• VIDEO J.P. Patches first show on KIRO 7

    By: KIRO 7 STAFF

    Updated:

    We’ve found a gem in the archive: footage from J.P. Patches’ first show in 1958.

    It was a year ago this week that Chris Wedes, the man behind J.P. Patches, died at age 83.

    Patches’ show was the first program broadcast on KIRO 7, debuting on Feb. 10, 1958. That show had audio, but the footage here from that day and other appearances in 1958 does not have sound.

    J.P.'s girlfriend, Gertrude, showed up in 1960 when floor manager Bob Newman answered Patches' call off-camera. Newman also played Boris S. Wart – the second-meanest man in the world – Ketchikan the Animal Man, Officer Paddy Wagon, Charlie Can Do, Sheriff Shot Badly and The Swami of Pastrami.

    Wedes and Newman said they never wrote scripts for the show, and didn't think the program would have the run it did. When the show went off the air in 1981 it was the longest-running locally produced children's show in the United States.

    Wedes stayed at KIRO 7 after the show ended in 1981, working in the production department. But he continued making so many trips to Children's Hospital that the medical center named its diagnostic play area after him.

    The Seattle City Council proclaimed J.P. Patches Day on Nov. 5, 2007 for Wedes' "commitment to children and iconic portrayal of one of the Northwest's most beloved, celebrated and enduring characters, J.P. Patches."

    He was the only local TV figure to get that honor twice. The first time was on Oct. 14, 1978.

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