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

Santa Clarita CA
Partly cloudy
Partly cloudy
Today in
S.C.V. History
March 21
1837 - Ysabel Varela born in Placerville; became second wife (and widow) of SCV landowner Ygnacio del Valle. [story]

Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Tuesday, Dec 3, 2013
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

Nov. 7, 1966, I got up and got ready for school.

We had moved from Pico to Carpinteria because my father had transferred to work on the off-shore platforms of Standard Oil Co. of California.

We also moved there because – my sisters and I now think – my father also wanted to get my mother a home that had all the modern conveniences in it. Things like a dishwasher and automatic washer and dryer. There was also the garbage disposal. That was a big deal for a family that had seen the Pico Cottage move into the 20th Century with electricity instead of gas lights just two years earlier.

He wanted her to have a modern home because, we think, her cancer had returned and it was going to end her life in a short time. Maybe a year, or at the most two, but we are only guessing about this because he never said anything.

He couldn’t say anything after Nov. 7, 1966, because that was the day he died in a helicopter crash at sea between the oil platforms and land.

I was at school. Carpinteria High School. Back then is was located in the building that is now the Middle School for that town.

Our family came to Carpinteria from all over the country. We stood on the bluffs looking out to sea as they searched for the four men who were on the aircraft that day. It quickly turned from a rescue to a recovery effort.

Alton and Pat Manzer, the writer's parents.

Alton and Pat Manzer, the writer’s parents. Click image for more family photos.

Nearly a week after the crash, they found part of the leg of a man. It was in a boot. The Santa Barbara television stations broadcast that before any of the families had been told anything about it. My mother saw that broadcast and fainted.

The next day they recovered the rest of the body of my father. That was followed by his funeral at Newhall Presbyterian Church, and he was laid to rest in Eternal Valley.

My mother and I returned to the SCV and lived in Saugus. Her cancer had indeed returned, and she died nine months after my father. She, too, is buried in Eternal Valley next to the man she loved, her high school sweetheart.

This past weekend, two men were killed in another tragic and horrific accident. Movie star Paul Walker and his friend Roger Rodas. They were speeding in a car, and the impact was so hard that the car burst into flames.

There were immediate pictures of blood stains and burn marks. Flowers and candles started to appear at the crash site. Fans turned out to see the site of the crash.

Two families mourn. They may not have known about the deaths before we in the public knew. It was all over the broadcast news and shortly afterward in print, too. I would think it is all over the Internet and soon the magazines you see in the local supermarket checkout lines.

Some dignity those men were not allowed. Same for the folks they’ve left behind. Not a very dignified way to broadcast the news. I look at it the same way as when we first heard, “A portion of a man’s leg was found still inside his boot…” Same tragic consequences for the uninformed families as what happened at that weekend crash.

Maybe I’d just like to see something more dignified as a life ends. The ghoulish news reports and pictures. We had the right to know and see even before those closest to the dead knew? We got to see the graphic details and pictures. We got to lay flowers and candles and stuffed animals at the scene of the accident.

Walker-Rodas crash scene.

Walker-Rodas crash scene.

Maybe all of that money spent on those items could have been spent on a child who might not otherwise get a gift for Christmas. Maybe something could have been done with a lot more dignity.

Maybe people are really shocked at how they died. I’m not. They had a fast car and liked to go fast. Two lives lost because they were being, frankly speaking, just a little stupid. No matter how famous and how many movies you’ve been in, stupid usually trumps common sense.

There was and is no outpouring of public grief when four men who had no fame or fortune died in the waters off of Carpinteria in 1966. Or the hundreds who have been killed on the Ridge Route, old Highway 99 and Interstate 5 in the last 100 years. They at least had a more dignified memory. Most had families were notified before the public knew. Flowers and candles and teddy bears don’t cover the sites of those accidents.

I guess that is the price of fame. It is a price I am not willing to pay. I want my dignity and that of my family maintained.

Sometimes I’m really shocked at how some actor or celebrity gains final fame by being stupid, crazy, drunk or on other drugs. For that, we forgive them and use them as examples of folks we should emulate. Look at James Dean, for example. And now Paul Walker. You know we’ll remember that name.

Will we remember the names of those killed in that helicopter in 1966? I only remember one, Alton Manzer, my father. None of the four got flowers on the beach or anything like that. They were just doing their job.

Somehow we still remember James Dean, and I’m sure the same will be true of Paul Walker. Long remembered for being in a fast car at the wrong time and place. Will someone tell me why?

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].


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. jack murphy says:

    that was absolutely terrific! One of the best reads I have had in a while D!

