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Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

Our little valley likes to think of itself as a classless group of people. No, it isn’t that we lack class; that isn’t what I’m saying. Back in the day, we all lived here in “Hicksville,” according to the folks in that lesser valley to the south.

Many of us remember the phrase, “Newhall …Where’s that?” Outside of our valley we were all treated with equal disdain, at times. We were from “Hicksville” out in the “sticks.” Nobody wanted to live here. Many of us wanted to just get up and leave.

But we did have a class structure, or so we thought. If you lived on “Snob Hill,” you must be wealthy. Snob Hill consisted of Arcadia Street and Wayman, too. It was the south end of Arcadia that was the richest, and it may have been the best street to gather Halloween treats and also had the best Christmas decorations.

Almost every house on the street up on Snob Hill had a pool. Funny thing is that even if you had a pool, you still went to the ponds of Newhall Land and Farming to skinny-dip. Go figure.

Some of those homes were so expensive. Maybe $25,000 new. It also had a famous actor living there, W.C. Fields. The house is still there. The whole hill was for those who had made it. Drive up 8th Street and there are some huge estate homes. Wonderful expansive places that even today would rival any in Westwood or Beverly Hills … and “they” said we were in the sticks. Ha!

W.C. Fields at home on 8th Street, Newhall. Click image for more.

W.C. Fields at home on 8th Street, Newhall. Click image for more.

Last article I wrote about the city of Los Angeles dumping on our little valley. Along with the bad came a lot of good. For instance, Hollywood types. They could move up here and be treated like anyone else. Even shop at Country Cousins or Safeway in downtown Newhall and be left alone. I tend to think they were left alone because we had such rotten TV reception, we couldn’t recognize a TV or movie star without the snow of a bad picture in black and white.

Why would we get excited about some actor or actress, anyway? This valley had seen them make movies here since about 1911 or maybe earlier. Just what was the big deal?

Our valley had and still has a number of the famous and infamous. Dotted throughout various places in the new neighborhoods can be found all sorts of Hollywood types. Maybe we should have a tour bus that shows homes of the stars. I don’t think that would be us. We want “our” stars to feel at home and relax when not at the job.

Recently one of our actor types had to walk to work. The shoot was just about four houses down from his house. Rough commute. Don’t many of the rest of us wish it were so easy?

So what brought this up? Well, I was in a supermarket the other day and I kept running into actors. I won’t say where and when, but it was really neat. Just another reason I love this place. And guess what? The TV reception has improved, and I could see them clearly. There has been progress. Now if only our cable providers could keep the programs and channels online. I daresay I ask too much.

I drive around our valley and am still a whole bunch starstruck. Like the day I saw Linda Evans and Victoria Principal in the same store and in the same checkout line. Just like us. It was home to them. I tried not to stare. But, hey, I was still an active-duty sailor at the time.

The beautiful homes on expansive lots are still on Snob Hill. There are newer, exclusive homes on tiny lots. I like the old. Maybe it was because I once lost most of a front tooth in one of those pools on that hill. That is another story for another time.

If you see one of “our” stars, please treat them like you would anyone else. They, for the most part, want to be at home. Heck, many of them think this is still “out in the sticks.” If only they knew.

 

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 Tuesdays and Sundays, are archived at DManzer.com. Watch his walking tour of Mentryville [here].

 

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2 Comments

  1. Dennis O' says:

    Every town in the U.S. has its own, “Snob Hill,” it seems. Even tiny North Reading, MA where I spent my high school years. Our “stars” were all locals and beating Lynnfield at football was our driving goal every year. I have gotten to meet a star or two since 2 of my daughter are, “in the industry,” and have also found them to be pretty regular folks, just trying to get on with their lives. Great article, thanks Darryl.

  2. Me Jayne says:

    You are making me wish more than ever that I had grown up here in Newhall. But alas, I was a Santa Monica/Los Angeles girl, jaded from seeing too many stars when I worked in Beverly Hills. Thanks for this article, Darryl. Love it and the images it provokes in my old brain!

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