Skip to content

November 9, 2011

J.P. Patches and Gertrude Statue

by ebmeier

J.P. Patches and Gertrude go Bronze to raise funds for Children’s Hospital!

Kids growing up in the Northwest counted on J.P. Patches to put them in the mood for fun each morning before school from 1958 to 1981. Gertrude and all of her/his (Fabulous Bob Newman) alter egos filled the show with guest characters. From 2006 to 2008, J.P.’s (Chris Wedes) carpenter Carl Lovgren and author Bryan Johnston led a team to honor these characters with a bronze statue including a coin bank collecting donations for Children’s Hospital, J.P.’s favorite charity.   The statue is in place and $82,000 in excess funds were donated to Children’s.

Video Links:

Here is an excellent explanation of how the statue was made and
Ron Sims at his best getting the crowd to roar for JP and Gertrude.
Project leader Bryan Johnston thanks the team and Carl starts the Patches Chuckle.

Photo Chronology of the Sculpture Progress:

Our Heroes who earned their places in history!

Photo Credit:

Thanks to our artist’s connection to our heroes and his genius for capturing personalities we have a wonderful dynamic tribute to our heroes. It’s called “Late for the Interurban” since it is near the “Waiting for the Interurban” statue. The sculpture captures the zany energy we remember JP and Gertrude for.

Concept sketch by sculptor Kevin Pettelle

Our sculptor Kevin Pettelle is a Patches Pal! You can’t be luckier than that! Here he is with Fabulous Bob Newman (Gertrude).  Kevin said, “There a 6-year-old inside of me that just can’t believe he gets to do this!”

Photo credit: Su Pettelle

His wife and muse, Su Pettelle, gets in on the action – mugging with Chris Wedes (J.P. himself).

Photo Credit: Kevin Pettelle

The statue includes the ICU2TV, which has a coffee can with a slot facing the Aurora Bridge which collects donations for Children’s Hospital – JP’s favorite charity, so please give generously every time you visit.

For inspiration, Kevin pulled frames like these from the few recorded episodes of the show.
(From the book JP Patches*NORTHWEST ICON* by Bryan Johnston and Julius Pierpont Patches)

JP leaping:

Photo Credit: KIRO Screenshot

JP dancing with Ketchikan the Animal Man:

Photo Credit: KIRO Screenshot

To determine life-size dimensions and clothing details, project leader Bryan Johnston dressed up as JP and project founder Carl Lovgren dressed up as Gertrude.

Photo Credit: Kevin Pettelle

Now for the details of making such a sculpture.

  • Make a small maquette to get the ideas worked out.

Maquette and Photo by: Kevin Pettelle

  • Figure out from the sketch and Maquette where the armature will go.
Sketch by Artist Kevin Pettelle
  • Make a sturdy armature that will hold the clay
Credit: Kevin Pettelle
  • Start slapping on the clay, giving our heroes their youthful figures back.
Credit: Kevin Pettelle
  • Sculpt their heads and faces using old images to keep them forever young – like us!
Credit: Kevin Pettelle
  • Give them their dynamic clothes – first in rough form, then in increasing detail
Credit: Kevin Pettelle
Credit: Kevin Pettelle
  • Then run the half-size sculpture by the experts to see if they feel represented. It is a rare opportunity to have the subjects of a statue available to consult on their own images. Both Chris Wedes and Bob Newman have been great to work with. They are both completely modest about their personal importance and yet they are enthusiastic about helping to accurately portray their characters as a further gift to the kids of Seattle and to Children’s Hospital.
Photo Credit: Kevin Pettelle

Photo Credit: Jack Tomkinson

  • Do a little PR with the Governor and her husband – both Big Patches Pals, as well as Stan McNaughton, not so secret Secret Patches Pal, Jack and Kevin.
Photo Credit: Bob Minnot
  •  JP and Gertrude are honored in the Rotunda.  It pays to have Patches Pals in high places.
Photo Credit: Jack Tomkinson
  • Unveil the detailed 1/2 sized clay sculpture.
    Chris’s wife and muse, Joannie near tears as she see JP’s face unveiled.
Photo Credit: Jack Tomkinson
  •  Fabulous Bob Newman at the Capitol just after he ditched the wig to drive.
Photo Credit: Jack Tomkinson
  • Leave Kevin alone for 6 months and  he shows up with an absolutely beautiful bigger than life bronze statue of our heros.

Photo Credit: Jack Tomkinson

  •  Invite the public to pay tribute.
Photo Credit: Adrian Liston
  •  Look who all showed up!  Can you find yourself?  Click on the photo.
Photo Credit: Adrian Liston
  •  Chris and Bob can finally quit getting dressing up

Photo Credit: Patches Pal

  •  Kevin hanging with his heroes

    Photo Credit: Patches Pal


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: