Memories of TV Clown JP Patches

Jul 24, 2012

All over Western Washington, Baby-boomers who grew up watching TV here are remembering J.P. Patches. The TV clown whose real name was Chris Wedes passed away Sunday at the age of 84.

His popular kids program was broadcast on KIRO TV for 24 years, and for some of that time, it was on not once a day, but twice. Wedes shared that story in 2001 with KUOW’s Dave Beck.

Wedes: "I did J.P. Patches in the morning, and I did a show for about six months in the afternoon called 'Mystic Mountain,' and it was all about rocket ships and going to Mars, and I played Professor Friedel Furter. The show was on for about six months and I thought it was a very successful show, but the boss at the time, his daughter liked J.P. Patches and you know what bosses can do - bosses can convince a person that J.P. would be equally as much fun in the afternoon, so we wound up with J.P. in the morning and J.P. in the afternoon."

Fans, or Patches Pals, as they were known, are leaving tributes Wedes on the J.P. Patches statue in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Elizabeth Johnson lives in Boston, but she grew up in Seattle’s Phinney Ridge neighborhood. Monday morning she dropped a bouquet of sunflowers at Patches' feet.

Johnson: "I just happened to be back in town and turned on the news last night, and they were eulogizing him and I kind of got a little weepy, because it was my childhood, you know, and my childhood was always very precious to me. When I was growing up, he was my mornings. He and Gertrude would just crack me up every day. I think it just lightened my day before I went to school. It was just a nice way to start the morning. It was better than nowadays as an adult getting up, it's tougher because you don't have somebody to make you laugh in the morning."

J.P. Patches’ website carries a brief mention of his passing. Plans for a memorial have not been released.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio