header image

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

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Sunny
Sunny
93°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 25
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Clampitt fire


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.

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, Sep 14, 2022
Recent media reports about overcrowding and lack of exercise for dogs at some other Los Angeles area animal shelters has prompted discussions about animal shelter population management. This is a key operational issue for animal shelters and deserving of the public’s attention.
Tuesday, Sep 13, 2022
As summer comes to an end, we can only hope that the extreme heat will also be ending soon! Crazy weather! The hospital is preparing for a very busy remainder of the year with many exciting ways for our community to get involved, from our Breast Cancer Awareness Month, including Bingo or Bust, to the Holiday Home Tour Gala and Boutique.
Tuesday, Sep 13, 2022
Since the city of Santa Clarita’s incorporation in 1987, your City Council has made protecting our local environment a top priority.
Monday, Sep 12, 2022
As one of the busiest freeways on the West Coast, Interstate 5 is a key component in goods movement and a major source of commuter traffic.
Friday, Sep 9, 2022
As the seasons change and we welcome cooler weather, the city is excited to bring new programming to all of our residents this fall, whether that’s at on our fields, out on the trails or at our pools.
Friday, Sep 2, 2022
The rate of teen overdose deaths in our country continues to rise. According to UCLA research, the rate doubled in 2020 and rose another 20% in the first half of 2021. With this frightening trend, the city continues to offer programs for teens and parents to help prevent drug abuse.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Clampitt fire
1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]
Sanford Lyon
Director Laurie Morgan is no stranger to the SCV artistic scene, having been active as a singer, actress, and director since the 1970s.
Romantic Comedy ‘Beau Jest’ Opens at Canyon Theatre Guild
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has voted 14 students as winners of the 49th Student Academy Awards competition.
Winners of 2022 Student Academy Awards Announced
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its regular meeting Tuesday, Sept. 27, beginning with a special meeting/closed session at 5:30 p.m., followed immediately by open session at 6 p.m.
Sept. 27: City Council Regular Meeting
College of the Canyons student-athletes Motoko Shimoji (women's golf) and Joshua Littleberry (football) have been named the COC Athletic Department's Women's & Men's Student-Athletes of the Week for the period running Sept. 12-17.
COC Names Shimoji, Littleberry Athletes of the Week
California State University, Northridge head men's and women's track and field and cross country coach Justin Johnson has announced the addition of Devin Elizondo to the Matadors' coaching staff.
Matadors Add Devin Elizondo, Joseph Blue to Track, Cross Country Programs
Valencia-based Lief Labs, a premier formulation and product development innovator and manufacturer of dietary supplements, is pleased to announce that Lief’s CEO & Founder, Adel Villalobos, was honored by the College of the Canyons Business Alliance among specially selected local Hispanic business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs who have inspired others to pursue their dreams in the Santa Clarita Valley.
COC Business Alliance Honors Lief Labs CEO During Hispanic Heritage Month
Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley announces the 30-year celebration of the James T. Ventress Clubhouse in Newhall Park on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8 a.m.
Oct. 12: Boys & Girls Club SCV Celebrating 30 Years
On Thursday, Sept. 29, Los Angeles County will officially launch the Veteran Suicide Review Team, a collaborative between the city of Los Angeles, County, federal and private agencies to reduce veteran suicide in L.A. County.
L.A. County Launches Veteran Suicide Review Team
SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond will host a virtual Back-to-School Parent Town Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m.
Parents Invited to Virtual Town Hall with State Schools Chief
A Centers for Disease Control report published on Monday, Sept. 19 used U.S. data from 2017-2019 to highlight striking inequality in maternal deaths.
L.A. County, CDC Report Similar, Critical Inequalities in Maternal Deaths
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Friday no new deaths and 34 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, with a total of 13 deaths and 1,641 new cases countywide.
Friday COVID Roundup: 34 New SCV Cases; No Additional Deaths
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health this week warned school leaders about a new and concerning “rainbow fentanyl” drug that may interest youth.
School Leaders Warned of New, ‘Rainbow Fentanyl’ Trend
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has appointed General (Ret.) Lester Lyles to serve as the Chair of the Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (DACODAI). Lyles is a seasoned organizational leader and US Air Force veteran, with over two decades of executive-level leadership to corporate and STEM-related national boards.
Defense Department Announces New Diversity, Inclusion Committee
1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]
Women's Club
Join in expressing your gratitude for our veterans and first responders at the free Veterans and First Responders Appreciation Day, sponsored by the Santa Clarita Elks Lodge 2379 and Los Angeles County Chapter, Marines and Corpsmen Association on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Oct. 8: Santa Clarita Elks Lodge Hosting Veterans, First Responders Appreciation Day
The Lady Mustangs jumped out to a fast start winning the first two sets before taking care of the Arizona Christian Firestorm 3-1 on the road in Glendale, Ariz., Saturday to get their first conference win of the season.
Lady Mustangs Volleyball Earn First GSAC Win
Join realtor Tiffany Shields for her free home buyers seminar which will be held on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m., at the Canyon Country Community Center.
Oct. 1: Free Home Buyers Seminar at Canyon Country Community Center
The Newhall Community Center will host a Marketplace Sunday, Oct. 23, from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m., at 22421 Market Street in Newhall.
Oct. 23: Newhall Community Center Hosting Marketplace
The city of Santa Clarita is inviting the community to attend the Sidewalk Poetry Reading Dedication at The MAIN, located at 24266 Main Street in Old Town Newhall, on Saturday, Oct. 15, at 11 a.m.
Oct. 15: Sidewalk Poetry Dedication in Old Town Newhall
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday no new deaths and 41 new cases in the Santa Clarita Valley, with a total of 12 deaths and 1,666 new cases countywide.
Thursday COVID Roundup: 41 New SCV Cases; No Additional Deaths
1923 - Newhall Chamber of Commerce organizes community cleanup day [story]
cleanup day
SCVNews.com
%d bloggers like this: