Frank C. Baxter

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Frank C. Baxter
Frank C. Baxter
Frank C. Baxter (left) and Eddie Albert from Our Mr. Sun
Born Francis Condie Baxter
(1896-05-04)May 4, 1896
Newbold, New Jersey
Died January 18, 1982(1982-01-18) (aged 85)
Pasadena, California
Cause of death Heart attack
Alma mater University of Pennsylvania
Cambridge University (Ph.D.)
Occupation Professor, Actor
Employer University of Southern California
Known for Educational television
Notable work The Bell Laboratory Science Series
Television Our Mr. Sun, Hemo the Magnificent
Title Doctor
Spouse(s) Lydia Foulke Spencer Morris
Children 2

Francis Condie Baxter (May 4, 1896 – January 18, 1982) was an American TV personality and educator.[1] He was a professor of English at the University of Southern California. Baxter hosted Telephone Time in 1957 and 1958 when ABC picked up the program and ended the tenure of John Nesbitt. During the 1950s, his program Shakespeare on TV won seven Emmy Awards.[2]


Born in Newbold, New Jersey, Baxter is best remembered for his appearances from 1956–1962 as "Dr. Research" in The Bell Laboratory Science Series of television specials. These films became a staple in American classrooms from the 1960s through the 1980s. The Bell series combined scientific footage, live actors and animation to convey scientific concepts and history in a lively, entertaining way; and the bald, bespectacled and affable Baxter served as narrator, lecturer and host. These films made Baxter (who was not a scientist) something of a scientific icon among baby boomers. Several of Baxter's science films have been released on DVD.[3]

Baxter also appeared (as himself) in a prologue to the 1956 film The Mole People, in which he gave a brief history of theories of life beneath the surface of the earth.

In 1966, Baxter hosted a popular TV series called The Four Winds to Adventure, featuring filmmakers exploring little-known areas of the world, whether across continents, oceans, or local people and animals in a particular region.

Baxter died at age 85 in Pasadena, California. His body was cremated, but his ashes were scattered in Colorado, NOT placed in a vault in California, as some sources maintain.


In 1959, Baxter won the inaugural Golden Gavel award of Toastmasters International.[4] Baxter has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1960, he won the Southland Emmy Award as Outstanding Male Personality for his work at KRCA-TV in Los Angeles, California.[5]

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Templeton, David (September 23, 1999). "Weird Science: Are Dr. Frank Baxter and those wacky Bell Science films ready for a comeback?". Sonoma County Independent (San Jose, California: Metro Newspapers). ISSN 1074-309X. OCLC 29676731. Retrieved April 27, 2011. 
  2. ^ Stewart, David (January 1996). "Frank Baxter, Television’s First Man of Learning". Current (Takoma Park, Maryland: Current LLC). Retrieved November 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ " Our Mr. Sun/Strange Case of the Cosmic Rays: Eddie Albert: Movies & TV". 
  4. ^ "Toastmasters International - Golden Gavel Award". Toastmasters International. Retrieved 2013-02-05. 
  5. ^ Vernon, Terry (October 29, 1960). "Tele-Vues". Independent. p. 11. Retrieved March 17, 2015 – via  open access publication - free to read

Further reading[edit]

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