Jeff’s Gallery: Josiah Harlan

 

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The only known picture of the American Prince.

image from en.wikipedia.org

 

In 1888, the distinguished British author Rudyard Kipling wrote one of his greatest short stories: “The Man Who Would Be King,” about two British mercenaries who adventured into the unknown. As they push forth into then unexplored territory in Afghanistan for wealth and power, they find both but with disastrous results. The story is widely believed to be partially inspired by a daring American adventurer, Josiah Harlan, who was the first American in Afghanistan and Punjab with plans to build a kingdom of his own. He at least, lived to tell the tale long after his adventures, which is more than I can say for his fictional counterparts.

 

Josiah was born in Newlin Township, Pennsylvania in 1799 in a Quaker merchant family. He had nine siblings, one, Richard, would became a distinguished naturalist.  Josiah was described as being tall, muscular, handsome, intelligent, ambitious, bash and a little arrogant. When his mother died when he was thirteen, he devoted himself to reading. He could read Greek and Latin and could speak French. He also studied medicine, botany and ancient Greek and Roman history. He was especially interested in Alexander the Great.

 

In 1820, Josiah started his adventures working on a supercargo to India and then China and back. During his second voyage he decided to stay in India when he learned his fiancee broke off their marriage. He joined the British East India Company and served as a surgeon, although he had no formal training, in the First Anglo-Burmese War. He also served in an artillery battalion. Josiah became to greatly admire the Sepoy (Indian Natives) soldiers in the British Force. He also was at the Battle of Prome, where force of 5,000 British and Indians defeated 13,000 in fierce hand-to-hand combat.  He was posted in Karnal near Delhi after hostilities and became fluent in local languages but resigned shortly and made tracks to Afghanistan. At that time Afghanistan was seen as a land of mystery and adventure, with medieval, tribal chieftains battling each other for supremacy; literally brother against brother, son against father. A real land of opportunity for certain people, like daring Josiah Harlan.

 

Harlan soon came under the employment of Shah Shujah Durrani, the exiled ruler of the Durrani Empire, now mainly the countries of  Afghanistan and Pakistan, who was living in Ludhiana Punjab at the time. Josiah had heard that the former king was still incredibly wealthy and looking for help returning to power. The American was disturbed by the amount of slaves and courtiers missing parts of their body due to displeasing their master. Shujah once even had his head slave castated for not securing a tent on a windy day. Still Harlan did succeed in getting hired by the exiled king and in 1827 raised a small force of Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh mercenaries. He even had an American flag locally made for the adventure. With Shujah’s support, Josiah crossed the Indus River and entered Afghanistan to help bring the former shan (king) back to power. Unfortunately his mercenary army was more interested in loot and plunder and soon mutinied but he escaped by disguising himself as a dervish (holy man/mystic). Despite not knowing much Arabic, his little trick worked and he made it to the capital city of Afghanistan, Kabul. There he met the man who he was hired to overthrow, Dost Mohammad Khan, founder of the Barakzai dynasty.

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Shah Shujah Durrani on the left; Dost Mohammad Khan on the right. Two rivals who employed the same man. images from royalark.net and commons.wikipedia.

Harlan was however discovered he greatly admired his foe. Dost Mohammad welcomed him warmly and was treated like an honored guest. Josiah found his host to be a fair and just ruler, a polite gentleman, and a brave warrior. as well as  very intelligent and modest; taking the title Emir (prince) instead of Shah. The American at first believed the then common idea that western civilization was supperor but his visit to this great monarch soon changed his mind. When Dost Mohammad asked Josiah how the American government worked he told him about the separation of power between the President, Congress and the Supreme Court the Emir responded that it was similar to the Afghans’ with him, the tribal chiefs and the clergy who also served as judges. However, despite his many noble virtues Dost Mohammad did indulged in a number of vices that Quaker raised Harlan did find repulsive. The Emir was a real “playa” as we would  say in today’s terms as he had 16 to 25 wives, depending on the source, at the time of his death and fathered more than twice as children. He would bring prostitutes to court and a heavy drinker despite being Muslim. His court was described as “wild, voluptuous, licentious scene of shameless bacchanals.” Harlan eventually decided that Dost Mohammad’s position as ruler was too strong for Shah Shujah to overthrow without western influence and made tracks for Punjab.

