Monday, July 23, 2012

And Patches Pals Weep

I was sorry to hear that Chris Wedes, who played Seattle’s favorite TV clown, J.P. Patches, for half a century, died on Sunday at age 84. As Rachelle Robins of Blatherwatch recalls:
The Emmy Award-winning J.P. Patches Show was one of the longest-running locally produced children’s television programs in the United States, appearing on Seattle TV station KIRO channel 7 from 1958 to 1981.

J.P. was the “Mayor of the City Dump,” where he lived in a shack and welcomed frequent guests: Seattle Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, various local and national celebrities. Among his more well-known guests were Colonel Sanders, Jacques Cousteau, Slim Pickens and Tiny Tim.

He also had a beloved cast of supporting characters--Gertrude, Boris S. Wort, Grizwold, Esmerelda and Tikey Turkey.

Many children signed up to be “Patches Pals,” and J.P. announced some of their birthdays by “viewing” them on his “ICU2TV” set (a cardboard prop that created the appearance that J.P. was looking at you from inside your television).

J.P. Patches (the J.P. stood for Julius Pierpont) also made frequent fundraising appearances for local charities. He was a common sight at Children’s Hospital, visiting sick kids and promoting the work of the hospital.
There’s more on Wedes at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer Web site.

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