J.P. R.I.P.


Alas, growing up in Chicago, I knew only Bozo. But I know JP made Seattle happy and that's good enough for me. RIP.
Younger or newer locals will surely be confused and annoyed by the outpouring of sentiment over the next few days. It's hard to see how a TV clown could have been the most important person in town for a couple of decades, but that's how it was.
Okay, observation #1: everybody had a better J.P. story that you did and it was always a bit of a wedge because J.P. was the guy you wanted for your best friend. On the recently shot retrospective interview (Kane Hall maybe?) J.P. was touched by seeing all the people come out to listen to him, but whom did he call out by name? Art Langlie! Art Fucking Langlie is better connected to J.P. than you are.

Observation #2: J.P.'s show was a train wreck nearly every morning but it was the most endearing personal kind of train wreck, and as you sat on the living room floor in front of the t.v. getting dressed for school because you didn't want to miss any of it, you'd hear your mom laugh at something in the show that you didn't get and you knew there was something more going on than you could wrap your head around.

Was it a hit (dink!) or a miss (donk!)
Dink! - it was a hit!
I'd rather be a patches pal than a Boris buddy mean I mind my mom and mind my dad and keep my room rael clean.........

Late to the party, since the show was over when I got here. My SO's a native, though, and she has some stories.
Scrounge around on Youtube for the video of JP hassling Harry Wappler on the air -- imagine living in a city where the local weather guy might look down during his forecast and see a clown crawling across the floor, avid to tie his shoelaces together ...
Old enough to remember JP Patches (and KTNT's Brakeman Bill for that matter) but was not a fan of JP even though most of the other kids in elementary school were.
Good night, sweet prince!
My 5th grade class from St. Joseph's on 18th sang Christmas carols on the J.P. Patches show. I wonder if I could get a tape from KIRO of that... It was an epic event in my young life. I think that would have been in '74, possibly '75.
Later in life I met a former crew member of the show who told me nearly everyone was severely hungover for nearly every episode.
Thanks Goldy. My daughter and I watched some of a DVD of the show last night. She was a little confused because much of the stuff only sort of made sense even if you saw it a lot (ogg gaa chucka ogg ga oog ga!) but she about laughed her head off anyway a few places. I'd forgotten the studio guys would occasionally be picked up with a surprised snort-laugh.

It was interesting to see they got away with a lot. Just the copyright stuff alone would get you sued today (Superman theme used for SuperClown).

We were latch-key kids during his 2 show a day years so the show was an extra big deal. We had one B&W TV and maybe 5 watchable channels and Kiro wasnt always one of them but one of the very very few things my sister and I agreed on was J.P. We moved a fair amount and that show was a constant whenever we were in range of KIRO.

I was glad he lived long.

Circa 1962-66 I watched JP Patches and Gertrude as often as possible on our crappy black and white set in its aluminum cart, staring slack-jawed at the screen, unable to really believe that he was HERE in Seattle and not in whatever faraway land Captain Kangaroo (who was boring) and Romper Room (whose hostess was my first true love). But unlike those shows JP was boisterous and rule-breaking, more Pee Wee's Playhouse twenty years ahead of its time than Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood. ICU2TV, looking at me personally through the television screen blew my tiny little mind. I seriously believe that I can remember the exact sensation of my tiny little brain crackling to life in little corners watching his show. And God knows, trips to the dump where always a highlight.

Thank you, JP.
Grew up on the tail end of JPs morning television reign. (After he went off the air, my weekday morning regimen consisted of Starblazers, Banana Splits, and big bowls of cereal.)

I finally got to meet him at Lollapalooza '92. I was actually (hardly) working security for the show and JP introduced Soundgarden. He then walked through the crowd and was largely ignored by all the mouthbreathers, so I ran up and said hi and shook his hand and we talked for a minute or two.

Later in life, my mother sat on a judging panel for some contest between JP and Gertrude and was pleasantly shocked by how lewd their under-the-breath comments were.

(And if you were at Lolla '92, there's a very good chance that I snuck you in. You're welcome.)
I grew up on the slick, color version of the 60's and loved it. I stood in a long line with nearly all the kids in our neighborhood to meet him at the tiny shopping strip nearby, and later appeared on a show taped at the Southcenter mall. The last meeting was several years ago at the Red Door in support of JP and Gertrude's statue in Fremont. By then, I had come to appreciate how much Chris Wedes and Bob Newman gave us. The show was not slick or innocent, but imaginative and rollicking and dependable. As the second show broadcast on KIRO, these guys were making it up as they went using the newest media of their time. And they kept it up to the end, with warmth and humor and professionalism to the end.

I was in brownies and got to go on JP"s show. What a thrill. We played Simon Say's and I lost out to another kid....My mom took a photo of me on the black and white TV. I still have the photo. Good by JP. What a great ride!
my SO is a native. JP was a huge part of her childhood - when her grandma flew back to england after a visit, JP told her on I C U 2 TV to go look in the dryer for a present she'd left.

