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|“||Sir, there are 13 steps on this ladder.||„|
|~ Bernard shows his dislike of the number 13|
Bernard is the male protagonist of the 1977 Disney film The Rescuers and it's 1990 sequel The Rescuers Down Under. though when he first appeared as the Rescue Aid Society's janitor, he also wore overalls).
He doesn't marry Bianca until the events after The Rescuers Down Under (the end of which reveals him proposing engagement).
He is voiced by Bob Newhart (who also voices Leonard) in both films and also portrayed Papa Elf in Elf.
Bernard is a handsome but slightly obese buck-toothed mouse with gray fur. He wears a red sweater and a brown cap, and he is barefoot.
Bernard is somewhat cautious and superstitious, as he dislikes the number 13 because of his triskaidekaphobia. Aside from that, despite being a small mouse, Bernard has shown himself to be incredibly strong and brave. Bernard was willing to rescue Penny and Cody from their evil captors, risking his life in the process. His most notable feats of strength are grabbing a razor back by the tusks and toppling it over, pushing McLeach (with Joanna in tow) off a cliff and holding onto Cody by a rope to prevent him from falling off killer rapids. His partner, Miss Bianca, also makes jokes about him suffering from Acrophobia, as she calls him a "fraidy cat" before they board Orville for flight.
The Rescuers (1977)
Bernard first appeared in "The Rescuers" as the janitor for the Rescue Aid Society until the Hungarian delegate, Bianca, picked him to be her co-agent (they have been agents since the mission to rescue the little orphan girl named Penny). When he is first seen sweeping outside of RAS Headquarters as the delegates arrive for the emergency meeting called by the Chairmouse, several of them greet Bernard or he greets them, such as the French, Russian, and German delegates in their native languages. During as the congregation sing their pledge song to the portrait of their founder, Euripides Mouse, Bernard is seen singing it himself outside the HQ as the last of the delegates, Miss Bianca, the Hungarian representative, arrives late, squirts herself with some perfume before entering, and then joins in as she heads to her seat. When the Mouse Scouts bring in Penny's message for help, Bernard is summoned in to extract it, but as he climbs up to uncork the bottle, he brings up his fear of the number 13 with the Chairmouse, who scoffs it off as superstitious nonsense, though is exasperated when Bernard gets the cork off, but then gets stuck himself in the opening before sliding down into the bottle and getting the message out, earning him a round of applause from the delegation before he slips back in. As he tries to climb out afterwards, he overhears Bianca asking the Chairmouse if she can take the assignment, and tries to reason that Miss Bianca can't go alone as it might be too dangerous for her, which seems to garner some affection for Bernard from Bianca, before the Chairmouse decides to assign a co-agent to help her. Despite all the male delegates putting up their hands to volunteer, Bianca settles for Bernard, which does earn some positive encouragement for Bernard from the delegates.
That rainy night, Bernard (clad in a yellow raincoat and rain hat) and Bianca (clad in a purple raincoat and pink kerchief) board a human-type bus and exit at the stop. As they are entering through the zoo (which is, of course, closed), Bernard goes to check it out, only to run into a lion and run away (with Bianca). As they finally enter Morningside Orphanage, Bernard looks to find a box with Penny's things in a box (formerly containing 24 cans) which says "Hold Until Further Notice". The two mouse heroes listen to an old cat, Rufus, about the last time the latter saw Penny. He then tells the two heroes about a sleazy pawn shop (owned by the principal adversary, Madame Medusa). It has stopped raining by the time they get to that shop. After they find a book that belongs to Penny, a cuckoo clock makes it named sound, and Bernard gets his tail smashed by the pages and front cover of the book, but Bianca (despite being amused by its look from that) helps him fix it. Just then, they hide separately as Medusa answers the phone. It is then that Bernard and Bianca find out that Penny is in the fictional marshy swamp of Devil's Bayou. Bernard quietly tells Bianca to get into the suitcase, but only he manages to get in, but Bianca doesn't because Medusa has come back to pack it and then put her jacket on. Again, Bianca tries to get in the suitcase, but fails again as the greedy kidnapper is about to try to close the suitcase. She tries one more time by holding onto the dangling end of a bra that Medusa impatiently packed improperly, but soon loses her grip and is forced to run after Medusa and get into her car before she closes the door and starts the engine. As Bianca then tries to get into the suitcase to join Bernard, Medusa's reckless driving makes it difficult, until she rounds a sharp turn and sends her suitcase flying out of the car and bursting open on the curb, leaving Bernard and Bianca stranded as Medusa drives off to the airport, leaving exhaust fumes in her wake.
