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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
71°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
November 23
1931 - Fall Roundup held at Hoot Gibson's Saugus Rodeo [story]


Now and Then in the SCV | Commentary by Darryl Manzer
| Sunday, Jan 12, 2014
Darryl Manzer

Darryl Manzer

For being an “awesome” town in an “awesome” valley, we sure don’t meet the “awesome” mark with our love of chains. No, not tire chains, anchor chains, logging chains or those physical types of chains. I’m talking about our love of chain restaurants, movie theaters, auto parts stores, grocery stores and whatever else.

At one time we had nothing here in the SCV that was really a “chain” except for the gas stations. Remember that many of those were owned by oil companies, like the Standard station at the intersection Highway 126 and 99, right across from Tip’s restaurant.

Sure, we had the A&W Root Beer places, but for the most part, our restaurants were local. (The A&Ws were owned locally by the father of my Hart High classmate, Loren Elmore).

Clear up in Gorman there was the Caravan, and Castaic had Benny’s Beanery. There were three Tip’s once, and The Rib near Saugus Café. The Halfway House up Highway 6 – er, Sierra Highway; the Bamboo Inn, Snack Shack and Newhall Bowl, to name a few. And we mustn’t forget the part-time places such as the Circle J. Can you think of some more? I just thought of one – the Big Oaks Lodge.

We longed and prayed for the day when we could get a couple of the chains here in our valley. (It wasn’t called “Santa Clarita Valley” yet.) We just knew that when we got a Denny’s or even a Woolworth lunch counter, and maybe a McDonalds, we would have made it out of our Hicksville status. We would be recognized as someplace. We could be somebody and something, at last.

We also wanted a better movie theater. We got the Plaza on Lyons in 1965 but we wanted more. I mean, the American was no longer cutting it. And don’t even think about multiplex theaters. Those were years away. In another galaxy, far, far away.

Sometimes you’ve got to watch what you pray for, because the Creator might just give you what you asked for – and then some more.

I don’t have any real problem with the existing chain restaurants and entertainment venues. At times there can even be something comforting about the sameness neatly packaged in various locations.

The Denny’s in Newhall has the same menu (or nearly so) as the Denny’s in Vallejo or Waikiki. I know that 24 hours a day, I can go in those places and get exactly what I want from a menu so familiar. Well, in Hawaii there are some local variations with rice and a Loco Moco breakfast, along with much increased prices. (The Loco Moco is a large bowl of rice with fried Spam or Ham or hamburger patty on top, covered in nondescript brown gravy and topped with two fried eggs. I hope you weren’t eating when you read that. Sorry, if you were.

All f that sameness and comfort comes at a price. The price we paid was the loss of places like Tip’s and most other places I’ve already listed. We also lost our drive-in theaters, and even the Plaza is devoid of movies. The American Theater has become what it really always was, the home of Post 507 of the American Legion.

We do have some great new local places. Egg Plantation and Newhall Refinery, along with El Trocadero. One can even get Thai food not far from the Way Station in downtown Newhall. I almost forgot the little Railroad Café across from the Newhall Metrolink station.

Now tell me about the great locally owned non-chain places in Valencia … or Canyon Country. (Oops – not counting the Backwoods Inn or Route 66 Classic Grill). Castaic might have a couple; I just don’t know.

I’m not going to mention the names of the chains. They get all kinds of publicity anyway. But there is a “chain” that is thinking about opening a new theater here. The Laemmle family might one day open a theater in Newhall. That would be wonderful – something that shows good movies instead of things like “Rambo 27” or “Miley does Europe.” (Well, I’ll bet even Laemmle would show a movie with Miley like that.)

And then I read on the local Facebook pages about how it might not be a good thing. They may show movies of doubtful moral value that wouldn’t be for families.

Hey, I’m a single guy who actually enjoys good films and doesn’t want kids and families crawling all over the seats and making all kinds of noise. Yes, a place that shows those films we hear about getting Oscars but we never see. Feature films with subtitles and great dialogue, visual effects without computers, and having a great story line, too. Those movies. Real Art. I just hope that once in a while they will screen “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”

But we hear from folks who like our chains and the multitude of movies they show on the multiplex screens, charging multi-high prices for mini-snacks. (Since when does that little amount of popcorn cost $8?).

Yep, we got the chains. And we got the title, “Awesometown.” I’ve only one word for that. Starts with a “B.”

