Investment Policy Certificate of Excellence Award from the Association of Public Treasurers of the United States and Canada for its Fiscal Year 2017-18 Investment Policy.
Santa Clarita Receives National Award for Investment Policy
Santa Clarita ranks No. 237 overall on a new survey of the top 300 American cities that are most friendly to first-time homebuyers published this week by WalletHub.
Santa Clarita Ranks Low on List of Cities Friendly to First-Time Homebuyers
Students in the Teenage Drama Workshop at California State University, Northridge have set the stage for children and parents to strengthen their relationships at nearly a dozen live performances of “Into the Woods Jr.” and “The Lion King Jr.” scheduled throughout July.
CSUN Teenage Drama Workshop Stages Famed Children’s Fables
Choreographer, director and CalArts alumna Meryl Murman (Dance-IM MFA 14) is bringing her CalArts MFA thesis "Ways of Forgetting" to the screen with the help of CalArtian collaborators.
CalArts Grads Collaborate on Dance Film ‘Ways of Forgetting’
Van Halen tribute band The Atomic Punks will add to their storied career with a free show at Santa Clarita’s Concerts in the Park at Central Park on Saturday, July 22, starting at 7 p.m.
Get 5150 with Atomic Punks Saturday Night
Longtime Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club manager Matt Nelson has been promoted to Chief Professional Officer after a unanimous vote by the club's Governing Board of Directors.
Nelson Named New Head of SCV Boys & Girls Club