Archive for the ‘"Captain Kangaroo"’ Category

James Wall, Longtime CBS Stage Manager, Has Died

Friday, October 29th, 2010

James Wall served as a stage manager for CBS for nearly 50 years and appeared on camera as teacher “Mr. Baxter” on Captain Kangaroo.  It was Wall’s idea that Captain Kangaroo should feature an African-American regular, and after serving as the show’s stage manager for six years, he was given the on-screen role starting in 1968.  Wall was semi-retired for the last two decades, but frequently came back to CBS as a fill-in stage manager— a job he continued to do until 2009.

James Wall’s Archive interview was conducted on October 21, 1999.

Interview description:

James Wall was interviewed for four-and-a-half hours in New York, NY. Wall candidly discussed his experiences as an African-American actor and stage manager in early television. He worked on entertainment programs, sports and news programs including The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite. Mr. Wall also spoke of his work on Captain Kangaroo, first as stage manager, and later as “Mr. Baxter,” a teacher on the program. The interview was conducted by Michael Rosen.

Wall was given a tribute on the CBS Evening News, link.

Bob Keeshan’s ("Captain Kangaroo" and TV’s First Clarabell the Clown) Interview is now Online

Saturday, November 18th, 2006


Remember Clarabell the clown on The Howdy Doody Show? Or what about Captain Kangaroo, with his menagerie of “Dancing Bear,” “Mr. Moose,” and “Mr. Greenjeans”? Bob Keeshan, best known as television’s “Captain Kangaroo” was interviewed by the Archive of American Television in 1999 and it’s now accessible on Google Video.

Interview Description:

Mr. Keeshan related his experiences as an NBC page before going to work for “Buffalo” Bob Smith. Keeshan talked about the beginnings of Smith’s Howdy Doody Show and how he was eventually transformed into the show’s clown, Clarabell. Keeshan discussed his four years on the show, and his eventual falling-out with Smith, which led to Keeshan’s departure. He talked about starring in two local New York childrens’ programs before CBS tapped him to star in his own show, which ultimately became Captain Kangaroo. He talked about executive producing and starring in the program for almost 30 years and discussed the ensemble cast and classic moments. The 3-1/2 hour interview was conducted by Karen Herman in Queechee, Vermont on October 19, 1999.

Click here to access the entire interview. (The interview is done chronologically, so it’s best to watch the parts in order.)