Bernard, now clad in his trademark red shirt and brown cap (but with an orange jacket and no overalls), takes Bianca up the airport escalator and head off for Albatross Airlines (the mouse equivalent to an airport). After a voiceover from the albatross "captain", Orville, Bernard later gives him landing permission. Bernard tries convincing Bianca to take the train and "play it safe" instead. It is Bernard who tells Orville that the two need to get to Devil's Bayou. Because of his dislike of the number 13, Bernard just jumps the last of the 13 stairs into the cockpit (which is mostly made from a sardine can). He reads the checklist to Orville, finishing with the added famous motto, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." Orville starts flying (much to Bernard's fear). Bernard is even more worried when Orville passes a red light, but Bianca kisses him and tells him to stop worrying. Later that night, Bernard is reading a book about the hazards of Devil's Bayou when Bianca falls asleep on his shoulder. Shyly and hesitantly, he puts him arm around her and tells her "Good night, Bianca." (The first time he simply calls her "Bianca", as he previously always called her "Miss Bianca".
Back to the flight, while both mouse heroes are sleeping, Mr. Snoops (the right-hand man of Madame Medusa) lights fireworks to light up the swamp so his boss can find Penny (who has escaped again). As one rocket passes, burning Orville's "rudder", Bernard removes his jacket to try and put the fire out. After the two mice are forced to bail out, Bernard tries holding on to Bianca, but she still slips and falls out of her dress. So Bernard has her hold onto him as he opens up his umbrella. As Ellie Mae, one of the two muskrats, helps Bianca out of the puddle, the other muskrat, Luke, gives Bernard a drink of liquor, causing him to cough a lot and hoarsely explain where he, Bianca and Orville are from. Later, as Brutus and Nero (Medusa's pet crocodiles) have respectively caught Penny and her teddy bear, Bernard and Bianca run to try and find out where they are taking Penny. It is Bernard who unties the leaf boat (driven by the dragonfly, Evinrude) from the "dock". As they pass between Nero and Brutus, waves come and Bianca falls overboard, but Bernard uses a rope to save her. Slowly, they continually head for the giant river boat (where Medusa lives), and as soon as they get there, they duck as Medusa passes in her swamp mobile.
Later, Bernard and Bianca sneak through a ventilation system as Madame Medusa and Snoops are arguing over Penny, that black hole and the world's largest diamond, the Devil's Eye (which Medusa means to have). As soon as Medusa leaves, Bernard and Bianca are about to go look for Penny and get her out, but are stopped by Nero and Brutus (one of the crocodiles picks Bernard up, but the latter whacks him with his umbrella). Then Bernard tries to escape up the curtains, but the crocodiles tear them down and attack, but Bianca saves him by pulling him by his foot and they hide in a pipe organ, but they are still found, as the crocodiles are making a racket with that music. Bernard is finally caught in one of the crocodiles' mouths, and Medusa whacks that one with her stick, making him spit Bernard out. This sight frightens Medusa who orders Snoops to kill him. She also gets frightened when she sees Bianca, too. No matter what, the two heroes still escape; however, as Medusa is enraged over the gun not working, she still manages to shoot another one (through Snoops' hair and onto the balustrade). Bernard and Bianca have escaped; however, they fell into the water.
