On Our Haute List
James Wall AKA Captain Kangaroo’s “Mr. Baxter” Dies
CBS News is reporting that James Wall, who played Captain Kangaroo’s neighbor “Mr. Baxter” has died at age 92 in New York City after a short illness. Wall was a longtime stage manager at CBS News and convinced Captain Kangaroo’s producers to put him in front of the camera. They ultimately agreed and the actor became the children’s show’s first black character in 1968 and appeared on the show for more than a decade.
In 1994, Wall was presented with an achievement award by the Director’s Guild of America.
Here’s more on Wall from CBC News:
He worked as a stage manager at CBS for many years, at programs such as CBS News and CBS Sports broadcasts, CBS Evening News, Face the Nation, 60 Minutes and NFL Today.
As stage manager, one of his roles was to count down the seconds to air for Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather.
Wall semi-retired in 1988 at the age of 71, but continued to work regularly as a fill-in stage manager for the CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes until he was 91.
James Earl Wall was born Dec. 12, 1917, in Wilmington, N.C., and moved with his family to New York City at age nine.
He went to sea at 15, delivered sugar for New York bootleggers’ stills during Prohibition, and became a singer and dancer in a series of vaudeville acts.
During the Second World War, he went to Europe and was involved in staging USO shows.
Walls attended college on the G.I. Bill when he left the army and played various roles in New York stage productions, often stage managing and performing in the same show.
He was only the second black stage manager hired by CBS when he joined the network in 1962.
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