(written from a Production point of view)
William E. "Bill" Snyder, ASC (21 September 1902 – 4 March 1984; age 81) was an Academy Award cinematographer from New York who directed the photography for "The Cage", the first Star Trek pilot. He also received the Director of Photography credit on "The Menagerie, Part II" since footage from "The Cage" was used in this two-part episode. Jerry Finnerman was the Director of Photography for the new footage in the episode.
Snyder was nominated for an Academy Award for his very first film, the 1941 adventure Aloma of the South Seas. He was later nominated for his work on the 1948 romantic drama The Loves of Carmen (which featured Arnold Moss) and the 1949 biographical drama Jolson Sings Again. Perhaps his best known work as cinematographer is the classic 1954 science fiction/horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon, which featured Whit Bissell.
Before "The Cage," Synder worked with actor John Hoyt (Dr. Boyce) on two films: the 1951 western New Mexico (which also featured Jeff Corey) and the infamous 1956 historical adventure The Conqueror. Snyder was also Director of Photography on such films as Cecil B. DeMille's The Story of Dr. Wassell, Nicholas Ray's Flying Leathernecks, Raoul Walsh's Blackbeard, the Pirate (featuring Keith Andes and Anthony Caruso), Fritz Lang's Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, and five films for director Henry Levin. In addition, he was a camera operator on the 1956 classic Around the World in Eighty Days.
From 1959 until his retirement in 1971, Snyder was a cinematographer on numerous projects for Walt Disney Productions. His work for Disney included two films starring Brian Keith (Moon Pilot and A Tiger Walks) as well as the films Summer Magic (featuring Michael J. Pollard), Monkeys, Go Home! (featuring Darleen Carr), The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit (featuring Joan Marshall), and Rascal (starring Bill Mumy and John Fiedler). Synder also worked on several TV productions for Disney, including 1969's My Dog, the Thief, which starred Roger C. Carmel. The Disney studio loaned Synder to Star Trek as a favor to Byron Haskin, who also worked on many of their projects before. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
Outside of his work with Disney and in addition to the first Star Trek pilot, Synder was a cinematographer on some fifteen episodes of the classic western television series Bonanza. Among the other television shows he worked on were Burke's Law and The Big Valley.
Excluding 1970's The Boatniks, Snyder's last few Disney productions were directed by Vincent McEveety. Their first collaboration was the 1970 TV movie Smoke, followed by another TV production, Menace on the Mountain, that same year. They then worked together on the 1971 feature film The Million Dollar Duck, whose cast included James Gregory. Following his work on this film, Snyder retired. He died in California 13 years later.
- Although the Internet Movie Database states Snyder was born in 1901, the Social Security Death Index, which contains information from official death certificates, gives his year of birth as 1902. The month and day of birth are the same for both source.
- Many of the cast and crew members who worked on 1956's The Conqueror died from this disease. However, it is unknown if cancer also caused Snyder's death.