Bert I. Gordon

Bert Ira Gordon (born September 24, 1922)[1][2][3] 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 preference for directing movies featuring super-sized creatures.

Bert I. Gordon
Born
Bert Ira Gordon

(1922-09-24) September 24, 1922
OccupationFilm director
Spouse(s)Flora Gordon a.k.a. Flora Lang (divorced 1979)
Children3 including Susan Gordon (deceased)
Websitewww.bertigordon.com

Career

Gordon was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin[3] and 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).[4]

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. 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 died in 2011 from thyroid cancer). All three appeared together in the celebrity lineup at the 2006 Monster Bash, held June 2325 at the Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Airport Four Points. 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.[5]

Gordon holds a degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.[6]

Gordon has regularly appeared in the celebrity lineup of the annual Monster Bash convention held in the Pittsburgh region. In 2012, he hosted and moderated a screening of The Amazing Colossal Man in Dallas, Texas.[7]

Personal life

Gordon was married for more than 30 years to Flora Gordon, who went by the name Flora Lang in the latter part of her professional career; the two divorced in 1979. They had children Susan Gordon, who predeceased them, Carol Gordon, and Patricia Gordon.[8]

Filmography

As director-producer. Source for credits, years and primary titles:[9]

YearTitleComments
1954Serpent IslandProducer, screenwriter, and co-director with Tom Gries[10]
1955King Dinosaur
1957The CyclopsAlso screenwriter, special effects
1957The Amazing Colossal ManAlso screenwriter, special effects
1957Beginning of the EndAlso special effects
1958Earth vs. the Spidera.k.a. The Spider[11]
1958War of the Colossal Beasta.k.a. Terror Strikes. Also screenwriter, special effects
1958Attack of the Puppet PeopleAlso screenwriter
1960TormentedAlso special effects
1960The Boy and the Pirates
1962The Magic Sword
1965Village of the GiantsBased on "The Food of the Gods" by H. G. Wells. Also special effects
1966Picture Mommy Deada.k.a. Color Mommy Dead[12]
1970How to Succeed with SexDirector and screenwriter only
1972The Witchinga.k.a. Necromancy.[13] Also screenwriter.
1972The Mad Bombera.k.a. Detective Geronimo, The Police Connection[14]
1976The Food of the GodsAlso screenwriter. Based on "The Food of the Gods" by H. G. Wells
1977Empire of the AntsAlso screenwriter, special effects.
1981Burned at the Stakea.k.a. The Coming.[15] Director only
1982Let's Do It!Director only
1985The Big BetAlso screenwriter
1990Satan's Princessa.k.a. Heat from Another Sun, Princess of Darkness, Malediction.[16] Also producer
2014Secrets of a PsychopathAlso 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 sister series to Mystery Science Theater 3000, Rifftrax, as well as a redux of The Magic Sword.

References

  1. Dixon, Wheeler W. Lost in the Fifties: Recovering Phantom Hollywood. SIU Press. pp. 119–. ISBN 978-0-8093-8844-8.
  2. Dennis Fischer (17 June 2011). Science Fiction Film Directors, 1895–1998. McFarland. pp. 241–. ISBN 978-0-7864-8505-5.
  3. "Bert I. Gordon". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on April 23, 2015. Retrieved September 26, 2017.
  4. McGee, Mark (1996). Faster and Furiouser: The Revised and Fattened Fable of American International Pictures. McFarland & Co. p. 105.
  5. kiddiematinee.com / The Boy and the Pirates Archived 2005-12-18 at the Wayback Machine
  6. Bert I. Gordon from Gary Westfahl Encyclopedia of Science Fiction Films
  7. Dallas! "AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN" in 35mm and meet fantasy film legend Bert I. Gordon tonight! Archived September 15, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  8. 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.
  9. "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.
  10. Serpent Island Cast & Crew at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
  11. Earth vs. the Spider at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
  12. Picture Mommy Dead at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
  13. The Witches Releases at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
  14. The Mad Bomber (1972) at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
  15. Burned at the Stake at AllMovie.com. Retrieved on February 15, 2016.
  16. Variety Television Reviews, Vol. 17 (1991-92). Routledge. 1994. p. 19, Title Index. ISBN 978-0824037963.
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