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Hostelry Founded by Comedians on Market

September 06, 1987|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe (Fatty) Arbuckle opened the Montecito Inn in 1929, but--with the Crash and then the Depression--the comedians' timing was off. The inn, intended as a weekend retreat for the Hollywood crowd, soon changed hands.

Now it's on the market again at $8 million.

The owner is Jay Rett Management Inc., a partnership of Jim Taylor, a local developer, and Rob Barrett, owner of the Pineapple Beach Club in Antigua.

"Rob is really busy in Antigua, running his hotel there, and Jim prefers not to be a hotel operator," explained Denny Ray, who has the listing with the Santa Barbara office of Grubb & Ellis. Ray also represented Jim and Susie Lavenson in the sale of their 540-acre San Ysidro Ranch, which closes escrow at the end of this month.

The Montecito Inn has 52 furnished rooms, a two-bedroom apartment, exercise room, convention facilities, swimming pool and free trolley service to downtown Santa Barbara. It is a short walk to the beach, and the antique and gift shops and clothing boutiques of Coast Village Road, Montecito's answer to Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive.

Taylor and Barrett have only owned the inn since last September but were involved in running the hotel for a number of years.

The white-stucco landmark had an occupancy rate of just over 70% for the year, with daily rates at from $98 to $255.

Pope John Paul II won't be luxuriating in fancy quarters when he comes to Los Angeles Sept. 15-17, says Msgr. Royale Vadakin. And who should know better about the man from the Vatican than a Vadakin?

"He's just staying in the residence of the cathedral rectory," Vadakin said. "And it's a small, ordinary apartment--not exotic--with a bedroom, sitting room and bath."

The apartment is in Archbishop's Roger M. Mahony's official residence at St. Vibiana's at 2nd and Main streets.

Actress Nancy Allen, who's in the summer hit "RoboCop," just bought a house in the Hollywood Hills that Jana Jones of Alvarez, Hyland & Young says is "as charming as she is."

The home, which Jones heard was built in 1960 for "Tootsie" director Sydney Pollack, is Cape Cod in style and has, Jones said, "a big lawn and a great view."

Allen previously lived in an apartment in West Hollywood, Jones added.

Price of the house? Jones wouldn't say, but we heard that houses in the neighborhood sell in the $400,000 range.

Paramount Pictures' ribbon-cutting the other day for its Adolph Zukor Building, the first office building to be built on the lot since 1947, prompted these memories of Zukor from producer A. C. Lyles, who has worked at the studio for 50 years:

"After his 96th birthday lunch in the commissary, which was on the site where the new building is now, Pauline--who was in charge of the commissary then--asked Mr. Zukor what she should do with the half of his birthday cake that remained, and he said, 'Save it for next year.' That's the kind of spirit and enthusiasm that he had, and is still here.

"He worked until he was 103." (Zukor died in 1976.)

"He discovered Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, Bing Crosby. . . . " Lyles' list went on and on. "His first big stars were Mary Pickford, Pola Negri, Gloria Swanson, Rudolph Valentino.

"Mr. Zukor really put the show in showmanship. He was only about 5-foot-6, but he was a giant in the business."

Eugene Zukor, Zukor's son, and other members of the Zukor family were at the ceremony, and Lyles showed them around. "Gene, who was a producer here but hadn't been on the lot for about 15 years, said it was one of the biggest days of his life," Lyles said.

Songwriter Roger Miller just leased a home in Beverly Hills with a pool, tennis court and guest house.

"He's here to do the music for the new Dolly Parton TV show," Stephen Shapiro of Stan Herman & Associates, who handled the lease, said. The house was rented in the past to auto maker John DeLorean.

Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Pia Zadora, Jackson Browne, Motley Crue and the Four Seasons have something in common: Global Guests, one of the fastest growing travel agencies in Southern California.

Global handled worldwide concert tours in recent months for all of the above and booked so many other trips that it just added eight agents to its staff of six and more than doubled the size of its Beverly Hills headquarters.

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