Bert Ira Gordon, also known as “Mr. B.I.G.”, was an American film director, producer, writer, and special effects artist. He was born on September 24, 1922, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 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.
Gordon began his career in the film industry in the 1940s as a special effects artist. He later transitioned into directing, producing, and writing his films. Many of his movies were science fiction and horror films that featured giant creatures, a theme that would become his trademark. He later edited British feature films to fit half-hour time slots and became a production assistant on “Racket Squad” and a cameraman on “Serpent Island” (1954).
Bert, in his directorial debut, co-wrote, produced, and directed “King Dinosaur” in 1955. The next film, in 1957, was “The Cyclops” which he wrote, produced, and directed. He would also produce and direct two other films in 1957, “The Amazing Colossal Man” and “Beginning of the End”. In 1958 (my year of birth), he produced and directed “Earth vs. the Spider”, “War of the Colossal Beast”, and “Attack of the Puppet People”. In 1960 Bert produced and directed “Tormented”, and “The Boy and the Pirates”
He continued from 1962 until 2014 with films such as “The Magic Sword”, “Village of the Giants” (one of my favorites and based on “The Food of the Gods” by H. G. Wells) which he also did special effects, “Picture Mommy Dead”, “How to Succeed with Sex”, “The Witching” (aka Necromancy), “The Mad Bomber”, “The Food of the Gods”, “Empire of the Ants”, “Burned at the Stake”, “Let’s Do It!”, “The Big Bet”, “Satan’s Princess”, and “Secrets of a Psychopath”.
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.
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. Gordon died in Los Angeles on March 8, 2023, at the age of 100.
- Galbraith IV, S. (2008). The giant monster movie book: a comprehensive guide to the biggest and best creature features of all time. Chicago Review Press.
- Nashawaty, C. (2018). Cockeyed giants and little horrors: An interview with Bert I. Gordon. Entertainment Weekly, 26.
- “Bert I. Gordon, Master of B-Movie Special Effects and Directing, Dies at 100”. The New York Times. October 5, 2022.