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Wooden Heart Puppeteer Bob Baker

Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:22 pm

Perhaps this has been shared before but I thought it was a really entertaining inside story regarding the Wooden Heart scene in G.I. Blues.

The puppeteer is a guy named Bob Baker who still has a regular show and puppetry museum in Los Angeles. My girlfriend has visited there twice with her daughters, where they were shown the royal treatment by Baker himself who loves to talk to visitors about the art of puppetry and the significant part he has played in its history.

I don't want to spoil the anecdote Baker relates, but I will just say that his description of how Elvis reacted to performing with the puppet is amusing and charming on behalf both star and puppeteer. And it strikes me as similar to a memorable story about making Love Me Tender related by Mildred Dunnock, who played the Reno Brothers' mom, regarding Elvis' ability to get lost in the "reality" of a scene while on the set.

One last comment is that I haven't watched G.I. Blues or this scene in ages, and it is really entertaining to see the clip again and appreciate just how wonderful the puppetry is, especially given the relative simplicity of Baker's prop, and it's easy to see why Elvis had the reaction he did. Part of the fun is that he seems to be really enjoying Baker's handiwork in a way that he could only fake in later films while singing to scads of kids, dogs, and guys he just punched out (as Kurt Russel says in the TV Movie.)

Anyway, enjoy! ... te-legacy/

Re: Wooden Heart Puppeteer Bob Baker

Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:10 am

Bob Baker remains quite unsung outside of the puppetry world with regards to his contributions to film. His work on A Star is Born and Close Encounters are particularly memorable, whilst the Wooden Heart scene, from G.I. Blues, remains one of the most delightful moments in any Elvis vehicle. The song, itself, was just right -- Elvis's delicious vocal and the obvious Bavarian overtones, of course. On screen, his facial expressions, mannerisms and interaction with Baker's puppetry makes for a marvellous scene. Norman Taurog's unfussy direction allowed Elvis's natural charm to resonate with abundance -- especially with such good staging of the scene, to which, Baker's role was integral.

Thanks for the link, Brian.

Re: Wooden Heart Puppeteer Bob Baker

Thu Aug 23, 2012 4:50 am

where are the puppets used in the movie now?should be on display at graceland.