VAN NUYS, CA--Edward L. Bernds, a prolific B-movie director for such comedy franchise as Three Stooges, Blondie and Bowery Boys films, died May 23, 2000, at his home here. He also wrote and directed the movie riffed in the first live MST3K show, 1955's "World Without End." He was 94.
Born in Chicago, Bernds was a pioneer radio operator in his hometown. As a result, he was brought out to Hollywood in 1928 by United Artists to assist with the transition to sound. In Hollywood, Bernds served as the sound mixer on Douglas Fairbanks Sr.'s first venture into sound (a speaking prologue) for "The Iron Mask" (1929) and was sound mixer on D.W. Griffith's early partial-talkie "Lady of the Pavements" (also 1929). Bernds also recorded the sound for Mary Pickford's first talkie, "Coquette" (again 1929), which garnered her a best actress Oscar. He served as Frank Capra's regular sound mixer from 1930 through 1939, working on such classics as "Lady for a Day," "It Happened One Night" and "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." Bernds also worked at Columbia with Howard Hawks, where he served as the sound recorder for "Twentieth Century" and "Only Angels Have Wings." He made his feature directing debut at Columbia in 1948 with "Blondie's Secret," one of five "Blondie" films he helmed. He left Columbia in the early 1950s for Allied Artists where he directed several Bowery Boys films. Bernds helmed 25 Three Stooges shorts and two of their 1962 feature films, "The Three Stooges Meet Hercules" and "The Three Stooges in Orbit," as well as parts of their TV series, "The New Three Stooges" during the mid-1960s.
In later years as a freelance director he helmed such films as "Reform School Girl" (1957) and "Return of the Fly" (1959). (He also directed Zsa Zsa Gabor in the infamous "Queen of Outer Space" (1958), which then-Sci-Fi Channel programming director Barry Schulman incorrectly identified as an MSTed film during his appearance at the 1996 MST3K convention.)
Bernds retired in 1965. His wife, Bathsheba, died in 1992. In 1998, he was honored by the National Board of Review with its Lifetime Achievement Award for Film Technology and in 1999 he received the Cinema Audio Society's President's Award.