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1947 city marbles tournament

1947 city marbles tournament

April 18, 1947: Charles Barker, 10, of Gates School, takes a bead in finals of city marble tournament at The Times’ Boys’ Club. However, he lost to Victor Gonzales.

The next morning, an article in the Los Angeles Times reported:

All knuckles were down at The Times’ Boys’ Club yesterday afternoon as 24 boys from eight schools competed in the finals of the citywide marble tournament for the privilege of traveling to Boys Town, Neb., for a shot at the national “mig” championship.

Refereeing the matches was Russell Dittmar, commander of Post No. 768, Veterans of Foreign Wars, who was looking for three finalists to compete in this district and represent it in the state finals.

All the boys’ eyes were upon that trip to Boys Town in June when the national championships will be decided. However, they could gain some consolation in three medals – gold, silver and bronze – which will be awarded the top-flight shooters here by the V.F.W.

One of yesterday’s knuckles was Charles Barker, 10-year-old redhead from Gates School, who entered with silent confidence but who met utter defeat at the knuckles of Victor Gonzales, 11. Victor carried the honors of Avenue 21 School in his aim…

Final winners in the playoffs were Alfredo Vargas of Albion School, who captured first place and a gold medal; Gonzales of Avenue 21 School, second place; and Gilbert Andrade, also of Avenue 21 School, third place.

This photo by former staff photographer R.O. Ritchie accompanied the above article in the April 19, 1947 Los Angeles Times.


  1. June 24, 2013, 11:51 am

    Those were fabulous games that kept us kids entertained for hours. They required skill and taught wholesome competition at school and in the neighborhood. We carried our marble bags everywhere and the best games were always on the flat dirt. I am not sure anything is around these days to match it.

    By: greytv
  2. June 24, 2013, 1:49 pm

    Interesting photo and story–and timely, since the 90th anniversary run of the original National Marbles Tournament just ended last week in Wildwood, NJ. The 1947 tournament at Boys Town was the first one created by the VFW. Their national finals changed locations every year, and for a while, marbles was the VFW's most popular sponsored sport. The VFW kept it going until around 1963, when it was dropped for lack of interest (supposedly due to competition with TV and Little League). Organized much earlier (in 1923), the original National Marbles Tournament was widely popular for decades, survived waning interest after 1960 or so, and lives on today with a relatively small but enthusiastic following.

    By: Miggle Stan

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