In this week's Last Days, I wrote about the passing of J.P. Patches, in an item that, I'm thrilled to report, features a quote from lifelong Patches Pal Grady West, AKA the man behind Dina Martina.
SUNDAY, JULY 22 In happier sad news, the week continues with J.P. Patches, the TV clown who entertained several generations of Northwest kids with his daily shows on KIRO 7, whose news department today had the sad duty to inform us that Chris Wedes, the man who created J.P. Patches, has died at age 84. "The JP Patches show was first broadcasted in black and white... in 1958, live from the 'city dump' where he served as mayor," reports KIRO. "The shows were spontaneous. Nothing was scripted. And if something went wrong on live television, they just rolled with it." The results were beloved and highly influential. In the words of Seattle performance artist/2012 Stranger Genius Award nominee Grady West (the man behind Dina Martina): "J.P. Patches was a huge part of my life, as he was for any kid raised in Seattle. Captain Kangaroo and all the others did their duty when it came to reading storybooks and teaching manners—J.P. was no different in that respect—but he and his girlfriend Gertrude were actually hilarious and the 'goofball' element was much more prominent on his show. Plus, you could always hear the crew totally losing it behind the cameras, which made you feel like you were really in on the joke. At the end of his morning show, he told you to go to school, and then he was on again in the afternoon to welcome you home from school. That's two live shows every weekday and one on Saturdays, not including countless personal appearances. Looking back, I realize he was one of the most consistent and positive things in my childhood. He was my idol."
I'm less thrilled to report that I effed up Grady's quote. As he wrote in the comments to the column:
I was/am totally honored to have been asked for my thoughts on J.P., however, I didn't refer to Gertrude as J.P.'s girlfriend. That would be like saying Lucy was Schroeder's girlfriend.
Grady's right, I shoved "his girlfriend" in there, as Gertrude hadn't been mentioned previously and I thought she needed a slight introduction—but of course there should be [brackets] around "his girlfriend" (which should actually be "his costar") and there are not. My apologies for the slovenliness, it has all been corrected online (and filed away for the 2012 Regrets issue).