Billy Bitzer Films Professor Leonidas And His Troupe Of Dogs And Cats In The Film Stealing A Dinner

Cameraman G. W. "Billy" Bitzer filmed Professor Leonidas and his troupe of dogs and cats in the film short Stealing a Dinner on April 28, 1899.

The film was shot on the rooftop of the Biograph Studio at 841 Broadway in New York City.

Three years earlier, Billy Bitzer assisted as newly formed American Mutoscope Company founder and former Edison associate, W. K. L. Dickson, developed a camera to rival the Edison Company's Kinetograph (and its kinetoscope viewer). One of only a few who understood the camera's operation, Bitzer filmed 1896 presidential candidate William McKinley, whose brother Abner was an investor in Biograph. He also filmed the actor Joseph Jefferson, another investor, doing scenes from Rip Van Winkle in 1896, aspects of the Spanish-American War in 1898, and the Jeffries-Sharkey championship fight in 1899. Although the company entered the commercial entertainment field with an offering of only six films, by 1902 their catalog listed 2,500 motion pictures, many shot by Bitzer.

Gottfried Wilhelm "Billy" Bitzer (April 21, 1874 – April 29, 1944) was a pioneering cinematographer notable for his close association with D. W. Griffith, working with him on some of his most important films and contributing significantly to cinematic innovations attributed to Griffith. In 1910, he photographed Griffith's silent, short, In Old California, in the Los Angeles village of "Hollywoodland," qualifying Bitzer as, arguably, Hollywood's first Director of Photography. Bitzer, it is said, "developed camera techniques that set the standard for all future motion pictures."