The beloved James “Jimmy” Wall, who played Mr. Baxter on Captain Kangaroo until 1978, died in his sleep at age 92 on Wednesday. Mr. Baxter was the friendly neighbor of the Captain on the CBS show, and was a stage manager at CBS Broadcast Center in NYC until 2009.
Wall started on the children’s TV show as a stage manager, and eventually convinced the show to have him added as the first black character on Captain. He retired that role in 1978.
He later worked for CBS News and CBS Sports broadcasts like Face the Nation, 60 Minutes and NFL Today, the New York Daily News reports. He was also celebrated in 2008 for 41 consecutive years as stage manager of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
Wall’s life at time sounded straight out of a movie — he left home at 15 and went to sea, delivering sugar for New York bootlegger stills during Prohibition. He also had a Vaudeville career that found him touring the country.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time.