As they are back on Evinrude's boat, the two heroes (with Evinrude driving the boat) get to Penny's bedroom and Bernard reveals that they found the bottle and came to rescue her (but they didn't bring anyone big with them). Bernard and Bianca are impressed and amused when Penny imitates Medusa. As Bianca warns Penny to get dressed fast, Bernard sends Evinrude to enlist the Swamp residents (quickly), but there is a delay due to bats and hiding in another bottle).
The next day, Bernard and Bianca are hiding in Penny's jumper pocket as she is being sent down (this time without her teddy bear due to him being afraid to be down there). As they are down the hole, Bernard uses a spoon to try to find the diamond, but Penny tells him she already looked there and those little gems weren't wanted. As Bernard tries to find a safe way over the hole where the water enters, he slips (due to the water coming in), but Bianca saves him. Then, as Penny lifts her lantern, Bernard finds something shining inside a human skull. Thinking it is from the Devil's Eye, he requests Penny to hold her lantern up again, and finds out that it is the right diamond. However, neither Bernard nor Bianca can get the diamond out of the skull through where one of the eyes is located. After the water comes in again, Medusa refuses to pull Penny up without the diamond, so Bernard gives Penny the idea of using the pirate sword to open the skull (which pops open). Once the water comes in a third time, all three characters are caught in a whirlpool, and finally Penny (with a hiding Bernard and Bianca) is being pulled up.
Now, back at the riverboat, Bernard and Bianca use a lasso to catch a pipe and hold the other end straight and steady so that Medusa (who had either broken her promise to Penny or lied to her about giving her teddy bear back) would trip. She then drops the teddy bear (which had the diamond stuffed into it). Later, Bernard and Bianca are both holding onto Deadeye the Rabbit's fishing hook at the elevator (while the latter [Bianca] sprays her perfume at the crocodiles). Bernard shouts "Now!" three times in order for Deadeye to pull them up so that Nero and Brutus are confined to the elevator. As Penny is in Medusa's swamp mobile, Bernard points out the spark lever to her (since she has trouble starting it). After Medusa is defeated, Bianca congratulates Bernard, and they hug.
Later, in the assembly hall of the Rescue Aid Society, Bernard and Bianca (now again with their orange jacket and purple dress respectively added) are watching an interview about Penny on TV. After the news is over, Evinrude comes in with a note (another call for help) and Bianca volunteers Bernard to this. Now, Bernard and Bianca are out flying on Orville (again) in a snowstorm.
- "Sir, there are 13 steps on this ladder."
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
Bernard (clad in a tuxedo jacket, a bow tie and a shirt) is first seen with Bianca (who is wearing some kind of scarf like the one before and a fancy hat) drinking champagne on a chandelier (which is being used for the mouse-restaurant above that for human beings; however, business is done by crickets and a French spider named François). As he is trying to propose engagement, he finds out that there is a hole in his pocket and his engagement ring fell out, so he asks her to excuse him for a moment (he gets back to calling her "Miss Bianca") as he crawls to look for the ring. He finds it under the table of a large, obese female mouse and a nerdy-looking male mouse (and finds the ring on one of the former's feet). He takes the ring from one of her toes, and she thinks the male mouse is playing footsie with her and slaps him. Bernard practices asking Bianca to marry him so that he'll know how to say it. As he is practicing, François tries to give him news about him and Bianca having to rescue an Australian boy named Cody, but Bernard refuses to listen. He tries to speak with Bianca, but she thinks he was speaking to her about the mission. He, however, thinks she is going to speak of the engagement. As they are leaving the restaurant, Bernard asks Bianca if she at least needs a gown (for the wedding), but Bianca says she needs just a pair of khaki shorts and hiking boots (for the mission)*. It is in the assembly hall that Bernard realizes that they are headed for Australia.
