One of the most striking features of the original location of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater were its painted curtains. Though not original to the paint job in the earliest days of the Theater, for at least a few generations of Angelenos and visitors alike, these painted curtains became a calling card for the Bob Baker Marionette Theater and a reminder of puppet shows with family and friends. Stepping into the Theater was like being wrapped in a big red blanket, and when we were presented with white walls full of possibility at our new location at 4949 York Blvd. it was an easy decision to plan to “rehang” these curtains in the new Theater. Our velvety red curtains we could take off the wall, but what about these painted beauties? Our questions were first directed at our incredible sponsor, Dunn-Edwards, who have generously provided all of the paint featured in our new Theater. Though they were familiar with glossy interiors, matte walls, and fine details… we have to believe that painting red and gold curtains inside of a puppet theater wall was an unusual request to begin with!
When the Bob Baker Marionette Theater first announced our move from our old location, we were often faced with a barrage of questions– “What are you bringing? Will the chandeliers come with you?” “Are you throwing things away?” “Are the puppets coming?” To these questions our staff smiled knowing that we have barely thrown out the tiniest puppet part in over 50 years! Of course the chandeliers were coming… and so was the drywall. Some organizations might rely on paint chips to color match… but not us! We had big plans to cut out portions of the historic drywall to take a bit of the “wallpaper” with us, and thought that in order to fully appreciate the color transitions, the mixing, and the vibrance, we would take this portion of drywall with us to our local Dunn-Edwards paint store in Glendale to speak in person with their Professional Color Advisor to ensure that we got as close as possible to the original reds, blues, and yellows of our Theater walls.
Admittedly, walking into a paint store with a chunk of Theater wall is quite a sight to see! However, we quickly got down to it and tested, compared, and matched the colors from our original Theater wall to shades that were remarkably close (if not a perfect) match! No sooner did we leave the store and begin making phone calls on our way back to alert the crews that paint was coming and we had some work to do.
With a dedicated team of puppeteers, volunteers, and Bob Baker staff the curtains went up over the course of only a few days. Seemingly like magic the white hallway walls began to feel more like home, and we could imagine audiences coming through the doors and experiencing a Bob Baker show for the first time or the 50th time. Though the Theater would be full of exciting new puppets, shows, workshops, and more… it was crucial to us to define Bob Baker history not only through the physical building and marionettes in our collection, but through the characteristics that define the experience of coming to see a show. Honoring pieces of our historic original location was a crucial part of our move to 4949 York Blvd., and with the help and support of Dunn-Edwards we have been able to do that confidently and courageously, while also having time to focus on our puppet rehearsals! We have said for quite a while now that the future is sweet….but did you know it also features painted curtains?