This collection is open to the public by appointment.
Julius Pierpont (J. P.) Patches, portrayed by Chris Wedes, was a clown on a long-running children's television program on KIRO in Seattle. Wedes grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. At Macalester College, he performed in various theatre productions and started a campus radio station. He served in the Army in Korea; upon his return he started work as a director at WMIN-TV in Minneapolis. He began to portray several characters on the air, including J.P. Patches, a role originated by another actor. When KIRO-TV began broadcasting in Seattle, Wedes was hired to host the station's first live program, which debuted on February 10, 1958.
The J.P. Patches Show featured Wedes as the eponymous clown, who was mayor of the city dump and was forever pursued by Gertrude, played by Bob Newman. Viewers -- who numbered 100,000 at the show's peak -- were encouraged to become "Patches Pals" by doing things like minding their parents, sharing their toys, and brushing their teeth. The show ran for 23 years until its cancellation in 1981. Wedes and Newman continued to make appearances and support local charities, most notably Seattle's Children's Hospital.
This collection contains materials relating to the work of Chris Wedes as J.P. Patches, including photographs, posters, newsletters, and scripts. Photographs include professional shots as well as snapshots sent in by fans. Also included is a significant amount of fan mail from children. An interview with Wedes provides background information about his childhood and career.
View selections from the collection in digital format by clicking on the camera icons in the inventory below.
The Museum of History & Industry is the owner of the materials in the Sophie Frye Bass Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from MOHAI before any reproduction use. The museum does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.
Chris Wedes Collection on J.P. Patches, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle
|1||3||Correspondence (see also box 2)||1958-1998|
|1||3a||Question of the Day||1980|
|1||4||Ephemera (see also box 3)||1958-1998|
|1||8||Photographs: Autographed to J.P. Patches||undated|
|1||9||Photographs: Contact sheets (see also box 3)||undated|
|1||10||Photographs: Patches Pals, then and now||1976-2002|
|1||11||Photographs: Personal appearances -- children's parties||1967-2003|
|1||12||Photographs: Personal appearances -- fairs, parades, and other events||1969-circa 1978|
|1||13||Photographs: Personal appearances -- fairs, parades, and other events||circa 1982-2002|
|1||14||Photographs: Personal appearances -- store openings or events||circa 1960-1969|
|1||15||Photographs: Personal appearances -- store openings or events||1972-2003|
|1||16||Photographs: Portraits (see also box 3)||undated|
|1||17||Photographs: Portraits -- fans||1959-circa 1997|
|1||18||Photographs: Television studio -- reunion show filming||circa 1990|
|1||19||Photographs: Television studio -- visitors to set||1966-circa 1985|
|1||20||Photographs: Miscellaneous||circa 1985-1998|
|2||12||Fan letters: Class visit||1969|
|2||13||Fan letters: Dear Santa letters||1980|
|2||14||Fan letters: E-mails||1997-1999|
|3||2||Photographs -- contact sheets||undated|
|3||3||Photographs -- portraits||undated|
|3||4||Photograph--KIRO crew on 20th anniversary||circa 1978|
|3||9||Posters - autographed||undated|
|3||10||Drawing of Gertrude||undated|