By Casey McNerthney
The Mayor of the City Dump may soon get a custom Washington State license plate if Patches Pals get their way.
The J.P Patches show was the best known Northwest children’s show, running on KIRO 7 from 1958 to 1981. Tens of thousands of kids who grew up in Seattle were Patches Pals, including Bill Gates, Paul Allen, former city mayors and state leaders.
Patches Pals behind J.P.’s website, which is not affiliated with KIRO 7, started the effort and crowd funding to make J.P. and his girlfriend Gertrude part of a special vanity plate. A Department of Licensing spokesman said the group had been in touch with their office “and appear to be doing everything correctly.”
A minimum of 3,500 signatures are needed to make the license plates happen. The DOL also requires $8,000 to start the application process and to cover the costs of entering the new plates into the state system. Follow this link to add your digital signature for the J.P. license plate.
Organizers also need someone in the Washington State Legislature to sponsor legislation to make the J.P. plates a reality. This link from the DOL has additional details about the requirements.
The reason for the 3,500 signatures is to determine how many plates people are interested in purchasing, DOL spokesman David Bennett said. If one person is going to put J.P. plates on three different vehicles, it counts as three “signatures.”
“The plate on (the organizer’s) website probably won’t be the end design,” Bennett said. “What normally happens is they do the initial design and we’ll form it to what we require as far as visibility standards.”
People who get the J.P. plate will be able to customize the letters and numbers same way they would for Seahawks or other special license plates.
Washington State has 52 special design plates, including plates for local universities and sports teams. Four new special plate designs were approved by the legislature this year and waiting for Gov. Jay Inslee’s signature. They are: colleguate wrestling, tennis, Future Farmers of America and steelhead.
The DOL was first contacted about the J.P. effort in October, Bennett said. The J.P. license plate fundraising effort raised $820 through noon March 15.
Chris Wedes, the man who played Julius Pierpont Patches, died in July 2012.
Bob Newman, who played Gertrude, Boris S. Wort, and more than a dozen other characters, is now 84 and is the only living person honored with a statue in Seattle. A statue of J.P. and Gertrude, “Late for the Interurban” by artist Kevin Pettelle, was unveiled in Fremont Aug. 17, 2008 with Wedes, Newman and thousands of Patches Pals in attendance.
That $160,000 effort was funded by Patches Pals, local companies, and community leaders.
Follow this link to watch a full J.P. Patches show from 1961, and go to the KIRO 7 Throwback section of the KIRO 7 Smart TV apps to see additional J.P. and Gertrude clips.