At the airlines, Bernard questions the idea of flying this soon after eating (as it's better to wait 45 minutes). Bianca tells him to knock and see if Orville is there, but he is not. A huge pile of snow falls on him, so she accuses him of playing in the snow. After another pile falls on him, Bianca points out that Orville is under new management and they should see his brother, Wilbur (who is dancing and singing along to Joe Bennet & the Sparkletones' "Black Slacks"). Bernard points out that they need to charter a flight. Later, Bernard tells them where they need to go. Bianca points out that they need to leave tonight, but Wilbur refuses because of the storm. Pointing out that Cody is in trouble changes his mind. Later, just like in the first movie, Bernard is very aerophobic.
Now inside a "bigger bird" (actually an airplane), Bernard and Bianca are sleeping in Wilbur's cockpit (until Bianca wakes up and kisses Bernard). The two heroes (mostly Bernard) wake him up. Again, Wilbur starts flying. Meanwhile, Bernard asks Bianca if from now on, they can't just take the train. As they are landing at someplace in Australia known as "Mugwomp Flats", Bernard, Bianca and a kangaroo rat named Jake are bringing Wilbur to the hospital.
Next, Bernard and Bianca are going with Jake to rescue Cody from McLeach. While Bianca and Jake ride on the back of a flying squirrel, Bernard only holds onto its tail (at one point, during the climbing part, he points out its "just a little... bumpy back [there]". Bianca and Bernard get off safely from a bent tree, but Bernard is sent flying and lands into another tree, where he gets all covered in burrs.
Later, at the river, Bianca removes the burrs from Bernard's back, and he almost proposes his engagement, but because Jake has come to warn them about a giant snake, he ends up falling into the water. As Jake is controlling the snake and Bianca rides with him, Bernard ends up riding far away (but onto the snake). Later that night, he is having trouble controlling his firefly as he gets another dunk into the water, trying to catch with Bianca, Jake, and their fireflies. Later, when the three get to their hideouts, Bernard and Bianca start digging until Jake says "Open Sesame" when asking if someone's considered trying to say so, which opens the door. The three mice hold onto it and watch McLeach threatening Cody and jump onto his bushwaker (Bernard and Bianca enter too late and hide between the treads until Jake throws a rope to them, and they hold onto it and are reunited with Jake). As they get to Cody (who has arrived Marahute's nest), Bernard warns them of McLeach, whose goal is to capture her and whose Spencer's goanna lizard, Joanna, wants to eat the eggs to keep the bird rare. As Cody jumps on to try to rescue the bird, Jake and Bianca catch a rope (which Jake uses to catch Cody's foot), but Bernard fortunately misses. Later, Bernard hides the eagle eggs under the nest and replaces them with similar-looking rocks. He then asks Wilbur (who has arrived for him and Bianca) to sit on the real eggs while Bernard set off to rescue his friends.
As he is headed off, he controls a razorback (just as Jake did to that snake earlier) to set off and find the Bushwacker. As they get there, Tis dropped off there and he takes away the keys (causing the light McLeach turned on to go out). After an encounter with Joanna, Bernard throws the keys to Jake and Bianca, but only the latter manages to catch them. Bernard then tricks Joanna into climbing up onto McLeach, and uses one finger to push them both into the water. He then jumps into the water due to the rope McLeach shot at Crocodile Falls to try and rescue him, but he doesn't manage it. However, he and Cody are saved anyway, as Jake and Bianca have freed Marahute and they (mostly the latter) catch Bernard and Cody. Cody thanks Bernard for saving him, and Bianca congratulates him. He finally manages to ask her to marry him, which she accepts.
- If Miss Bianca is not included, Bernard is the first protagonist of a Disney Bronze Age Movie to be a mouse, followed by Basil of Baker Street in The Great Mouse Detective.
- In the Disneystrology, his birthday is September 4, which is written as 09.04 in America, or 04.09 in Europe. The sum of the numbers of this date is 13, and, ironically, Bernard fears of the number 13 (as he is superstitious, believing the number 13 brings bad luck). Interestingly, the sum of the numbers in Bianca's date in Disneystrology (October 3; 10.03 in America, or 03.10 in Europe) is also 13.
- His voice actor, Bob Newhart, was born on September 5, one day after Bernard's birthday according to Disneystrology.