|Bernard Bros. Entertainment|
Bernard Bros. Entertainment (commonly known as Bernard Bros. or the Double-B, abbreviated to BB) is a film studio based in Studio City, Hollywood. They are one of the "Big Five" that control much of Hollywood's movie industry.
The studio was founded by identical triplets Sylvester, Chester, and Maurice Bernard. The three had been unsuccessful in two previous business ventures, a mail-correspondence clown college and a termite ranch, but their lifelong motto of "third time's the charm" persuaded them to try their luck once more. In 1921 they opened up Bernards' Traveling Theater in Pennsylvania, operating a hand-cranked projector out of the back of a covered wagon in any small town that didn't chase them away on sight. After eight months of showcasing Hollywood films, they realized that the money was in the making of films rather than merely showing them. Chester declared that "any three idiots could make better pictures than these, and gentlemen, last I checked there are three of us."
The brothers set off for Hollywood after burning down their own theater wagon in an insurance scam that provided them with the necessary money to make the journey to California. They arrived in 1922, penniless after a number of comical mishaps along the way, and it would take until April 1923 for the brothers to bumble their way into enough money to both establish their studio and pay off their numerous creditors.
Early successes for the studio happened, like much in the lives of the Bernards, by chance. When Maurice Bernard accidentally fed his wallet to a stray dog in 1925, the studio sought to recoup their losses by hiring the dog as their first major star. The subsequent series of films were wildly successful and brought the studio millions in revenue, although 75% of the profits went to the dog, Rascal, who had managed to negotiate an incredibly generous contract through the method of barking once for yes and twice for no.
Bernard Bros. gained a good reputation among toons due to this natural predilection to buffoonery that the triplets displayed, which impressed toons more than any sort of business acumen. It cemented the studio as a major producer of cartoons, though they never moved into larger budget feature-length productions in the same manner as Whit Jolley Animation.