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Purse strings tighten at Bob Baker's Marionette Theater

November 22, 2008 |  4:34 pm


The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is a place that is both magical and earth-bound. Operating from the corner of 1st Street and Glendale Boulevard just west of downtown Los Angeles for 49 years, it is a vestige of childhoods lived, where vegetables dance to old vaudeville tunes and musical instruments dance and jump across a black box theater festooned with crystal chandeliers.

But it's also been struggling for years, trying to eke out an existence on $15-a-head admission, amid the fickle nature of children's passions.

Photo credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (4)

About 20 years ago, I was writing the 54 Hours column for the Los Angeles Times and urging everyone to see the Bob Baker Marionettes. I have not seen anything as skilled or charming before or since. This theater is a national treasure and
I would hope that there would be support somewhere for a theater event that is so incredibly beautiful in every respect. The details are beyond description. When the eyelids flutter the heart can break. Mine certainly will if Bob Baker cannot continue.

What should be mentioned is not only the Bob Baker Marionette Theater's effect on the generations of children in the audience, but also the benefits gained by the young performers. This is where young artists-to-be can get their first chance to perform, hear their first applause, and learn some traditions of the theater.

I heard about this show from a teacher and now I really don't want to miss it!
How can we help?

I am wondernig whether my memory is correct. Years ago, while I was working on my MA at Cal State, I met a young woman from Japan named Kiyoko. We became friends and at the time she was working with two guys who had a puppet theater in a garage near Cal State. She and her friends there performed her play based on an incident from "The Tale of Genji." My husband and I enjoyed it, and years later I went to Japan to teach and renewed my friendship with Kiyoko. Are you, Bob Baker, the same person I think I remember? If so, you can email me at jeangerard@sbcglobal.net. Best wishes.


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