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

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Originally published November 28, 2014 at The Los Angeles Beat

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.

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.

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for more than half of her life. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 100 Offbeat L.A. articles, which she started in 2013 while writing for The Los Angeles Beat. She has also been published in the LA Weekly, Oddee.com, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also is a mosaic artist, working actor and published photographer. As part of the band Nikki & Candy, she plays bass, sings and is co-writer. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube and other music sites. Nikki is currently working on her first novel. Please “like” the Offbeat L.A. Facebook page! For more Offbeat L.A. photos & adventures follow @Lunabeat on Instagram.

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