You got it – “balderdash.” Just what were you thinking, right? Obviously you were thinking of a word from “Blazing Saddles.”

 

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.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

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...
RECENT COMMENTARY
Thursday, Nov 23, 2017
Members of the fraternal organization are called Clampers, and the chapter presidents are given the ceremonial title of Noble Grand Humbug. They claim their purpose is to be a historical drinking society or a drinking historical society, the debate over which has never been resolved.
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2017
Honoring our veterans shouldn’t be limited to one day or one weekend. We need to do more to support them for their service and sacrifice to this country we all love.
Friday, Nov 3, 2017
The Houston Texans do have a pretty clean record, considering the criminal activity, arrests and personal low-lives of many NFL players overall.
Thursday, Nov 2, 2017
A Canadian mining company plans to explore for gold at Conglomerate Mesa either by constructing roads in this otherwise roadless area or by flying in the equipment with helicopters. It is hard to imagine either thing happening in this peaceful and unmarred landscape.
Wednesday, Nov 1, 2017
In his monthly message for November, Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth previews the unveiling of the new Fallen Warriors Monument at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on November 11.
Tuesday, Oct 10, 2017
It was 10 years ago this fall semester that we opened the Canyon Country Campus on Sierra Highway. We are celebrating a decade of academic excellence and community impact. What a difference a decade makes.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Artist and animator, Eric Leiser (Film/Video BFA ) currently has a solo show at the Museum as Retail Space (MaRS) Gallery in Los Angeles.
CalArtian Solo Show Underway at MaRS
CANCUN - CSUN Men's Basketball (1-4) enjoyed a lead for most of Wednesday afternoon against Binghamton but a strong second-half Bearcat run led to a 70-65 Matador defeat at the Cancun Challenge in Mexico.
CSUN Hits Rough Patch at Cancun Challenge
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced that he has appointed Leisa Maestretti as Director of the California Department of Education (CDE) Fiscal and Administrative Services Division (FASD).
New Fiscal, Administration Services Director Appointed to CDE
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—Featuring games against 15 teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament a year ago, CSUN head softball coach Tairia Flowers has announced the 2018 Matador schedule.
CSUN Releases 2018 Softball Schedule
Long before Wednesday’s 71-47 win over Cal Lutheran University, coach Dan Waldeck had little doubt about The Master’s University’s ability to shoot.
Lady Mustangs Win 6th Straight with Victory Against Cal Lutheran
NORTHRIDGE, Calif.—After spending the first two weeks of the 2017-18 season on the road, the CSUN women's basketball team returns home to host the ninth annual Warner Center Thanksgiving Basketball Classic this weekend.
CSUN to Host Annual Warner Center Thanksgiving Basketball Classic
Black Friday sales in stores across Santa Clarita Valley have resulted in residents camping out in tents, cots, and pop-ups as their occupants await for the early morning savings following Thanksgiving.
Santa Claritans Already Camping Out for Black Friday Sales
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold a Special and its Regular meeting Tuesday, Nov. 28 at City Hall/City Council Chambers located at 23920 Valencia Blvd., Santa Clarita, 91355.
Nov. 28: City Council Special, Regular Meetings
Members of the fraternal organization are called Clampers, and the chapter presidents are given the ceremonial title of Noble Grand Humbug. They claim their purpose is to be a historical drinking society or a drinking historical society, the debate over which has never been resolved.
Clamping the Desert | By Linda Castro
1931 - Fall Roundup held at Hoot Gibson's Saugus Rodeo [story]
The Los Angeles Dodgers have unveiled their 33-game 2018 Spring Training schedule, beginning on Friday, Feb. 23 against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch – Glendale in Arizona.
Dodgers Unveil 2018 Spring Training Schedule
TMU coach Kelvin Starr’s to-do list was relatively simple entering Tuesday night’s 108-58 win over visiting Westcliff University.
7 Mustangs Score in Double Figures in Runaway Win
No. 3 College of the Canyons women's volleyball team defeated No. 14 Golden West College 3-1 in the opening round of the CCCAA Southern California Regional Playoffs on Tuesday.
No. 3 Canyons Wins First Round Playoff Matchup vs. No. 14 Golden West
