Offbeat L.A.: A Loving Goodbye to Marionette Master Bob Baker

The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Two Bob Baker created puppets - The invisible Man and a Witch (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Two Bob Baker created puppets – The Invisible Man and a witch (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Los Angeles sadly lost an offbeat legend today, Friday November 28th. Bob Baker, the magical maestro of the oldest puppet theater in the United States, passed away at age 90. Baker had been in hospice recently, so the news was not unexpected, but it is heartbreaking nonetheless.

With an inventory of over 3,000 puppets, The Bob Baker Marionette Theater, located near downtown L.A., has been an institution for 51 years. It has been casting spells of puppetry magic since it opened in 1963. A native Angeleno, Baker began studying the art of puppetry at age 8 and never looked back, investing his life performing, building marionettes and maintaining his theater. His film, TV and variety show credits listed on the theater’s webpage number nearly one hundred and include the movies  Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Escape to Witch Mountain, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind and Elvis Presley’s GI Blues.  Although the building housing the theater was declared a historic-cultural landmark in 2009,  it has been threatened with closure for several years. A Bob Baker memorial fund has been set up to save it and donations can be made by following this link.

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is truly a wonderland of enchantment for all ages. It is a joyful and inspiring place where the world outside stops, worries are forgotten and a simple childlike wonder relaxes even the most cynical adult.

Backstage at the Bob Baker Theater (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Backstage at the Bob Baker Theater (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Please do your part to preserve this historic puppet theater by visiting! Currently you can celebrate the holidays by catching the whimsical puppetry version of The Nutcracker. This eclectic show uses over 100 Bob Baker-created marionettes. Performances are Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30pm with occasional weekday performances at 10:30am and are $20.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater: 1345 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA  90026; (213) 250-9995.

Also read the Offbeat L.A. piece about the incredible International Puppetry Museum in Pasadena.

 

Nikki Kreuzer

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for over 30 years. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring & photographing the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 110 Offbeat L.A. articles, published at the Los Angeles Beat. As a journalist she contributes regularly to LA Weekly, Blurred Culture and has also been published by Oddee.com, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also a mosaic artist, radio DJ and published photographer. Her photography has been featured in exhibit at the Museum of Neon Art, in print at the LA Weekly and in exhibit at the Neutra Museum in Los Angeles. She has recorded with the band Nikki & Candy as bassist, vocalist and songwriter, directing and appearing in the 'Sunshine Sunshine Santa Claus' music video for the band. She co-hosted the monthly radio show Bubblegum & Other Delights on Dublab.com for over two years. Her acting credits include a recent role in the ABC-TV show 'For The People', 'Incident at Guilt Ridge', 'Two and a Half Men', the film 'Minority Report' and 'Offbeat L.A.', a web series, written and hosted by Nikki Kreuzer. Her writing, radio and video portfolio can be found at OffbeatLA.com, her photography work @Lunabeat on Instagram and her music history posts @NikkiKreuzer on Twitter. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon or at NikkiandCandy.com.
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3 Responses to Offbeat L.A.: A Loving Goodbye to Marionette Master Bob Baker

  1. Alan Cook says:

    The International Puppetry Museum in PASADENA closed at the end of May, 2014. The puppet collection has moved to Seattle WA to the North West Puppet Center. A book on the collection is in the works. And the Puppetry Museum continues to add to the collection.

  2. Pingback: Offbeat L.A. Takes a Video Trip to the Historic & Cool Bob Baker Puppet Theater | The LA Beat

  3. Pingback: The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre Announces its New Permanent Home in Highland Park! And Don’t Forget Bob Baker Day This Saturday! | The LA Beat

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