• J.P. Patches license plate one step closer to reality

    By: Casey McNerthney


    Washington State is one step closer to getting a J.P. Patches license plate, but it’s still not a certainty.

    The J.P Patches show was the best known Northwest children’s program, running on KIRO 7 from 1958 to 1981. Tens of thousands of kids who grew up in Seattle were Patches Pals, including Bill Gates, Paul Allen, former city mayors and state leaders.

    In March, Patches Pals behind J.P.’s website, which is not affiliated with KIRO 7, started a crowd funding to make J.P. and his girlfriend Gertrude part of a special vanity plate.

    On Friday, October 21, the group announced they raised the $7,427 – and a little extra money for unexpected costs -- required to start the application process and to cover the costs of entering the new plates into the state system.

    Quick Facts 

    ● License plate campaign raised $7,427 required for state fees and process
    ● Signatures still needed to reach 3,500 requirement. Follow this link to sign.
    ● $28 of each plate to go to Children’s Hospital Seattle
    ● J.P. Patches was longest running Northwest children’s show, on KIRO 7 from 1958 to 1981.

    There are two steps left: Getting the 3,500 signatures asking for the license plate and getting someone in the Washington State Legislature to sponsor legislation to make the J.P. plates a reality.

    About 1,640 additional signatures were needed as of Friday. Follow this link to sign.

    If the plate is approved by the state Department of Licensing and the Washington State Legislature chooses to push the bill through, approximately $28 of every plate purchased would go to Seattle Children’s Hospital.  Seattle Children’s is a 501(c)3, and all contributions are tax deductible. They are the only beneficiary, organizers said.

    “The plate on (the organizer’s) website probably won’t be the end design,” Department of Licensing spokesman David Bennett said earlier this year. “What normally happens is they do the initial design and we’ll form it to what we require as far as visibility standards.”

    People who get the J.P. plate will be able to customize the letters and numbers same way they would for Seahawks or other special license plates.

    Washington State has 52 special design plates, including plates for local universities and sports teams. Four new special plate designs were approved by the legislature this year. They are: collegiate wrestling, tennis, Future Farmers of America and steelhead.

    Chris Wedes, the man who played Julius Pierpont Patches, died in July 2012.

    Bob Newman, who played Gertrude, Boris S. Wort, and more than a dozen other characters, is now 84 and is the only living person honored with a statue in Seattle. A statue of J.P. and Gertrude, “Late for the Interurban” by artist Kevin Pettelle, was unveiled in Fremont Aug. 17, 2008 with Wedes, Newman and thousands of Patches Pals in attendance.

    That $160,000 effort was funded by Patches Pals, local companies, and community leaders.

    Follow this link to watch a full J.P. Patches show from 1961, and go to the KIRO 7 Throwback section of the KIRO 7 Smart TV apps to see additional J.P. and Gertrude clips.

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    J.P. Patches license plate one step closer to reality