Highland Park

Beloved Puppets Put Their Handprints in Local Cement

If you're strolling through Highland Park and spy these prints below your feet, you'll know you're outside the Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

Winona Bechtle/Julian Small Calvillo

What to Know

  • Bob Baker Marionette Theater
  • The theater is located at 4949 York Boulevard in Highland Park (look for the wee handprints just outside, near the sidewalk)
  • The troupe's "Hallowe'en Spooktacular" is playing on select dates through Oct. 31, 2021

Sinking your hands into wet cement?

Call it an offbeat tradition, one that has taken lasting hold in Hollywood thanks to the print-strewn forecourt of the TCL Chinese Theatre.

It's a destination that is famously dotted with the handprints, and shoe prints, of some of the best-known movie stars of the last several decades, thanks to theater founder Sid Grauman's big and quirky vision.

Adding to the quirkiness? A few prints made by non-human honorees have also found their way into the star-studded cement, including Trigger's horsey hoofprints.

Where, though, should you go if you'd like to see handprints left by some of Southern California's most beloved puppets, the on-the-string superstars that have been delighting local kids for over 60 years?

You'll need to move east from Tinseltown, in the direction of Highland Park, where the Bob Baker Marionette Theater relocated in 2019.

For a few of the puppets from the lauded troupe recently took time away from their busy rehearsal schedules to make a sidewalk-adjacent splash at the historic theater, which is located at 4949 York Boulevard.

If you're at that address, you only need to look down, near the theater's entrance, to see the wee prints left by a number of the sweet marionettes that call the wholesome venue home.

"Some recent cement work just under our window created the perfect opportunity for our puppets to leave their mark," shared the theater on social media.

Even marionettes, it seems, can be tempted by the sight of wet cement.

You can also see a number of vintage puppet hands, all grouped together, on this post, as well as more on the handprint project.

Call these new cement-based handprints a lovely and lasting way to remind passersby just who calls the theater home.

They're also a good reminder that performances have resumed at the theater following a pandemic-related closure, with the "Hallowe'en Spooktacular" now delighting audiences with thrilling but not-at-all-chilling performances filled with cheer.

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