Arlene Larsen sells costumes, decorated flower pots and more
During her long career in the Hollywood costume industry, Arlene Larsen rubbed elbows with legends such as Bob Mackie.
That’s the same Bob Mackie forever known for creating great, spectacular costumes for classics such as CBS’ “The Carol Burnett Show” and “Sonny and Cher.” Remember the curtain rods that Ms. Burnett, a longtime Montecito resident, wore in the “Went with the Wind? sketch? Or the elaborate sequined gowns Cher wore? Those were Mr. Mackie’s creations.
When Mr. Mackie was about to discard something like a yard of sequined trim, Mrs. Larsen grabbed it.
And kept it.
“I’m not hoarder,” the longtime Santa Barbara resident told the News-Press with a big smile this week during a visit to the Magic Castle Cabaret that she continues to oversee in Montecito.
“I just appreciate fine things and find a use for them,” said Mrs. Larsen, whose husband, Milt, co-founded the Magic Castle in Hollywood with his late brother Bill Larsen.
And Mrs. Larsen did, in fact, find a use for Mr. Mackie’s leftover sequined trims. She decorates flower pots with them.
And you can buy one of them as part of the Holiday Garage Sale Party at the Magic Castle Cabaret.
The sale, which includes costumes and decorations for Halloween, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, you name it — there’s even a spirit or ouija board — is taking place 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today and Sunday at the cabaret, 30 Los Patos Way. It’s across the street from the Andrée Clark Bird Refuge.
There’s a limit of 25 people at a time inside the cabaret, where the bar each day will open at noon.
Some of the items have prices taped on them, but Mrs. Larsen is willing to hear offers.
She said she plans to give away what she doesn’t sell to local thrift shops, Unity Shoppe and a nonprofit university in Chatsworth.
This is, in fact, one of your classier garage sales.
All the metallic palm trees are a sign of that, along with everything else on sale: wedding dresses, fancy coats, men’s vests, classic games such as Shut the Box, Mardi Gras items and all sorts of treasures.
When Mrs. Larsen led the News-Press through the Magic Castle Cabaret, it felt like a treasure hunt. She led the way into the cabaret’s kitchen, where a big ice cream maker is among the items on sale.
“We had a player piano that had cymbals and tambourines and accordions built in it,” she said. “We had it here. It was too loud; we never really used it.”
So she gave it to the nearby Friendship Center in Montecito.
Mrs. Larsen led the News-Press into rooms of various sizes — the decor is similar to the vintage look of the Magic Castle Hollywood. The rooms include one themed for Christmas decorations.
“Tablecloths for every occasion!” said Mrs. Larsen as she walked past them.
“I have enough party favors for 200 people, including brand new things that we never gave out,” Mrs. Larsen said. She and her husband are known for hosting classy, well-themed parties at their home overlooking Santa Barbara.
“We have Santa Clauses that we gave to everybody walking in,” she said.
While Mrs. Larsen said she doesn’t plan on hosting any future big parties, she’s quick to add, “I haven’t given up on parties. I have a magical Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the back of my mind.”