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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly sunny
Mostly sunny
50°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
February 23
1998 - Worst day of record-setting 1997-98 El Nino storm season [story]
El Nino


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
Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020
While many cities in the Golden State are dealing with the struggle of funding pension and other post-employment benefits, Santa Clarita remains in good financial standing, and that is not by accident.
Monday, Feb 3, 2020
The month of February is marked with valentines, candy hearts and celebrations of love. Here in Santa Clarita, our hearts are still healing from the events of November 14, 2019.
Monday, Jan 27, 2020
As we begin our third year of operations as Santa Clarita Valley's integrated regional water agency, it's a good time to check our rearview mirror and see how far we've come in just two years.
Monday, Jan 20, 2020
Did you sign up for a Medicare Advantage health plan last year only to find that it doesn’t meet your needs? Not to worry.You still have time to switch to another Medicare Advantage plan, or return to Original Medicare.
Friday, Jan 10, 2020
If you are a spouse or you know a veteran in need, please refer them to Blue Star Ranch, Serving Our Nation’s Veterans with Equine Assisted Therapy.
Friday, Jan 3, 2020
Tejon Ranch now forbids you on their conservation property if you belong to any one of several environmental organizations.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1998 - Worst day of record-setting 1997-98 El Nino storm season [story]
El Nino
1983 - Armed robber taken out at Alpha Beta supermarket on Lyons [story]
Alpha Beta market
A proposed subdivision that would ultimately expand The Master’s University, with parking lots and additional housing units, received a two-year time extension by the Santa Clarita Planning Commission on Tuesday.
Planning Commission OK’s Extension of Proposed TMU Subdivision
It was the beach volleyball version of the give-and-go. TMU's Katie Emmerling knelt in the sand to dig an attack....
TMU Beach Volleyball: Another Strong Showing in Irvine
The Lady Cougars tennis program continues to win, this time in a home win defeating visiting Bakersfield College 7-2 on Thursday at the Cougar Courts.
Canyons Improves to 8-1 After Home Win vs. Bakersfield
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will host its fourth annual CARE SCV, a Cancer Awareness & Resource Expo, at The Centre on Centre Pointe Parkway in Santa Clarita on Saturday, March 7, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
March 7: 4th Annual Cancer Awareness Expo at The Centre
Santa Clarita-based Mellady Direct Marketing is the Small Business of the Month for February 2020 in California's 21st Senate District, Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) announced Friday.
Wilk Honors Mellady Direct as Small Business of the Month
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee will hold its next public meeting at City Hall on Monday, February 24, starting at 3 p.m.
Agenda: City Council Legislative Committee Feb. 24 Meeting
A man who was contracted to work on former Rep. Katie Hill’s 2018 campaign for the 25th District Congressional Primary Election has been arrested by FBI agents on suspicion of cyberattacks on campaign websites.
Man Arrested for Cyberattacks in 2018 Congressional Race
After normal temperature readings for two days, KHTS co-owner Carl Goldman's fever returned Thursday night as he remains in quarantine in an infectious disease treatment center in Nebraska fighting the COVID-19 virus.
COVID-19 Update: KHTS Co-Owner’s Fever Flares, His Quarantine Starts Over
Santa Clarita Valley residents may or may not have felt a magnitude 3.5 earthquake that rolled through Castaic early Friday morning.
Early-Morning Magnitude 3.5 Earthquake Rolls Castaic
A temporary ban on new restaurant drive-thrus citywide could extend through January 2021 should the Santa Clarita City Council approve an urgency ordinance Tuesday.
City Council May Extend Ban on New Restaurant Drive-thrus
On March 4, California health clinics funded by federal grant dollars under the Title X family planning program must physically and financially sever abortion from the rest of their services under an abortion funding rule issued by the Health and Human Services Department.
California Asks Federal Judge to Block New Abortion Funding Rule
Taking aim at new Trump administration water rules that allow farmers to use more water from the state’s largest rivers, California claimed in a federal lawsuit Thursday that the rules fail to protect endangered fish species.
California Sues Trump Administration Over New Federal Water Rules
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies arrested a man and woman on multiple charges in Canyon Country late Monday night, officials reported Friday afternoon.
Deputies Arrest Couple in Canyon Country on Multiple Charges
1923 - Newhall Chamber of Commerce organized; Albert Swall elected president [story]
Albert Swall
The Lady Cougars defeated host Antelope Valley College 8-1 on Tuesday to pick up its third Western State Conference (WSC) victory.
Lady Cougars Defeat Antelope Valley in 3rd WSC Win
Saugus girls basketball’s 45-43 loss to Fairmont Prep in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2AA quarterfinals was a game of seconds.
Historic Lady Cents Basketball Season Comes to Heartbreaking End
The College of the Canyons Financial Aid Office has scheduled free financial aid application workshops throughout the Spring 2020 semester for students at the Valencia and Canyon Country campuses.
COC Offering Free Financial Aid Workshops Throughout Spring Semester
The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture has received a multi-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to implement an innovative artist development initiative to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in the field of public art in LA County.
County Arts & Culture Investing New $1.75M Grant to Increase Diversity, Inclusion
The Santa Clarita Valley (SCV) Veg Fest, Santa Clarita’s first-ever plant & planet-friendly festival, just announced that the local WiSH Education Foundation will be the beneficiary of the proceeds from this year’s event.
WiSH Education Foundation Named Veg Fest’s 2020 Beneficiary
Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey announced Thursday a historic $18.8 million settlement with Time Warner Cable LLC on behalf of more than 170,000 consumers throughout California who paid for internet speeds they did not receive.
District Attorney’s Office Reaches Historic $18.8M Settlement with Time Warner
A patient under the age of 18 in Saugus was transported via helicopter for medical treatment on Thursday afternoon.
Child Airlifted After Reportedly Suffering Seizure
After a man allegedly fled an enforcement stop Wednesday night that resulted in a car fire south of Calgrove Boulevard, he was arrested on suspicion of felony evading arrest, causing injury.
New York Resident Arrested After Allegedly Fleeing I5 Enforcement Stop
%d bloggers like this: