[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
87°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 24
1954 - U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman born in Monterey Park; represents southeastern sliver of SCV [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, Oct 24, 2014
The billboard agreement is the known bird-in-the-hand versus the unknown two-in-the-bush later. Of importance is that Clear Channel was invited to come in with proposals, and they have never responded. Without question, there are no guarantees of a better deal later if this one is lost.
Thursday, Oct 23, 2014
So far there has been about $181,700 of “grass roots” support to preserve the current billboards – of which maybe $6,500 is local (the $500 from Tony Strickland being from “out of town”). All kinds of money to stop the three electronic billboards and preserve dozens and dozens of ugly relics of a bygone era that have serious light pollution issues, too.
Thursday, Oct 23, 2014
Ezra visits different schools each year to share with other children what he has gone through and how being different is not a problem. His inspirational talks demonstrate how anyone can achieve his or her dreams, no matter what the circumstances might be.
Wednesday, Oct 22, 2014
Jim McDonnell isn't “in” the LASD. He is the city of Long Beach Police Chief. He knows Los Angeles County and wants to see it improve. To do that, he has to be elected so the LASD can be professional from the top down again. All of those great deputies need and deserve the leadership Jim McDonnell can provide.
Monday, Oct 20, 2014
It’s a well-known fact inside the Beltway that Obama hands out ambassador nominations like $5 Starbucks cards at a PTA raffle. If you’ve helped bundle money in any way for Obama, one of your rewards could easily be an ambassadorship - not to Iraq or Iran or Russia, but a more desirable place like Norway.
Monday, Oct 20, 2014
Since the founding of Santa Clarita, there has been a dream of eliminating billboards citywide. It was going to be an expensive dream. The “deal” worked out actually brings money into the city and gets rid of dozens – repeat, dozens - of those massive eyesores.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies are also investigating the fight, the video and the circumstances surrounding it, and the fallout from the incident already resulted in one Hart district juvenile getting arrested, officials said.
Hart District Student Arrested for Threats; Teen Brawl Investigation Continues
This was the 10th year for the Santa Clarita “Top 51 Most Influential” list. The public submitted 120 names for consideration.
SCV’s Most Influential People Honored
Deputies received a reports of a suspicious open window of the 25200 block of Avenida Rotella in Valencia, and began a containment of the area, according to Sheriff’s Station reports, after receiving a report of a white van in the area.
Burglary Suspect Arrested in Saugus
The billboard agreement is the known bird-in-the-hand versus the unknown two-in-the-bush later. Of importance is that Clear Channel was invited to come in with proposals, and they have never responded. Without question, there are no guarantees of a better deal later if this one is lost.
Measure ‘S’ Pros, Cons | Betty Arenson
1954 - U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman born in Monterey Park; represents southeastern sliver of SCV [story]
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: A man suspected of robbing a Newhall Walgreens with a shotgun Thursday is in custody.
SCV NewsBreak for Thursday, October 23, 2014
The following letter was sent to parents of Valencia High School students Thursday afternoon in regards to a fight involving several Hart District students on Friday, October 17, 2014. Dear VHS parents, We are aware of many rumors currently circulating following the fight that happened on Friday evening.
A Letter to Valencia High Parents
COC sophomore setter Taylor Kasha has been named the Western State Conference (WSC) Female Athlete of the Week.
COC’s Kasha Named Western Conference Athlete of the Week
The College of the Canyons women’s soccer team shut out Citrus College, 6-0
SCV Sports Roundup for Oct. 23
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested a man suspected robbing Walgreens with a shotgun for drugs.
Suspect Arrested After Walgreens Drug Robbery
A Santa Clarita mom is making and selling eco-friendly American Girl doll clothing.
SCV Mom Creates American Girl Clothing Business
I remain concerned for the safety and security of our uniformed personnel supporting this mission. Congress will continue to provide robust oversight throughout our troops’ deployment.
McKeon Releases Statement on Ebola
Gateway Ranch is a 302-acre property located on the northern half of Las Lomas in the Newhall Pass. Once planned for a major housing development, the land is now part of the City’s Open Space Preservation District and protected from development indefinitely.
City to Cut Ribbon on Newly Acquired Open Space
The Santa Clarita WorkSource Center is partnering with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to host a Correctional Peace Officers recruitment on Thursday, Oct. 30
WorkSource Center Hosting Peace Officers Recruitment
Enjoy an evening of great live entertainment featuring music from the hills and valleys of the East to the plains, prairies and deserts of the West.
Cowboy Music Takes Over REP for WMA Benefit Concert
So far there has been about $181,700 of “grass roots” support to preserve the current billboards – of which maybe $6,500 is local (the $500 from Tony Strickland being from “out of town”). All kinds of money to stop the three electronic billboards and preserve dozens and dozens of ugly relics of a bygone era that have serious light pollution issues, too.
A ‘Tyrannt’ with Soul
The Santa Clarita Public Library, with support from the Friends of Santa Clarita Public Library, will once again sponsor the Celebration of Local Authors event on Saturday, January 17, 2015 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Old Town Newhall branch, located at 24500 Main Street.
Library Prepping for Second Celebration of Local Authors
1888 - Newhall's luxurious Southern Hotel burns to the ground [story]
Ezra visits different schools each year to share with other children what he has gone through and how being different is not a problem. His inspirational talks demonstrate how anyone can achieve his or her dreams, no matter what the circumstances might be.
Make It Happen
It’s the weekend before Halloween, and local rockers are getting on their ghoul.
SCV Entertainment Beat: Rockers are Getting Their ‘Ghoul’ On
Tonight on SCV NewsBreak: Sheriff's deputies and the Hart School District are investigating an alleged assault that happened at Valencia High School Friday night. The fight, was caught on tape and circulated on social media early this week.
SCV NewsBreak for Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Margo Hudon (of Margo's boutique) and Brett Walter, field deputy to Rep. Buck McKeon, have joined the board of Single Mothers Outreach.
Margo Hudson, Brett Walter Join SMO Board
Things to do in & near the city of Santa Clarita.
SCV Arts & Events: Ghost Adventures, more
BioSolar Inc., producer of innovative bio-based solar energy products and developer of a breakthrough supercapacitor technology, announced that its innovative BioSuperCap technology will be presented at Supercapacitors USA 2014 at Santa Clara during the week of Nov. 19
Local Solar Energy Tech Firm to Present at Conference