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James Wall, Captain Kangaroo's "Mr. Baxter," Dies at 92

James "Jimmy" Wall was Captain Kangaroo's neighbor "Mr. Baxter" on the children's show and longtime stage manager for CBS News.
Mark Mahaney,AP Photo/CBS

James "Jimmy" Wall, Captain Kangaroo's knowledgeable neighbor "Mr. Baxter" on the children's show during the 1960s and 1970s and a longtime stage manager for CBS News,  has died at the age of 92.

He lived in Manhattan and died in his sleep after a short illness.

For nearly 50 years, his presence and rich baritone voice commanded the studios of CBS Broadcast Center in Manhattan.

He was the stage manager for many CBS, CBS News and CBS Sports broadcasts, including "The CBS Evening News," where he counted the time to air for the likes of Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather, "Face the Nation," "60 Minutes," "NFL Today."

In 2008, he was recognized on the air for his 41st consecutive year as stage manager of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships. He also stage managed coverage of political conventions, presidential inaugurations, election coverage and space launches of the 1960s.

Wall also paved the way for other African Americans in television.

Wall had been the stage manager for the Captain Kangaroo show since 1962, when he joined CBS, to 1968 when he persuaded the show's producers to create its first black character. Wall, a talented former vaudevillian with a wonderful voice and kindly demeanor, got the regular role of Mr. Baxter. He played Baxter and another recurring role on the show until 1978.

While Wall semi-retired in 1988 at the age of 71, he was still drawn to CBS. He continued to work regularly as a fill-in stage manager for "The CBS Evening News and "60 Minutes."

The Director's Guild of America gave Wall its Franklin J. Schaffner achievement Award in 1994.