From October 3, 1955 until December 8, 1984, Captain Kangaroo entertained us, and made it the longest-running children’s television program of its day. And today, the world is little less happy, as the Captain’s friendly neighbor, Mr. Baxter, played by actor James Wall, has passed away at age 92.
The first African-American actor to appear on the show, he spent many years in the entertainment biz, making children smile. And, he was also a vaudeville actor.
Wall first joined “Captain Kangaroo” as a stage manager in 1962 convincing the producers to create the show’s first black character, Mr. Baxter, who debuted in 1968. After his stint on Captain Kangaroo, Wall was also the stage manager for a variety of CBS programs, including NFL Today, 60 Minutes, CBS Evening News, Face the Nation, and the US Open Tennis Championships. The Director’s Guild of America honored Wall with its Franklin J. Schaffner Achievement Award in 1994 (via Third Age).
He is survived by his wife, Dolly, to whom he was married for 58 years. It’s a sad day in Hollywood, for sure.
Here’s a clip if you feel like taking a stroll down memory lane!