  2. Dennis O' says:

    Great read, Darryl. I still have a lot to learn – about YOU! No one speculates that these guys could just as easily have hit a station wagon full of kids going the other way instead of a tree because someone so famous would never do anything that callous, eh? The N.Y. train crash also illustrates the fact that mechanical systems, cars, trains, planes and submarines, have to obey certain physical limitations or disaster follows. Going 80MPH into a curve designed for 30MPH (with a possible safety factor of 2) equals death & destruction every time. No one has yet considered that these guys had to be flying, in a residential area, to accomplish the complete annihilation of the Porsche and the fact that their bodies were too badly mangled to identify at first. “You can’t fix stupid.”

  3. Me Jayne says:

    Mr. Walker was a passenger and not responsible ultimately for the tragedy. That being said, they were young, lacking in common sense, and in a neighborhood full of families commuting to and from activities. I am thankful they didn’t kill anyone else. However, I do mourn their loss, as the loss of one diminishes us all. Darryl, your father was a hero supporting his family. The men in that car were merely famous.

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...
Friday, Mar 16, 2018
Quentin Kopp, retired judge and Bay Area politician, was once chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority and helped sell the bullet train to voters. He’s now suing to stop it, saying, "The litigation, which is pending, will result, I am confident, in the termination of the High-Speed Rail Authority's deceiving plan."
Thursday, Mar 8, 2018
A wildfire stripped the banks of Placerita Creek of its thick, lush blanket of green – exposing thousands of shoots of the evil tamarisk.
Friday, Mar 2, 2018
In her March 2018 message, Mayor Laurene Weste outlines why Santa Clarita is a tech-savvy "smart city" and previews coming upgrades in street lighting, recycling stations and the local fiber-optic network.
Thursday, Feb 15, 2018
There was broad public support for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, which struck a careful balance between lands available for large-scale renewable energy development and the environment. Now the federal government is rethinking it - putting the important and much-needed protections at risk.
Tuesday, Feb 13, 2018
You can prevent vision loss by finding and treating problems early. Medicare covers a glaucoma test once every 12 months for people at high risk for glaucoma
Wednesday, Feb 7, 2018
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter SCV Group Chair Sandra Cattell urges Santa Clarita Valley residents to contact their congressional representatives to push legislation to kill the Cemex mining project in Soledad Canyon.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1837 - Ysabel Varela born in Placerville; became second wife (and widow) of SCV landowner Ygnacio del Valle. [story]
The William S. Hart High School Wind Ensemble & Concert Band, as well as the Placerita Junior High School Advanced Band will be holding a Rich Musical Heritage Concert, Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m.
March 22: Rich Musical Heritage Concert
If you think you have the right stuff, Blue Star Ranch is looking for volunteers.
Blue Star Ranch Seeking Volunteers
Comic books, comic strips, graphic novels and web comics often provide an escape from reality.
CSUN Professor Establishes Comic Studies Society
From Oklahoma! to The Sound of Music, American composer Richard Rodgers forever changed the face of Broadway musicals, giving them stories and making them oh, so hum-able.
The Soraya to Celebrate Composer Richard Rodgers
The Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion aimed at preventing foster youth from becoming entangled in the juvenile justice system, and ensuring supportive care for those do.
Supes Approve Motion Preventing ‘Dual Status,’ ‘Crossover’ Foster Youth
On Friday, March 23, CalArts alum Travis Wilkerson’s (Film/Video MFA 01) latest documentary, Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? screens at CalArts' Bijou theater.
March 23: CalArts Screening ‘Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun?’
LOS ANGELES – As part of the team’s continuing celebration of 60 seasons in Los Angeles, the Dodgers will pay tribute to one of the most dramatic moments in baseball history by permanently marking a commemorative seat located in the area of the Right Field Pavilion where Kirk Gibson’s historic walk-off home run landed during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series. The “Kirk Gibson seat” is the first seat at Dodger Stadium to be marked in tribute to a historic event.
Dodgers Honor Kirk Gibson Homerun with Seat in Right Field Pavilion
Family Promise of Santa Clarita Valley, a non-profit that mobilizes community faith groups in the SCV to assist homeless families, recently announced that after six years at its current Resource Center, they are in need of finding a new site for its offices in order to provide services to homeless families.
Local Non-Profit Seeking New Office Site
Adonna Khare will demonstrate carbon art at the April 16 meeting of the Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA). This event is free, open to the public and meets at 6:30 p.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd.
April 16: Carbon Art by Adonna Khare
Santa Claritans will have an early spring celebration at the “Touches of Spring”, an art show featuring Zony Gordon, an award-winning local artist who will be showing from March 12- April 30, 2018 at the Art & Photo Gallery of Fast Frame in Valencia.
March 24: Zony Gordon Artist Reception
