Frederick S. Armitage

American cameraman

One of American Biograph's main cameramen, an all-purpose talent who worked on a wide variety of films from 1899 to 1905. Among the assignments he undertook were the Jeffries-Sharkey heavyweight boxing match at the Coney Island Sporting Club in November 1899, in which he was one of a team of four successfully filming a fight under artificial light for the first time; the time-lapse recording of a building being taken down, Demolishing and Building Up the Star Theatre (1901), which he filmed over four weeks taking an exposure every four minutes, eight hours a day (having been shown to be razed to the ground, the film was then reversed and the building reconstructed); news footage of such figures as William McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt and Buffalo Bill Cody; and a succession of delightfully titled comedies that indicate much of the appeal of the early Biograph films: Horsewhipping an Editor (1900), Aunt Jane's Experience with Tabasco Sauce (1900), Carrie and her Little Hatchet (1901) and Little Algy's Glorious Fourth of July (1901). His last known Biograph film was the topical anarchism drama, The Nihilists (1905). In the summer of 1908 he was hired by Edison, where he worked with director J. Searle Dawley; in 1909 he was made head of the Edison camera department.

Luke McKernan