At approximately 10:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to a call of an attempted kidnapping that occurred on the corner of Magic Mountain Parkway and McBean Parkway in Valencia.
Authorities Seek Suspect in Valencia Kidnapping Attempt
A coalition of attorneys general on Wednesday called the Trump administration’s plan to hike entry fees at national parks a “cruel deception,” contending higher prices could force Americans to choose between “beauty and or bread.”
California AG, 10 More AG’s Blast Feds’ Plan to Hike National Park Fees
The Castaic Lake Water Agency's Water Resources Committee meeting scheduled for Wednesday, December 6 has been rescheduled for Tuesday, December 12.
CLWA Water Resources Committee Meeting Rescheduled for Dec. 12
The California Enterprise Development Authority will hold its next meeting via teleconference on Thursday, November 30 at 10:30 a.m.
Nov. 30: California Enterprise Development Authority Teleconference
Here is the public safety report from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station for Stevenson Ranch (Zone 3) for Nov. 6-19, 2017.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft Auto, Robbery Burglary in Stevenson Ranch
Coroner's officials have identified the victim of a deadly crash near Chatsworth Tuesday as Santa Clarita Valley resident Jose Sanchez, 60.
Coroner IDs SCV Victim Killed in Chatsworth Crash
In November, the Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association has co-sponsored a Thanksgiving dinner at the SCV Boys & Girls Club and the "Light Up Main Street" event in Old Town Newhall.
Santa Clarita Auto Dealers Association Gives Back this Holiday Season
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is seeking help from the public to identify an injured man, hospitalized since a Nov. 18 accident in Van Nuys.
Providence Holy Cross Medical Center Seeks ID of Injured Man
More than 250 agencies donated their efforts to help support and raise money for the City of Hope as part of the 2017 “Pink Patch Project,” and the agencies donated $325K to fight breast cancer.
LASD, Local Agencies Donate $325K to City of Hope
Santa Clarita Valley veterans organizations will host the 12th annual Military Honor Christmas Tree and Menorah Lighting at Veterans Historical Plaza in Newhall on Saturday, December 2 at 5 p.m.
Dec. 2: Annual Military Honor Christmas Tree Lighting
The city of Santa Clarita will host a 30th-anniversary open house on the city’s official birthday, December 15, at City Hall from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Dec. 15: Santa Clarita Birthday Bash at City Hall
The community is invited to join state Assemblyman Dante Acosta at Santa Clarita Valley International to celebrate a $5,000 educational grant awarded to SCVi by the Barona Band of Mission Indians on Monday, November 27 at 10 a.m.
Nov. 27: Acosta, Community Leaders Celebrate Grant Received by SCVi
The Board of Supervisors approved a motion by Supervisors Hilda L. Solis and Kathryn Barger on Tuesday to extend the county’s Winter Shelter Program by an additional month -- through March 31, 2018
County OK’s Plan to Extend Winter Homeless Shelter Program
Two men were arrested and booked on drug and other charges by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's detectives on a night patrol in Canyon Country Sunday.
Night Patrol Nets 2 Suspects on Bikes
1843 - Rancho Castec (Lebec-Tejon area) granted to French immigrant Jose Covarrubias [story]
Award-winning Deaf culture advocate, producer, choreographer and dancer Antoine Hunter (Dance 02) won an award at the 2017 San Francisco Dance Film Festival (SFDFF) last month.
CalArts Alum Wins ‘Best Student Film’ at 2017 SF Dance Film Festival
Several young adults with special needs from Carousel Ranch’s Ready to Work! (RTW!) program will be joining Martha Aguilara and Kokolita’s in preparing more than 1000 Thanksgiving meals for those in need.
Carousel Ranch Ready to Work Students, Kokolita’s Join to Prepare Thanksgiving Meals
The College of the Canyons Model United Nations Club (COCMUN) received the highest award presented Sunday at a conference in Santa Barbara.
COC Model UN Awarded “Best Large Delegation” at UCSB Conference
The McKeon Leadership Forum is a speaker series that promotes civic engagement and reminds every citizen that a healthy democracy requires personal involvement.
Nov. 30: McKeon Leadership Forum Presents General Richard A. Cody
Tempe Hale (Film/Video MFA 14) and Ambar Navarro (Film/Video BFA 15), both graduates of CalArts Experimental Animation Program, premiered their new music video for Detroit-based artist Stef Chura on DIY Magazine.
Detroit-based Artist Collaborates with CalArtians on Music Video
Carroll of Montana has proven it can play at multiple tempos and be successful.
Lady Mustangs’ Up-Tempo Play Enough to Best Fighting Saints 74-64