SCV In the Movies | Episode 37: Shot in Mentryville: The Last Roundup (1929) with Guest Darryl Manzer
Darryl Manzer, the “only kid in Mentryville” from 1960-66, makes a guest appearance on this edition of “SCV In the Movies” with E.J. Stephens and Bill West. Darryl talks E.J. and Bill through the 1929 Trem Carr/J.P. McGowan feature, “The Last Roundup,” which was shot in 1929 in the historic Mentryville oil town in Pico Canyon (three miles west of Interstate 5 at Lyons Avenue). Today it’s a state park, managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.
Between them, producer Trem Carr and director J.P. McGowan were responsible for many of the movies shot in the Santa Clarita Valley in the 1920s and 1930s, particularly in Placerita Canyon. They probably didn’t realize — or care — that they were recording our valley’s history along the way.
It’s a good thing they did. Carr and McGowan unwittingly documented 1929 Newhall in their Bob Custer film, “Code of the West“; in another one of their 1929 Custer vehicles, “The Last Roundup,” they give us views of Mentryville and details of its buildings that we haven’t seen elsewhere — such as the rear entry to the community (dance) hall, which no longer exists; side doors to the barn (heard of, never seen); an “expansion” of the chicken house (who knew?); a carriage step at the main house; fences, vegetation and more. Carr and McGowan also leave us with a sense for the proxmity of the structures, and because we know the film was released in July 1929, when know when Mentryville looked this way.
ABOUT E.J. STEPHENS
E.J. Stephens is a noted Hollywood historian, author, lecturer and tour guide. An Indiana native, E.J. has lived for 10 years in the Santa Clarita Valley with his wife Kimi and their two children, Mariah and Dylan.
By day, E.J. can be found in Burbank on the Warner Bros. Studios lot where he is a tour guide and an audience coordinator on Conan O’Brien’s late-night talk show. When not giving tours at the studio, E.J. and Kimi host tours of their own for their Newhall-based company, Newhallywood Tours.
E.J. has co-written four books on subjects ranging from the history of Warner Bros. and Paramount to Griffith Park and the Santa Clarita Valley (the latter with Kimi and Dr. Alan Pollack). The trio is currently working on another SCV history book titled “Then & Now: The Santa Clarita Valley,” scheduled to hit the shelves in early 2014.
ABOUT BILL WEST
Bill West is a movie nut who serves on the board of Friends of Hart Park, gives tours of the Hart Mansion and maintains the Friends’ website.
In his spare time, Bill writes software for Walt Disney Imagineering, where he has contributed to Star Tours, Toy Story Midway Mania, the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage and other attractions. Previously, he wrote software at Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
Bill enjoys lounge music and he plays the drums for pickup bands. He lives in Santa Clarita with his Realtor (his wife Liliana) and their son Josh. Pets include Maya the Mutt, Luigi the Canary, and a cat whose name he can’t pronounce but is Polish for “kitty.”