A Seattle Icon passed away earlier today after a long battle with cancer and other health problems. J.P. Patches (full name: Julius Pierpont Patches) was a clown portrayed by Seattle entertainer Chris Wedes (1928 – July 22, 2012). The J.P. Patches Show was one of the longer-running locally-produced children's television programs in the United States, having appeared on Seattle TV station KIRO channel 7 from 1958 to 1981. The show was live, unrehearsed improv with rarely more than two live actors on screen (Wedes and Bob Newman) but with frequent contributions from the sound-effects man and off-camera crew.
J.P. Patches hosted his show twice a day every weekday for 13 years (plus Saturdays), then for the next 8 years did the morning show only, and finally for the last 2 years appeared on Saturday mornings only—for a total of over 10,000 hours of on-air time. The show premiered on April 5, 1958, as the second program ever broadcast by KIRO-TV, the first being a telecast of the explosion of Ripple Rock in Seymour Narrows, BC. The show was immensely popular in the Puget Sound area and southwestern British Columbia, Canada, with children of course but also their parents who enjoyed J.P.'s frequent use of double entendre and sly subversiveness. Two generations of viewers grew up as "Patches Pals", sharing the joyful zany antics of J.P. with their kids. At the peak of its run, the Emmy-winning program had a viewership of over 100,000 in its local markets.
When I was growing up in the 70's, the JP Patches show was one of my favorites. Everyone I knew was a "Patches Pal"
How famous was he is Seattle? I was at a Soundgarden show in 1991and JP was the announcer. He came out onto the stage and got a 5 minute standing ovation.
All of the Patches Pals will miss you!