Bob Baker, master puppet-maker and puppeteer of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, died on Friday of natural causes at age 90.
I refuse to grieve. He wished for no services, no sadness at his passing.
Although we never met, and I never actually saw him in person, he brought me a lot of joy during my time in LA. And so in lieu of mourning, I would like to honor his memory, and, more importantly, his creations. Here follows a photo essay of some of his marionettes – common and obscure – that were on display at the Blue 5 Art Space in conjunction with this year's LA Puppet Fest back in April. Having just lost my job, it was when I needed them the most.
This is a tiny sampling of the over 3000 puppets that serve as the rotating cast for the various productions of the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, built by Bob himself, their moves and dance routines choreographed by him as well.
Petunia (c. 1955)
Tomato (c. 1952): from KTTV's "Revolt of the Vegetables"
Mrs. Broccoli (c. 1952): from KTTV's "Revolt of the Vegetables"
Hollywood Mouse (c. 1981)
Opera Singer (c. 1950)
Dodo Bird (c. 1954): an extinct bird performing an extinct dance, The Charleston
Cleopatra (c. 1960)
Gorgeous (c. 1981)
Sugar Plum Fairy (c. 1959)
Elephant with Girl (c. 1952)
There are lots of great puppeteers at the theater now that have been carrying on Bob's legacy for a while, as his age advanced and as he went into hospice. The theater building has been threatened with demolition and development several times even since I moved here. No one really knows what will happen next, or where the puppets will go if they lose their stage and storage space.
Photo Essay: Behind the Scenes at Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Photo Essay: Fiesta! at Bob Baker Marionette Theater
Photo Essay: Christmas With Puppets
Photo Essay: Puppets on a Spring
Photo Essay: Puppets on a Spring, Addendum: Equinox Edition
Photo Essay: Halloween at the Marionette Theater