Off-Ramp for Jun 06, 2009

Bob Baker's HISTORIC Marionnette Theater

This week, LA city council named the Bob Baker Marionnette Theater a Historic-Cultural Monument. Listen to a few Off-Ramp features - old and new - that visit the storied cultural center.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A marionette theater near downtown Los Angeles was designated an historic-cultural monument today by the Los Angeles City Council.

The Bob Baker Marionette Theater on West First Street was built in 1953 and originally served as a workshop for Academy Award-winning special effects artist M. B. Paul. In 1961, the building was sold to Bob Baker and Alton Wood, who turned it into a live puppet theater.

The theater is believed to be the longest-running puppet theater in the country, according to the city Planning Department. Baker eventually started his own company, Bob Baker Productions, and worked on "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," "A Star is Born" and "Escape to Witch Mountain."

"It is one of the rare occasions for a young person to learn about the classics, great stories, and actually feel and see and touch what stories can do for the imagination. It is because of human contact -- real life -- moving right before them. In today's day of Rock Band and videos and all of these
technologies that isolate our kids, this is one where they have to get together with people," said Councilman Ed Reyes, chair of the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.


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