James Wall

Stage Manager / Performer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his four-and-a-half hour Archive interview, James Wall (1917-2010) candidly discusses his experiences as an African-American actor and stage manager on Broadway and in early television. He worked on entertainment programs, sports and news programs including stage managing 60 Minutes and CBS News with Walter Cronkite. Mr. Wall also speaks of his work on Captain Kangaroo, first as stage manager, and later as "Mr. Baxter," a teacher on the program, who he lobbied for and created. Mr. Wall continued to work as a stage manager in New York until shortly before his death. Michael Rosen conducted the interview in New York, NY on October 21, 1999.

"There are a lot of things that I've done where I was the first black face to be out there and I was able to destroy the myth that a black person is incapable of doing this. That, to me, is a biggie. I made a lot of stage managers, and taught them, bridged them, so that they've gotten in."

Highlights
Stage manager James Wall on CBS News' coverage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral
03:51
James Wall on Captain Kangaroo; on stage-managing the series
16:10
James Wall on stage-managing some 60 Minutes telecasts
04:35
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early years; on growing up in the 1920s

Chapter 2

On his service during World War II; on his start in performing

Chapter 3

On his World War II service; on working in radio; on the advent of television; on working on The Goldbergs

Chapter 4

On some of his early television roles on Robert Montgomery Presents, The Defenders, and others; on auditioning for Amos 'N' Andy; on working on Broadway

Chapter 5

On being the first African-American stage manager to work on Broadway
On initially being turned down by CBS for a stage manager position; on later being hired to be stage manager for CBS' Captain Kangaroo; on narrating Air Power
On being stage manager (from 1962 to 1968) on Captain Kangaroo; on playing Mr. Baxter on the series (from 1968 to 1980)

Chapter 6

On Captain Kangaroo; on stage-managing the series 
On the basic role of a stage manager for television

Chapter 7

On his role as a stage manager (cont.)
On being a stage manager for CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

Chapter 8

On news coverage; on CBS News' coverage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral
On covering various news stories with Walter Cronkite including the space program, the 1968 political conventions
On stage-managing various telecasts of 60 Minutes; on stage-managing the U.S. Tennis Open

Chapter 9

On his legacy; on his career high-points; on his advice to aspiring stage managers
On some photos illustrating his career
Shows

60 Minutes

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James Wall on stage-managing some 60 Minutes telecasts
04:35

Amos 'N' Andy

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James Wall on trying out for the role of "Kingfish" on Amos 'N' Andy
03:53

CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite

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James Wall on stage-managing CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
09:53

Captain Kangaroo

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James Wall on being stage manager (from 1962 to 1968) on Captain Kangaroo; on playing Mr. Baxter on the series (from 1968 to 1980)
16:49
James Wall on Captain Kangaroo; on stage-managing the series
16:10

Goldbergs, The

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Actor James Wall on performing on The Goldbergs
04:11

Jack Carter Show, The

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James Wall on performing on The Jack Carter Show
01:49

Sing It Again

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James Wall on performing a dance on Sing it Again
00:52
Topics

JFK Assassination and Funeral

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James Wall on how he heard about the shooting of President Kennedy while working as a stage manager on Captain Kangaroo
01:36

Minorities

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James Wall on being initially turned down by CBS when he applied for a stage manager position at the network
04:52

Moon Landing

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Stage manager James Wall on accompanying Walter Cronkite on U.S. space mission coverage
02:42

We Cried

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Stage manager James Wall on CBS News' coverage of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s funeral
03:51
Professions

Stage Manager

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James Wall on being the first African-American stage manager on Broadway
03:47
James Wall on the basic role of a stage manager for television
12:53
Genres

Sports

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James Wall on stage managing many years of the U.S. Tennis Open 
People

Walter Cronkite

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James Wall on stage-managing CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite
09:53

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