Monday, December 1, 2008

Marionettes in Breadlines

Go now to the Bob Baker Marionette Theater on First Street. They're in serious trouble, but go for the puppets. Go for the Nutcracker Suite!

Where else do the shows start at 10:30 AM?

In case you were unaware of the dire straits being faced by the gettin-up-there Mr. Baker and his 3000+ marionettes, the wolves are at the door. Real wolves, not "Peter and the" (which you can purchase online, btw). Wolves that would like to be paid $30,000 for the mortgage or they'll throw Tess Trueheart on the railroad tracks . Ouch!

Even the New York Times is in on the act--or at least, supporting the act. In a December 1 story, they reported the Theater's financial woes. The NY Times describes its location on the "decidedly scrappy edge of Downtown." Cute. The Los Angeles Times, in its most recent story (Nov. 20), says that Baker is negotiating payment terms and has no intention of letting his theater close.

Baker, according to his website, started puppeteering at age 8. He made and sold marionettes internationally while he went to Hollywood High School, then worked for George Pal Studios and Walt Disney. Bob Baker's Marionettes were performing at local shows, charity functions, and parties from the late 1940s, and the Theater on First Street opened later. By 1964 the Theater was advertising regularly in the Times, with long-running shows that cost all of $1.50 per child (today it's $15--still a bargain.)

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