Sunday 10 July 2016

Tralfaz Sunday Theatre – Your Blue Chip Market

Several companies used the name “Criterion Films.” One was set up by Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in 1935. We suspect the company responsible for the following commercial film was the Criterion Films started in Seattle in 1949. Ex Disney employee Vern Witt was hired as a cameraman at that time, as was Curt Roberts of KING to handle scripts and promotions.

Standard Oil bankrolled a picture in 1951 showing the sights of Seattle. This one from 1954 touts the wonders of Los Angeles. The only credit on it belongs to Robert Tobey, a union film photographer starting in 1928 who originally worked for Technicolor in Boston before moving to Hollywood. He died in 1973. But you should recognise the uncredited narrator on this as the glorious Marvin Miller.

The film was made for the Los Angeles Herald-Express. “On the way home in the late afternoon, people have the leisure to buy and read their favourite evening paper, the Herald-Express,” Marvin tells us. Alas, television would soon make the evening paper as obsolete as the streetcars you can also see in this film.

Unless you’re a fan of Marvin’s—and he employs a nice bubbly read in this—or scenes of 1950s Los Angeles, I doubt you’ll be able to watch the whole thing.


  1. The Herald-Express merged with the Los Angeles Examiner in 1961 to become the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner.
    The H-E subsequently folded in 1988.

  2. Hi, I am researching this film. May I ask, where are your sources about Criterion Films and Robert Tobey? How do you personally know all this?

    1. Read his obit in Variety.

    2. Is that Variety Magazine? I apologize, I do not mean to come off as anything but an inquisitive researcher

    3. It's more of a newspaper but that's where an obituary can be found.

    4. Gotcha. It looks like I need to access their archives, which look prohibitively expensive...