EDMONDS — He has a statue in his honor, a book and some novelty items.
Now the TV clown is getting his own state license plate.
After several tries, a license plate with J.P. Patches and sidekick Gertrude finally got the go ahead.
Senate Bill 5741 to create the “Patches Pal” plate passed the Legislature this week and awaits the governor’s signature. A Washington wine special license plate also was approved.
State Sen. John Lovick, D-Mill Creek, was among those proposing the J.P Patches plate — again.
“The J.P. Patches Show” aired from 1958 to 1981 on KIRO-TV. The man with the painted face and patched jacket was Chris Wedes of Edmonds. He died in 2012 at age 84.
The state offers over 40 special plates, including those that recognize the military, sports teams, schools, parks, breast cancer awareness, firefighters, farmers, ranchers, elk, deer, orcas and the state flower.
Proceeds from the “Patches Pal” plate will benefit Seattle Children’s Hospital, which J.P. and Gertrude often visited to entertain kids and their families. A statue of the pair in Fremont also raised money for the hospital.
J.P. Patches merchandise, sold by Archie McPhee, includes a lunch box, action figure, ornament, air freshener and bobblehead.
When the show ended in 1981, it was the longest-running locally produced children’s program in the country.
“He’s in the DNA of so many of us who grew up in the Seattle area, watching him every day,” said Bob Bolerjack, 65, of Everett.
Bolerjack was on the show on his eighth birthday. In 1997, his mom arranged for J.P. Patches to show up at his 40th birthday party.
“He was there for about an hour. He did his stand-up routine,” Bolerjack said.
Bolerjack contributed to the book, “J.P. Patches: Northwest Icon,” and went to Wedes’ book-signing party.
“He performed without his makeup on. He was just Chris Wedes, but he still had J.P.’s personality,” Bolerjack said.
He plans to get a plate, which could be available later this year.
“He just radiates goodness,” Bolerjack said.
Maybe the clown will lighten up the mood on I-5 and I-405 gridlock and in the ferry lines.
Reporter Jerry Cornfield contributed to this story.
Andrea Brown: firstname.lastname@example.org; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.
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