Not much is revealed about Fritz's personal life other than the fact that he assisted in building the Camera during his youth. It is also unknown what field he is a qualified doctor in.
In his youth, Dr. Fredericks obtained employment in a laboratory with another man, who was currently working on a Camerology project. The man was constructing a special camera, which Dr. Fredericks was hired to assist with the development of.
Likely excited by the prospect of fame and fortune, Dr. Fredericks waited until the camera was finished, and then he stole it. The real creator was angered by Dr. Fredericks actions, so the creator placed a dark magic curse on the device. Dr. Fredericks wasn't aware of the curse, so he took photos of people he loved. Sadly, those he photographed either died or were severely harmed, leading him to leave his life and become a vagrant. Eventually, Dr. Fredericks arrived in Pitts Landing, which was to be his last home in life.
At the beginning of Say Cheese and Die!, the children describe having seen him around town from a distance. After discovering that one of them took the camera, he became desperate to get it back, to the point where he snuck into Greg Banks' house to find it. Greg and Shari Walker later went back into the Coffman house to put the camera back, after discovering what it could do. They ran into Spidey, who explained his past and told the kids that they can't leave, as they know too much.
During a skirmish between him and Shari, Spidey's picture is unintentionally taken, which causes him to die of fright. In the television adaptation, when Dr. Fredericks's picture is taken, he is transported inside the camera. However, he is accidentally released by the two bullies when they find the camera. Consequently, he is still alive at the end of the episode.
Spidey has gray hair and long, spider-like legs. Though his exact age is not revealed, he is initially estimated by the children to be 50 or 60. Greg and Shari describe him as looking much older than 60 when they are able to look at him more closely.
Dr. Fredericks is often referred to as 'Spidey' by those living in Pitts Landing. The nickname was apparently applied due to him appearing spider-like to many townsfolk, with 'spindly legs carrying him about' and him only ever being 'dressed in black'. Dr. Fredericks' behavior is similar to that of a spider, as they are known to live in isolated areas.
It appears that Dr. Fredericks's involvement with the Camera has taken its toll on his mind. Specifically, he suffers from symptoms similar to those seen in paranoia and depression. Paranoia appears when he considers it reasonable to keep Greg and Shari locked up in his dwelling, so they will not 'blab about the camera'. Depression is evident when he speaks of the punishment he feels the camera has laden on him; the camera harmed or killed everyone that he loved.
Differences in other media
Spidey received relatively minor changes to his character in the TV adaptation of Say Cheese and Die!. Appearance wise, he dawns black goggles instead of a black baseball cap. The most notable change is when Dr. Fredericks's picture is taken, which cause him to be transported inside the camera. However, he is accidentally released by the two bullies when they find the camera. Consequently, he is still alive at the end of the episode, where as in the book he doesn't survive. Although he is never mentioned in Say Cheese and Die — Again!, the episode mentions him and he is referred to as "Spider" by Greg instead of "Spidey".
A character loosely based on Spidey appears in Goosebumps HorrorTown. This character is portrayed as more of a good guy and is the creator of the camera. He is a rival to Professor Shock, with a niece named Selma and has Billy Deep as his nephew. During the Deep Trouble storyline, he says that his nickname is "Dr. Deep," a reference to Dr. D.
List of appearances
|Say Cheese and Die!||Main antagonist||1992||Goosebumps||Book|
|"Say Cheese and Die"||1996||Goosebumps (TV series)||TV episode|
|"Say Cheese and Die... Again"||Mentioned||1998|
|Welcome to HorrorLand: A Survival Guide||2009||Goosebumps HorrorLand||Book|