Thursday, December 06, 2007
Anyone who grew up in the Pacific Northwest between 1953 and 1981 should remember J.P. Patches, clown and children's television show host that aired on either KIRO 7 or KING 5 every weekday morning. The show was unscripted and could be the very best in chaotic, cacophonous entertainment. The other night KCPQ (the local PBS station) aired a Patches Marathon and had both J.P. - Mayor of the City Dump - and Gertrude (played by the talented Bob Newman who provided almost all the charaters in the supporting cast) on the air.
It was fun watching what segments they had to air - the show was live and seldom recorded - and it really brought back some of the better memories surrounding my childhood. (It has been the week for that it seems) Sadly, I discovered Chris Wedes (J.P.) has an inccurable blood cancer that is in remission. It seems that the fund raiser was actually for him. J.P. and Bob Newman are both quite old now, of course, but it hits home in a way that a fondly remembered sick family does.
Of course J.P. Patches isn't just a piece of Pacific North-West History, he's one of the inspirations Matt Groening (a Seattle native) had for Krusty the Klown. J.P. was never as crusty or as cynical as Krusty, though.