Guide to the Chris Wedes Collection on J.P. Patches
1958-2003

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Wedes, Chris, 1928-2012
Title: Chris Wedes Collection on J.P. Patches
Dates: 1958-2003 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 3 boxes (1.3 linear feet)
Location of Collection: 15a.1.5, 10
Collection Number: 2003.35
Summary: Photographs, fan mail, and other materials relating to the work of Chris Wedes as J.P. Patches, a clown who hosted a KIRO-TV children's program for 23 years.
Repository: Museum of History & Industry
Sophie Frye Bass Library

5933 6th Avenue South
Seattle, WA 98108
Phone: 206-324-1126
URL: http://www.mohai.org

Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

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.

Content Description

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.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

This collection is open to the public by appointment.

Restrictions on Use :  

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.

Preferred Citation :  

Chris Wedes Collection on J.P. Patches, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information :  

The collection was donated by Chris Wedes in 2003.

Processing Note :  

Processed by Helice Koffler in 2003.

15 photographs, 1 drawing, 2 certificates and 1 item of ephemera were added to the collection in 2009.

Separated Materials :  

The donation inculdes a number of artifacts which are cataloged and stored separately by MOHAI's Collections Department.


Detailed Description of the Collection

Box
Folder
1 1 Certificates 1960-2003
1 2 Clippings 1966-2002
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 5 Flyers 1958-2003
1 6 Interviews, reports 1973-1994
1 7 Newsletters 1963-1964
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
1 21 Photographs: Negatives undated
1 22 Press releases undated
1 23 Programs 1979-1992
1 24 Songs undated
1 25 Stationery undated
1 26 Television scripts 1963-1992
2 1 Fan letters 1960-1969
2 2 Fan letters 1970-1971
2 3 Fan letters 1972-1973
2 4 Fan letters 1974-1976
2 5 Fan letters 1977-1978
2 6 Fan letters 1978
2 7 Fan letters 1980
2 8 Fan letters 1981
2 9 Fan letters 1982-1988
2 10 Fan letters 1992-2003
2 11 Fan letters undated
2 12 Fan letters: Class visit 1969
2 13 Fan letters: Dear Santa letters 1980
2 14 Fan letters: E-mails 1997-1999
3 1 Printing plates undated
3 2 Photographs -- contact sheets undated
3 3 Photographs -- portraits undated
3 4 Photograph--KIRO crew on 20th anniversary circa 1978
3 5 Clippings 1993-2003
3 6 Programs 1994
3 7 Ephemera undated
3 8 Posters undated
3 9 Posters - autographed undated
3 10 Drawing of Gertrude undated

Subjects

  • Corporate Names :
  • KIRO, Inc. (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs
  • Subject Terms :
  • Clowns -- Washington (State) -- Seattle
  • Fan mail

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