Bert I. Gordon

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Bert I. Gordon
Born Bert Ira Gordon
(1922-09-24) September 24, 1922 (age 91)
Kenosha, Wisconsin, United States
Other names Mister B.I.G.
Occupation Film director
Spouse(s) Flora May Lang
(m. 1945-July 28, 1979)
Children Susan Gordon (deceased), Carol Gordon, Patricia Gordon and Christina Gordon
Website
www.bertigordon.com

Bert Ira Gordon (born September 24, 1922) is an American film director most famous for such science fiction and horror B-movies as The Amazing Colossal Man and Village of the Giants. Most of Gordon's work is in the idiom of giant monster films, for which he used rear-projection to create the special effects. His nickname "Mister B.I.G." is a reference both to his initials and to his preferred technique for making super-sized creatures.

Early life and career[edit]

He was the son of Charles Abraham Gordon and Sadeline Barnett, who were married June 27, 1916 in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

He began making home movies in 16mm after his aunt gave him a camera for his thirteenth birthday. He dropped out of college to join the Air Corps in World War II. After the war, he married and he and his wife began making television commercials. He later edited British feature films to fit half hour time slots and became a production assistant on Racket Squad and camera man on Serpent Island (1954).[1]

In 1955, Gordon made his first feature, King Dinosaur, followed by The Cyclops in 1957, which co-starred Lon Chaney Jr. In 1957, he began his prolific association with American International Pictures, beginning with The Amazing Colossal Man and its 1958 sequel, War of the Colossal Beast.[2] AIP also distributed some of his other late-50s opuses, such as Earth vs the Spider, Beginning of the End, and Attack of the Puppet People.

After filming Tormented (1960), he wrote, produced and directed The Boy and the Pirates, starring active and popular child star of the time Charles Herbert and Gordon's own daughter, Susan Gordon (who has since passed away). All three appeared together in the celebrity lineup at the 2006 Monster Bash, held June 23–25 at the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Airport Four Points. His daughter, Susan Gordon, died in 2011 from thyroid cancer. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a Midnite Movies double DVD set with the rarely seen The Boy and the Pirates, and the more recent Crystalstone (1988), on June 27, 2006.[3]

His 1977 Empire of the Ants featured a pre-Dynasty Joan Collins, who later said of the film that it was her worst acting experience, but by then the loosely-based modernized H. G. Wells tale had been elevated to cult film status.

None of his films has received significant critical attention, but his work has attained popularity in some circles.

Gordon holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[4]

Gordon has appeared annually in the celebrity lineup at the Monster Bash, held each June, at the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Airport Four Points. He hosted and moderated the special screening of The Amazing Colossal Man on April 27, 2012.[5]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Comments
1955 King Dinosaur
1957 The Cyclops
1957 The Amazing Colossal Man
1957 Beginning of the End Starring Peter Graves.
1958 Earth vs. the Spider a/k/a Earth vs. the Giant Spider,
The Spider
1958 War of the Colossal Beast a//ka Revenge of the Colossal Man,
The Terror Strikes
1958 Attack of the Puppet People a//ka Six Inches Tall,
The Fantastic Puppet People
1960 Tormented
1960 The Boy and the Pirates Starring Charles Herbert and Susan Gordon.
1962 The Magic Sword a/k/a St. George and the Dragon
St. George and the Seven Curses
The Seven Curses of Lodac
1965 Village of the Giants Starring Beau Bridges, Tommy Kirk, Johnny Crawford, Tim Rooney & Tisha Sterling; Based on The Food of the Gods by H. G. Wells
1966 Picture Mommy Dead a/k/a Color Mommy Dead
1970 How to Succeed with Sex
1972 Necromancy a/k/a A Life for a Life
Rosemary's Disciples (USA: video title)
The Toy Factory
The Witching (USA: reissue title)
1973 The Mad Bomber a/k/a Detective Geronimo
The Police Connection
1976 The Food of the Gods a/k/a H. G. Wells' Food of the Gods
1977 Empire of the Ants a/k/a H.G. Wells' Empire of the Ants,
Starring Joan Collins.
1981 Burned at the Stake a/k/a The Coming
1982 Let's Do It!
1985 The Big Bet
1990 Satan's Princess a/k/a Malediction

Of these titles, King Dinosaur, The Amazing Colossal Man, Earth Vs. The Spider, War of the Colossal Beast, The Magic Sword, Tormented, Beginning of the End and Village of the Giants were featured on MST3K.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mark McGee, Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures, McFarland, 1996 p105
  2. ^ Bert I. Gordon vs. Bert Gordon @WFMU
  3. ^ kiddiematinee.com / The Boy and the Pirates
  4. ^ Bert I. Gordon from Gary Westfahl Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Films
  5. ^ Dallas! "AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN" in 35mm and meet fantasy film legend Bert I. Gordon tonight!

External links[edit]