For nearly half a century, puppet master Bob Baker has been entertaining people of all ages at his marionette theater near downtown. The native Angeleno first became interested in puppetry at age 8, before launching a long and successful career in animation. In 1963, he founded Bob Baker Marionettes with his late partner, Alton Wood, and in 2009, the City of Los Angeles designated it a historic cultural monument. Accolades, awards and letters of effusive praise cover the walls of the foyer, a testament to Baker’s character and reputation within the community. Inside, the theater continues to provide the backdrop for a series of heartwarming stage productions, brought to life by the 86-year-old and his team of young puppeteers. After the shows, audiences are invited to relax in an adjoining ice-cream parlor, where they have the opportunity to purchase one of Baker’s hand-crafted puppets. A local institution, Bob Baker Marionettes is now the oldest operating children’s company in L.A. While the puppets may be the ones drawing the crowds, it’s Baker who still pulls the strings. 1345 W. 1st St., dwntwn. (213) 250-9995, —Tanja M. Laden

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