The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #958. With over 300 performances a year, utilizing over 2000 handcrafted puppets, the Theater caters to birthday parties, school groups, weddings, and community functions of all sorts. In 2019, after over 55 years of magic and having entertained over one million children of all ages, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater moved from its historic location at 1345 W. 1st St. to a 1923 vaudeville theater at 4949 York Blvd. in Highland Park. The Theater is excited to continue its tradition of enchanting entertainment for all ages at its new location for another 55 years!
In 1930 Bob Baker, a six-year-old Los Angeles native, saw a puppet show and dedicated the rest of his life to puppetry. His company’s work spanned decades of creative projects across Los Angeles, from puppetry and design on Disneyland’s Main Street, to countless contributions in film and television including Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Bewitched, Escape to Witch Mountain, and more. The Bob Baker Marionette Theater continues his legacy of fostering imagination and creativity in all aspects of life and art.
Who is Bob Baker?
At age eight, Baker trained with several different Los Angeles-based companies before giving his first professional performance for director Mervyn Leroy. While attending Hollywood High School, he began manufacturing toy marionettes that sold both in Europe and the United States. After graduation he became an apprentice at the George Pal Animation Studios. A year later he was promoted to head animator of Puppetoons. After World War II, Baker served as ananimation advisor at many film studios, including Disney. His puppetry was featured on TV in Bewitched, Star Trek, Land of the Giants and NCIS; and on film in the 1944 movie Bluebeard, in A Star Is Born, G.I. Blues, Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Baker was also instrumental in championing union membership for puppeteers. As a result, Screen Actors Guild andAFTRA now recognize puppeteers as actors with a special skill. He has also provided a place of learning for the next generation of puppeteers, including Scott Land and Michael Earl. Bob Baker (1924–2014) was an American puppeteer whose marionettes have entertained thousands of children and adults worldwide for more than 70 years.
Baker and partner, Alton Wood, turned a run-down scenic shop near downtown Los Angeles into a family entertainment institution: The Bob Baker Marionette Theater. The Bob Baker Marionettes have performed around the globe (even on Navy ships and submarines!), with an inventory of nearly three thousand puppets. Like Bill Baird before him, Bob Baker is an American pioneer in the art of puppetry.
Bob Baker passed away at 90 years old on November 28, 2014 of natural causes at. He left behind a lifetime worth of smiles and memories, thousands of enchanting, hand-crafted puppets, his Cultural-Historical landmark: the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, and a beloved crew of people dedicated to keeping Bob's enduring vision ever-lasting.
At 8-years-old Bob Baker saw a Puppet Show.
More than eighty years later, that experience has grown into a cultural landmark.