Bert I. Gordon
Bert Ira Gordon
September 24, 1922
Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S.
|Died||March 8, 2023 (aged 100)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Children||4, including Susan|
Bert Ira Gordon (September 24, 1922 – March 8, 2023) was an American filmmaker and visual effects artist. He is best known for writing and directing science fiction and horror B-movies such as King Dinosaur (1955), The Amazing Colossal Man (1957), Earth vs. the Spider (1958), Village of the Giants (1965), and Empire of the Ants (1977).
Most of Gordon's work is in the idiom of giant monster films, for which he used rear-projection to create the special effects. He was nicknamed "Mr. B.I.G." by Forrest J Ackerman, a reference to both his initials and his films' tendency to feature super-sized creatures.
Gordon was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on September 24, 1922, the son of Sadeline (Barnett) and Charles Abraham Gordon. He began making home movies in 16mm after his aunt gave him a camera for his 13th birthday. He dropped out of college to join the Army Air Forces 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).
In 1955, Gordon made his first feature, King Dinosaur, followed by The Cyclops in 1957, which co-starred Lon Chaney Jr. and Gloria Talbot. 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. AIP distributed some of his other late-50s opuses, such as Earth vs the Spider, Beginning of the End (featuring Peter Graves), and Attack of the Puppet People.
In October 1960 Gordon sued AIP for fraud over four films they made together.
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 died in 2011 from thyroid cancer). All three appeared together in the celebrity lineup at the 2006 Monster Bash, held June 23–25 at the Pittsburgh International Airport Four Points Hotel. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment released a Midnite Movies double DVD set with the rarely seen The Boy and the Pirates, and Crystalstone (1987), on June 27, 2006.
Personal life and death
Gordon was married from 1945 to 1979 to Flora Lang (1925–2016); the two divorced in 1979. They had three daughters: Susan (who predeceased her parents), Carol, and Patricia. Gordon had a fourth daughter, Christina, with his second wife, Eva.
As director-producer. Source for credits, years and primary titles:
|1954||Serpent Island||Producer, screenwriter, and co-director with Tom Gries|
|1957||The Cyclops||Also screenwriter, special effects|
|The Amazing Colossal Man||Also screenwriter, special effects|
|Beginning of the End||Also special effects|
|1958||Earth vs. the Spider||a.k.a. The Spider|
|War of the Colossal Beast||a.k.a. Terror Strikes. Also screenwriter, special effects|
|Attack of the Puppet People||Also screenwriter|
|1960||Tormented||Also special effects|
|The Boy and the Pirates|
|1962||The Magic Sword|
|1965||Village of the Giants||Based on "The Food of the Gods" by H. G. Wells. Also special effects|
|1966||Picture Mommy Dead||a.k.a. Color Mommy Dead|
|1970||How to Succeed with Sex||Director and screenwriter only|
|1972||The Witching||a.k.a. Necromancy. Also screenwriter.|
|The Mad Bomber||a.k.a. Detective Geronimo, The Police Connection|
|1976||The Food of the Gods||Also screenwriter. Based on "The Food of the Gods" by H. G. Wells|
|1977||Empire of the Ants||Also screenwriter, special effects.|
|1981||Burned at the Stake||a.k.a. The Coming. Director only|
|1982||Let's Do It!||Director only|
|1985||The Big Bet||Also screenwriter|
|1990||Satan's Princess||a.k.a. Heat from Another Sun, Princess of Darkness, Malediction. Also producer|
|2014||Secrets of a Psychopath||Also screenwriter|
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 the film-spoofing series Mystery Science Theater 3000. Later, Attack of the Puppet People was featured on the spin-off to MST3K, Rifftrax, as was a redux of The Magic Sword.
- Don Glut (18 June 2007). I Was a Teenage Movie Maker: The Book. McFarland. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7864-3041-3.
- Dixon, Wheeler W. Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood. SIU Press. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-0-8093-8844-8.
- "Bert I. Gordon". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
- McFadden, Robert D. (8 March 2023). "Bert I. Gordon, Auteur of Mutant Monster Movies, Dies at 100". The New York Times. Retrieved March 8, 2023.
- McGee, Mark (1996). Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. McFarland & Co. p. 105.
- DVD of the Week: "War of the Colossal Beast|The New Yorker
- DVD Savant Review: Beginning of the End - DVD Talk
- "Bert I Gordon Sues Nicholson, Arkoff". Variety. 26 October 1960. p. 13.
- kiddiematinee.com / The Boy and the Pirates Archived 2005-12-18 at the Wayback Machine
- Bert I. Gordon from Gary Westfahl Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Films
- Dallas! "AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN" in 35mm and meet fantasy film legend Bert I. Gordon tonight! Archived September 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
- Barnes, Mike (January 28, 2016). "Flora Gordon, Wife of Sci-Fi Director Bert I. Gordon, Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 15, 2016. Retrieved September 3, 2016.
- Dennis Fischer (17 June 2011). Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895–1998. McFarland. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-7864-8505-5.
- "Bert I. Gordon Filmography". AllMovie.com. Retrieved February 15, 2016. Note: Source erroneously lists Gordon as co-screenwriter of The One and Only, solely written by Steve Gordon.
- Serpent Island Cast & Crew at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
- Earth vs. the Spider at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
- Picture Mommy Dead at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
- The Witches Releases at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
- The Mad Bomber (1972) at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
- Burned at the Stake at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
- Variety Television Reviews, Vol. 17 (1991-92). Routledge. 1994. p. 19, Title Index. ISBN 978-0824037963.
- "Ranking Every MST3K Episode, From Worst to Best - Paste". Archived from the original on 2022-06-14. Retrieved 2021-07-12.
- The Magic Sword|Rifftrax
- Attack of the Puppet People|Rifftrax