Sci-Fi Producer Bernard Glasser Dies at 89

Return of the Fly - H 2013

He worked on the classics "Return of the Fly," "Crack in the World" and "The Day of the Triffids" after bankrolling the rarely seen Three Stooges Western feature "Gold Raiders."

Bernard Glasser, a substitute teacher at Beverly Hills High School who went on to produce such films as the sci-fi classics Return of the Fly and The Day of the Triffids, died Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 89.

In 1950, Glasser borrowed money from his landlord, invested in the now-defunct Key West Studios lot in Hollywood and produced Gold Raiders (1951), a Western starring George O'Brien and the Three Stooges. The rarely seen film shot in five days and had a budget of $50,000. He also leased the facility to such producers as Burt Lancaster and Roger Corman.

When Glasser's studio lease expired, he and Gold Raiders director Edward Bernds teamed on several features for Robert L. Lippert's Regal Films, including Space Master X-7 (1958) and the sequel Return of the Fly (1959), once again starring Vincent Price. For the former's fungal special effects, Glasser hired Norman Maurer, the son-in-law of Stooges' ringleader Moe Howard.

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The Chicago native later partnered with producer Philip Yordan for the 1960-62 TV adventure series Assignment: Underwater and such sci-fi films as the chilling The Day of the Triffids (1963), about killer plants on the loose, and Crack in the World (1965), starring Dana Andrews as a scientist who warns against deploying an atomic bomb underground.

(Glasser kept his name off Triffids so that the project could qualify for a subsidy as a British production, he told author Tim Weaver in the book Return of the B Science Fiction and Horror Heroes: The Mutant Melding of Two Volumes of Classic Interviews.)

Glasser's credits also include the war films The Thin Red Line (1964) and Battle of the Bulge (1965) and the comedy Bikini Paradise (1967). He directed the drama Triangle (1970), then left the industry after 20 years to go into real estate.

Glasser was a graduate of Indiana State University, which honored him with a distinguished alumni award in 2012.

Survivors include four children and eight grandchildren. His son Richard, who worked in international film sales for many years, died in 2010.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4