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A daily look back at the toys, games, and objects that captured our attention as children and continue to fascinate us today.

Bob Baker Marionette Theater – Los Angeles, California

Bob Baker Marionette Theater is a Los Angeles-based institution that hosts live theatre performances and provides opportunities for people of all ages to learn more about puppeteering and marionettes.

A bit of history about Bob Baker will help explain the important role the theatre plays in the puppeteering community. In 1930, six-year-old Baker saw his first puppet show and set Baker off on a life-long path of discovery, creativity, and advocacy. By the age of eight, he was already training with professional puppeteers. During high school, he handmade marionettes to be sold internationally. After graduation, Baker worked with industry bigwigs such as Puppetoons and Disney. That work led him to opportunities on television series such as Star Trek, Bewitched, Land of the Giants, and the movies Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. He advocated for the unionization of puppeteers, which led to Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA recognizing puppeteers as actors with specialized skills.

Baker died in 2014, leaving behind the thriving theatre that bears his name. It functions not only as a performance art centre, but also a museum, workshop, and educational institution. Opened in 1963, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater is home to over 2,000 handcrafted puppets that rotate through more than 300 performances each year.

As a non-profit organization, the theatre has come up with unique methods of fundraising, including an adopt-a-puppet program that funds the care and restoration of puppets in need and recognizes the donor as the puppet’s “very best friend”.

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Plan your next vacation to include a visit to a play-related store, museum, or private collection.