Friday, September 2, 2011

Seattle Kids' TV: A Rich Legacy

I had good parents. Yet, as a child of the 60s I watched a lot of TV. It helped shape my personality.  Some, like my wife, might even say it warped my personality. But that's from somebody who sees this picture:
. . . and thinks "clown." Any true child of Seattle will not see a "clown," rather a real person who had more influence, certainly more time with us, than any grade school teacher and maybe almost as much as our own parents. He was on for an hour in the morning and an hour after school. And then there was another hour on Saturday mornings. That's eleven hours a week. Certainly more time than I spent in Sunday School and Primary.

That's our beloved J.P. His full name was Julius Pierpont Patches, or J.P. Patches. He was mayor of the City Dump and we were all Patch's Pals. His cohort and eternally, unrequited love (he would never allow himself to set the wedding date) was Gertrude. I hesitate to post a picture here as once again my wife will miss the point and say, "That's a guy in a dress." And I would have to say, "No, that's Gertrude." The video will demonstrate and you can draw your own conclusions:

You can follow YouTube to see more J.P. and Gertrude. I suppose it is an acquired taste easily obtained in youth now much too late to relinquish. And he wasn't the only one! My pre-school days were enriched years before Sesame Street began with Wunda Wunda:
Kindergarten was fortunately in the morning session. I would get off the bus, come in the house and sit down to my lunch of soft-boiled egg and toast (that was a little weird) and watch. Ruth Prins did another show on Saturday mornings early before the network cartoons came on. It was called "Televenture Tales" on KING TV in which she would talk about books. I once won a copy of Freddy Goes to Florida, by Walter R. Brooks, because I wrote in the winning answer to a question.
Ruth Prins on KING TV's Televenture Tales - a positive influence for a young reader
Second to J.P. in popularity and absolutely full of talent was Stan Boreson. His theme song was another test of Seattle childhood legitimacy:

And next was Brakeman Bill from far down the dial on Channel 11. That was almost UHF all the way from Tacoma. We saw Brakeman Bill once in person at Finn Hill Jr. High. We also conducted a successful backyard carnival for Muscular Dystrophy partially sponsored by Brakeman Bill and I still have the Certificate of Thanks from Jerry Lewis to prove it. Here's Brakeman Bill:
And last, but far from least, was the much more adventurous Captain Puget. There is a brief clip in here with another iconic Seattle personality, Ivar Haglund of Ivar's "Acres of Clams" fame:

Ah, Seattle Kids' TV! My dad always waxed nostalgic about how great old-time radio shows were. He said it was all about how you had to use your imagination. I think the beauty of Seattle Kids' TV is that you had to use your personality - or at least develop one.


  1. How Timely:

    J.P. Patches makes his final Evergreen State Fair appearance

  2. Thanks, Dave! My favorite comment on that website was: "I would have watched him until he went of the air but I had to get a stupid job."

    I had to move to Wyoming (although I had kinda quit watching by then at age 16 - but my little sister still was and I didn't mind J.P. being on).

    And I still remember how you razzed me when I was on the show as an 11-year-old Boy Scout, in uniform (of course), because that Cub Scout was taller than I was. I did have a speaking part totally and completely ad lib although my dad had prompted me on offering J.P. a Scout "cocoa" mug. When J.P. asked what I had done in Scouts, I responded that I had climbed (hiked) Mt. Si, and J.P. did his standard double-take on that one. So, yeah, I did good.

  3. Speaking of being 11 - check out

    For how it really was back-in-the-day. Remember bike riding EVERYWHERE?


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