Tears, smiles as J.P. Patches gives one last show

Tears, smiles as J.P. Patches gives one last show
SEATTLE - Local celebrity clown J.P. Patches has entertained us for more than 50 years - and on Saturday, hundreds of people watched him in his last public performance.

It was an emotional show as plenty of smiles, some seen with a round red nose, filled an audience where age didn't matter.

They were smiling, of course, for J.P. Patches, played by 83-year-old Chris Wedes.

"Boys and girls, moms and dads, thank you very much for coming," he said.

J.P. Patches has been a Puget Sound performer for more than 50 years, and his Emmy Award-winning TV show aired from 1958 to 1981.

After signing off the air, he continued to make appearances for years. But because of health concerns, he's finally retiring.

Grown-up kids came to his final show Saturday at Fisherman's Terminal to say farewell.

Sally Bouillon, who was born in 1956, said she came "to just see all the people my age and see the different shirts."

And all of the fans say the magic of J.P. Patches is still there.

(57, born in 1954.. Watched while living on Queen Anne Hill)

Shelly Cohen, who was born in 1954 and watched J.P. while growing up on Queen Anne, said he connects with others "because he's so real."

"He's a real person, a real clown, and just amazing," says Shelly.

Craig Jenkins, 47, has fond memories of J.P. - after school he'd watch the show with his sister. It was important, he said, to bring his kids to the final performance.

"So they could share, you know, a bit of my childhood and the joy of my childhood," says Craig.

Long after J.P.'s last performance was over, a long line of fans formed - filled with people who wanted to get one last autograph, one last photo with the icon.

"Well, I'll try to get rid of them," said J.P. with a grin. "I mean - ha ha ha. OK - who's next?"

There are the toys, the T-shirts - but more importantly, there will always be - the memories.

"And Gertrude. And Boris S. Wort, Grizwold, Esmerelda, and Tikey Turkey. And I get choked up talking about it," says Craig Jenkins.