Gregory Paul Williams’ The Story of Hollywood: An Illustrated History is probably the best book on the neighborhood to come out this decade. If you’re at all interested in Los Angeles history (and if you weren’t you probably would not be reading my blog) and moviemaking, it’s a must-read. Mr. Williams is also a professional puppeteer and trained with the esteemed Bob Baker Marionette Theater. The “Conversations with Bob Baker” series is held at his downtown puppet palace. Since the 1930s, Baker has been performing on stage, in films and at parades, television and anywhere there is a need for inanimate objects to come to life. His resume stretches from Walt Disney to Ben Stiller. He even portrayed the alien at the end of Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Did you know that? I didn’t know that. The second installment in the series is about his work in the 1940s where we’ll hear about his time at the George Pal studio, his department store displays and creating early TV with folks like June Foray and Stan Freberg. The event will take place on July 23rd at Baker’s Marionette Theater (City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #958) and tickets can be purchased here.