Ken’s Gateway Scares – Bob Baker’s Marionettes

Ken’s Gateway Scares – Bob Baker’s Marionettes

I’m going to put the video up front this time.  It’s a Marionette show from one of the undisputed master troops in the world, and it was also the source of one of my first chills up the back jump scares…

When I was a kid growing up here in Orange County California, a lot of my time was spent window shopping with my mom at places like Westminster, South Coast Plaza, and Huntington Beach Malls.  This was long before South Coast Plaza was a beacon for stores few of us can even afford to breathe in, and the Carousel was pretty much the center of the whole show (But I digress…)  So back in the day these were more like plazas with a few anchor stores.  My mother and I would often get their and wait for my Dad to come home from work and join us for dinner in the Montgomery Ward Cafeteria (Sorry for our younger readers…feel free to google both Montgomery Ward and Cafeteria) and often the center of these malls would host shows or exhibits in their courtyards.   On a hot sunny day, and considering out house didn’t have air conditioning, it was a welcome relief to visit these places with my mom, grab a bite or two of See’s Candy and enjoy a kid friendly show.

My all time favorite of these outings came with a visit of the Bob Baker Marionette show.  Now most of the show was just fascinating, and I happily sat down front (Indian style) on the carpet they provided in front of their makeshift trailer stage, delighting in the detailed yet creepy tiny performers.   Marionettes and Puppets, like clowns are a source of both primal fear and great joy depending upon the child viewing them, and for me they were just magical.  However adults can be a little cruel sometimes, intentionally or not, and very soon I (think during my second or third viewing of the scheduled show, and they were all different by the way!!)  I was invited to stand and come sit on the edge of the tiny stage.


As I sat there smiling at the other kids and parents gathered around, I suddenly felt a tiny hand upon my shoulder, and I turned to find an amazingly detailed skeleton Marionette with its head resting in the other hand.

I felt the chills and the terror start at the top of my head and shoot like a lightening bolt all the way down my body.  I would even swear I shot lightening bolts out my toes, but I can’t be sure because I was running so fast into the arms of my mom I would have outrun them anyhow.


Now some remember with great trepidation the horrors of child hood, and I will admit there are things that happened to me I would just as soon forget…but this particular scare proceeded a wide smile and a wonderful childhood revelation.  A good scare can be an awfully good time.

So a great deal of thanks to Bob Baker and his magic makers…they started me on the path of loving all things that jump out of the fog filled corners in theme parks each October and every time I get a good jolt, I think of that tiny little skeleton and the fear and joy it brought me that day.

Scanned Image 112210000

AND Speaking of haunt season.  Ours is already starting to kick into high gear.  If you are reading this, live in Southern California, and aren’t on your way to visit our booth at Midsummer Scream?  What the heck has it’s hand on your shoulder?  We are going to be all over what is shaping up to be a premium haunt and horror convention in Long Beach, and would love to see you to discuss the latest goings on, and especially as we are just over one year old as a site, what we are doing right and what you would like to see us do better.   Come jump in a video for our YouTube Channel, or find out how you can join us at one of our special behind the scenes VIP events at Knott’s Scary Farm and The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor.    See you all there…


By | 2016-07-29T23:20:58+00:00 July 29th, 2016|Conventions, Family Friendly, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Ken’s Gateway Scares – Bob Baker’s Marionettes

About the Author:

Ken Toghia is a director, animator, technologist, and horror/haunt fan living in Southern California. He was raised on Friday the 13th films, Elvira’s Movie Macabre, Oingo Boingo Halloween shows, Theme Parks, and Haunts. He started off his career as a Jungle Cruise Skipper and Riverboat Pilot at Disneyland, has a degree in Film and Television from Cal. State Long Beach, and loves to attend haunts and horror films with his amazing wife and sons (who also happen to love this stuff)