The ARTree Studio 2 will be holding an art exhibit by artist Six, called Food Memories beginning Friday, March 23 with an opening night reception from 6:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
March 23-25: Food Memories Art Exhibit by Six
Here is a list of Santa Clarita arts-related events for March 22-24:
March 22-24: Santa Clarita Arts Calendar
Shoppers can find all what they need to make that special Easter Brunch this year by visiting the Santa Clarita Farmers Market located at the College of the Canyons, parking lot 5 on Valencia Boulevard. The market will be open on Easter Day and runs from 8:30 a.m. to noon.
Santa Clarita Farmers Market Open Easter Sunday
The Triumph Foundation's Wheelchair Sports Festival will take place on Saturday, April 28 from 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. and Sunday April 29 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
April 28-29: Triumph Foundation’s Wheelchair Sports Festival
With significant rain moving across the area Tuesday through Thursday this week, there is a moderate to high risk of debris flows near recent burn areas.
National Weather Service Warns Residents of Debris Flows as Storm Approaches
The Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center will hold a Cyber Security: If It's Connected, It Must be Protected Presentation on Wednesday, March 21 from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. in Rooms A1 and A2.
March 21: Cyber Security Presentation at Senior Center
The 2018 Spring Season Opener did not disappoint as it had drama tense moments 4 yellow cards a red card, player down with injury and the Storm settled with an even 2-2 draw.
Tense SC Storm Season Opener Ends in 2-2 Tie
Want to build your own social media empire, or just improve your social media presence? Learn from the best at SCV Startup Grind featuring Rachel Hollis, tonight.
March 20: SCV Startup Grind
This past weekend, all six William S. Hart district color guards participated in the mid-season contest, hosted at Valencia High School and sponsored by the Winter Guard Association of Southern California.
Hart District Color Guards Compete at Valencia High School
(Washington, DC) - On Tuesday, Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) and Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) introduced H.R. 5337, the Accelerated Payments for Small Businesses Act of 2018.
Knight Measure Would Speed Up Payment for Small Business Contractors
2012 - County supervisors approve 50-year operating agreement for Placerita Canyon State Park [read]
The city of Santa Clarita Tourism Marketing District Advisory Board's next Regular Meeting is set for Tuesday, March 20 at City Hall starting at 2 p.m.
March 20: Tourism Marketing District Advisory Board Meeting
The Small Business Investment Opportunity Act, sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) and passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by a bi-partisan group of Senators.
Knight Small Business Opportunity Act Introduced in Senate
The city of Santa Clarita's Planning Commission will hold its next Regular Meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, March 20 starting at 6 p.m.
March 20: Planning Commission Regular Meeting
The Master's University freshman track and field athletes showed great promise at the Ross and Sharon Irwin Collegiate Scoring Meet at Point Loma Nazarene University on Sunday.
TMU Track and Field Freshmen Shine at Point Loma
During Sunday's ninth inning, Master's came out on the wrong side — of a 5-4 final score at McBean Park in Lincoln and a three-game sweep.
TMU Baseball Squanders Grand Slam in Series Finale
The TMU Mustangs baseball team (17-12, 10-9 in Golden State Athletic Conference) was swept 9-1 and 5-3 by NAIA No. 7 William Jessup on the road Saturday.
Mustangs Baseball Drops Two to Jessup
"They'll be back," TMU men's basketball team's lone senior Lawrence Russell said after a 106-104 loss to Peru State College in the first round of the NAIA Division 1 National Championship tournament Wednesday.
TMU Men’s Basketball Team Eyes Another Run
Chandra Subramaniam spent his first week as the new dean of California State University, Northridge’s David Nazarian College of Business and Economics learning about the job and the people he’ll be working with.
Chandra Subramaniam is New Dean of CSUN’s Nazarian Business College
Santa Clarita Valley students, teachers, families and supporters will gather for a "March for Our Lives" rally at Marketplace Park in Valencia on Saturday, March 24, starting at 10 a.m., to demand an end to gun violence in schools.
March 24: SCV ‘March for Our Lives’ Rally to ‘Demand Safe Schools’
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is expanding its S.H.A.R.E. Program in an effort to reduce reports of hate crimes and hate incidents throughout the county.
LASD Expands ‘S.H.A.R.E.’ Anti-Hate Program
Los Angeles County Interim Health Officer Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser has extended a county beach use advisory through Tuesday night at 10 due to runoff from the recent rainfall.
Beach Use Advisory Extended Through Tuesday
'NCIS," 'Criminal Minds' and three feature films are among the productions filming in the Santa Clarita Valley March 19-25, 2018.
‘NCIS,’ ‘Criminal Minds,’ 3 Features Now Filming in Santa Clarita
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors invites you to join us in celebrating Public Defense Day today to honor the 55th anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright.
County Observes ‘Public Defense Day,’ Seeks New Top PD
As Metro begins to put together its transportation budget for the 2019 fiscal year, effective July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the agency seeks input from the public to help set priorities.
Metro Seeks Public Input on FY-19 Budget