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J.P. Patches: Northwest Icon by Chris Wedes

J.P. Patches: Northwest Icon

by Chris Wedes

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1011,385,221 (5)None
Scratch the rust off a Northwest native and, underneath, chances are you'll find a Patches Pal. The J.P. Patches Show aired on KIRO-TV, in Seattle from 1958-1981. If you grew up in the Puget Sound area during that stretch you watched the show. Simple as that. You would think a program that ran for twenty-three years would have some interesting stories from behind the scenes. Stories that bring a smile, take you back to your days in short-pants, or leave you shaking your head with amazement.You would be right. Rediscover the magic of Julius Pierpont Patches: a true Northwest icon.… (more)



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J.P. Patches was interviewed on the radio yesterday. His wonderful television show started fifty years ago this week. My goodness!

Who is J.P. Patches? He’s a legend in the Seattle area. For 23 years — the longest run for a local children’s program in the country — the J.P. Patches Show aired every morning on KIRO-TV. His goofy antics were a combination of slapstick that children loved and a sly grown-up humor that made moms laugh (even though the kids didn’t always understand why). It was usually a live, unscripted show, reportedly broadcast from the City Dump.

J.P. Patches, THE clown to most Seattleites of the era, was played by Chris Wedes. His numerous fans, Patches Pals as we were known, still remember him fondly. He was part of our childhood. He also influenced a generation of other clowns, including (but far surpassing, in my opinion) Ronald McDonald. J.P. made appearances throughout the Northwest and always drew huge crowds. His good nature and warmth was obvious at every event. Patches Pals still flock to his rare appearances more than two decades after the show went off the air.

I saw him about three years ago when his autobiography was published. He questioned my status as a Patches Pal (accusing me of siding with evil Boris S. Wart, an arch-enemy seeking to take over the City Dump), but happily signed my book anyway. J.P. Patches: Northwest Icon is a slim volume packed with stories and photos from the career of a beloved clown and his cast of crazy sidekicks.

The first J.P. Patches show aired February 10, 1958. That was before my time, but I was lucky enough see some of the last few seasons on the air. I still remember them fondly. Happy 50th, J.P.!

Find more of my reviews at Mostly NF.
  benjfrank | Feb 12, 2008 |
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