I so love that he had a girlfriend played by a man. There's a reason my fourth-favorite ex was a shock drag queen. He could never hold a candle to Gertrude, poor thing.
I met JP in about 1973, it freaked me out and I started bawling.
I arrived in Seattle too late to enjoy the program, but Mr. Patche's legacy obviously still lives on with the children and parents who loved him.

In the larger sense, J.P. Patches and similar programs represented a time when TV stations were largely locally owned, and interested - I.e. required - in providing quality local programming, which meant local jobs and local ad dollars.

Local children's programs, local news and public affairs, local homemaking and cooking (Hi, Mary Norris!) - even stuff like bowling, golf and fishing shows are largely all gone now, replaced by hundreds of cable channels who show the same stuff in Seattle as they do in Miami, with much less head count, and much, much, MUCH less talent and originality. It's really too bad.
I met JP at a shopping center grand opening and he scared the shit out of me!! I was more a Wunda Wunda girl. . .
Cub Scout pack went on a tour of KIRO, maybe 1973 or 4. When we saw JP coming up the hallway, *pandemonium*. Like someone said above, the coolest guy you could possibly know. So many 8-year-old boys gang-rushed the door he couldn't get into the room. It took several minutes to get everyone calmed down. This was in the afternoon, too, so probably after he'd done his PM show, tired after a long day, and even with that chaos, he had time to say hello and joke with each of us individually.
JP was a morning favorite. I also remember sitting in front of our tiny black and white TV watching Wunda Wunda. But JP Patches was better. Sometimes my mom would laugh at stuff he said and I had no idea why she laughed. I got to be on the show once with my brownie troup. I was sad to see the dungeon was not actually real, but it was very cool to see the set. RIP JP. The garbage dump will never be the same without you.
Best part of the show was Saturday mornings when he crash-landed on his magic carpet. I was captivated by that damn carpet. JP was the only clown that didn't give me the willies.

And thank god he seems to have never been in a child abuse scandal. Refreshing.
@1.. same here i didn't know that other people didn't know bozo ( ... or garfield goose ) when i first moved here, but loved hearing drunk friends get cheery and teary reminiscing about jp.
and like cat @17 i get the old guy tsk's when i think of what people miss with local programming..
.. and i'm envious that ptaches had the cajones to to agree to announcing soundgarden..the chicago bozo wouldn't have touched rock and roll with a ten foot shoe.
Patches Pal here. Met JP just after his show ended, when I was a tike. Glad I made it to the big Fremont statue event a few years ago and introduced my little niece to ICU2TV.
Can we rename the City Dump yet?
Sir Vic, as you probably know, we don't have a city dump per se, ( i think all our garbage goes to Oregon) but we DO have a brand new south transfer station that I don't believe has been named yet. Wouldn't that be a hoot?
The athletic fields and wildlife preserve just east of the 45th St viaduct used to be the city dump. We could name that.
Catalina: The City will name a "Transfer Station Educational Center" after J.P.

As many others have stated, watching the show because of its lack of rehearsal was one of the highlights. J.P. Patches was one of those things that were unique to Seattle - something getting rarer to find with so much homogenization nowadays.
@26 Thanks for the link. That story was my indirect reference.

"Transfer Station" is what you call a Dump if you are paid to work there.
I was a late-joiner to the Patches bandwagon, as we didn't get cable down in SW WA until the early '70's. But it only took a handful of viewings to realize there was something extraordinary going on up in Seattle's City Dump. Whereas most of the PDX kiddie show hosts were simply guys in funny costumes who introduced cartoons, J.P. and his crew (litterally, as quickly became apparent), were clearly working on an entirely different plane of existence. And as others have mentioned above, as a kid you quickly came to recognize the show had layers, levels of humor that went beyond your understanding, but which any grownup in the room always seemed to get. And then there was just the sheer insanity of it all: Bob Newman making impossibly fast costume changes; the fourth-wall breaking Mr. Announcer Man; the guffaws (both on-camera AND off) when some bit would just completely fall apart; the almost psychedelic heights of imagination (to this day, I still have no real clear idea what a "frple" is, friendly or not).

But, I think the biggest lesson I ever learned from watching J.P. was simply that it was possible for some adults to get up every morning, and go to a job that was actually FUN, that made people (including, frequently, themselves) laugh, and that could make you forget, if even for a few minutes, some of your own problems, fears, and anxieties. J.P. Patches made you feel GOOD, and he helped get this struggling pre-teen though several rough years during a very tumultuous time in my life.

Thanks for that J.P.
It is good that it's cloudy today. My sincerest condolences Gertrude. J.P Patches was not just the Mayor of the City Dump, he was the Mayor of the city's heart.
R.I.P. Mr. Wedes. Thanks for helping make part of my childhood so happy & memorable.