In a world of high-tech everything, where we freak out if something takes more than two seconds to download (or maybe that’s just me?), there is something incredibly charming about the simplicity of the Bob Baker Theater. But simple does not mean boring, as my delighted three-year-old and I will tell you after our recent visit for the Halloween Hoop-De-Doo, one of the theater’s most popular offerings that is running through November 3rd.
Bob Baker has been a puppeteer and marionette maker since the 1940s, and has created puppets for iconic films like A Star Is Born and Bedknobs and Broomsticks. He designed all of the marionettes at the theater, and for the Hoop-De-Doo there are over 100 Halloween-themed puppets.
Now in its 53rd season, the Bob Baker Theater is the oldest of its kind in the United States, and has been declared a Los Angeles historic cultural monument. Bob’s creations have been entertaining kids here since 1960, and I have even heard that Liza Minnelli used to come when she was a child!
The theater is tucked away under an overpass in Downtown Los Angeles, with a paid parking lot next door and lots of street parking. After walking past a clown blowing a horn at the entrance, you will enter the theater, which is very beautiful and romantic and decked out with crystal chandeliers and velvety purple drapes and curtains.
Shows are performed in the round, with a large square of gray carpet serving as the stage. Kids can sit on the floor right in the front (with parents behind them in chairs), which makes it easy for the puppets to come right over and sit in their lap or pat them on the head, making the audience a part of the show! Every seat is a good one, and I think everyone gets to feel like they are part of the action.
The insanely talented puppeteers are part of the show, too; dressed all in black, they walk and run around the room while manipulating the marionette strings to allow them to talk, sing, dance, and play the guitar. In one number, a marionette even appears to twerk! That is amazing, especially considering that I can’t even manage to keep my Iphone cord free of knots. After each hour-long show, you can meet the puppeteers, buy a souvenir puppet, and have refreshments in the theater’s colorful party room.
Some of our favorite numbers from the Halloween Hoop-De-Doo (which debuted in 1963) were the Purple People Eater, the Invisible Man, and the black light numbers, featuring glowing skeletons (some with twirling tassels on their lady parts). Catch the Halloween Hoop-De-Doo while you can; the shows change every season. Something tells me we will be back soon for the Holiday Spectacular!
The Bob Baker Marionette Theater
1345 West First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Bob Baker’s Halloween Hoop-De-Doo runs through November 3rd.
Bob Baker’s Holiday Spectacular opens November 9th.
Tuesdays through Fridays at 10:30am
Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30pm
Children and Adults $15.00
Children under Age 2 Free
Call the Box Office For Required Reservations