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Maharaja Ramjit Singh and the empire he founded. It fell in 1849, only ten years after his death. map from en. wikipedia.net portrait from sikhanswers.com

Josiah soon came to the capital of Punjab, Lahore. Here he became one of a number of American and European mercenary generals for the Maharaja and founder of Sikh Empire, Ranjit Singh. However the Maharaja  was wary of Great Britain and  may have, understandably, been suspicious of the American due to him being a former member of the East Indian Trading Company and spoke English as a first language. For all he knew Josiah could have been a spy seeking a way to undermine his empire that he worked hard to create, like the other kingdoms on the subcontinent that became the “Jewel of the British Empire.” However Ranjet was also a hypochondriac and Harlan’s claims as a “professional” doctor may have helped win him over. He did make the wandering adventurer governor of newly conquered regions of Nurpur and Jasrota in 1829 and later of the Gujrat District in 1832, with a hansom pay to go with it. Records of Josiah’s administration there is sketchy but he seemed to have at least done well as he was threatened to have his nose cut of if he failed and apparently kept his sniffer attached. His new master was apparently a combination of both his previous employers. However he had a fall out with the Maharaja and returned to Afghanistan to build an army for his old enemy turned friend Dost Mohammad in 1836.

Map of Afghanistan with Ghor highlighted

Ghor providence (modern times)

map from en.wikipedia.org

In 1838 Harlan led an expedition, with a small army of 4,000, to punish the Uzbek slave traders, and expand Dost  Mohammad control. As well as that he took a war elephant to imitate his hero Alexander the Great, and like the Greek conquer he sent the elephant back as it was unsuited for snowy mountains. When he made it up the Hindu Kush mountains he held a flag raising ceremony with the American flag and a twenty six gun salute. He eventually made it pass the Indian Caucasus and into Afghanistan. With his army reinforced by Hazara locals, who lived in fear of the slavers, he made a short work with the siege of the Citadel of Saigham. He was then invited to stay ten days with a local Hazara ruler, Mohammad Reffee Beg Hazara of Ghor province. Josiah was impressed with the Hazara’s culture, especially the people’s gender equality and absence of slavery. Eventually Josiah and Reffee agreed to give the American and his descendants the position of “the Prince of Ghor” and Reffee Beg Hazara would be his vizier. In return, Josiah would raise and train an army to help make the Ghor stronger and more self-sufficient. But first Josiah had to take care of the slaver’s leader Mohammad Murad Beg. The warlord tried to threatened Harlan with his only cannon but eventually agreed to submit under Dost Mohammad.

 

Unfortunately when Josiah Harlan returned to Kabul, the First Anglo-Afghan War started and the British Army occupied the city. Josiah was not an admirer of the British, despite serving under earlier, and traveled to Russia. He eventually made it home to the US where he was greeted as a hero. However his popularity soon declined when he published his autobiography, A Memoir of India and Afghanistan, where he criticized Great Britain’s imperial system. He also stated that the Russian Empire could be a great help to destroying it. He got married to a fellow Quaker, Elizabeth Baker and started a family. He also caused a minor scandal in the denomination’s community due to his adventures and the Society of Friends’ pacifist ideals.

Twice he tried to convince the American Government to invest in Afghanistan, maybe an attempt to return to his kingdom. First in camels for the military (a project that the US government would eventually try, without the American Prince’s involvement) and then in Afghan grapes. His plans came to an end when the Civil War broke out. Still it gave him one last hurrah. Always a hater of slavery, Josiah raised a volunteer cavalry regiment but was not used to dealing with the western style of command. The 11th Pennsylvania Cavalry (Harlan’s Light Raiders) ran into problems as it commanding officer was to use to running things as an Indian Prince. Colonel Harlan was soon court marshaled. He won but left anyway due to poor health. The former Prince of Ghor would  only know of the war’s action through his nephew still serving. His regiment would fight in a number of battles, even have a winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor, without him to lead to glory. Josiah moved to San Francisco where he worked as an unlicensed doctor until his death in October 1871 of tuberculosis.

Josiah Harlan, first American in Afghanistan, still remains an almost unknown character in both his home country and the land he grew to love. He has, however, started to gain more notoriety. He appears in George MacDonald Fraser’s “Flashman and the Mountain of Light.” The Flashman series is known for having the main character meet a number of historical figures in his misadventures. Scott Reiniger, the star of 1978’s Dawn of the Dead is a direct descendant and even has started using the title, “Prince of Ghor,” though this has not given him any more major roles in his career. I strongly suggest reading Ben Macintyre’s biography of the same title of the story. It is also published as Josiah the Great in Macintyre’s native Briton. Non the less Josiah Harlan does not have a big name movie about his thrilling life. Kipling’s “The Man Who Would Be King” became an award nominated hit film in 1975, starring Sean Connery, Michael Caine, Saeed Jaffrey, and Christopher Plummer. Hollywood, get to work on it!

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Sean Connery and Michael Caine both see this movie as one of their favorites.

image from gacinema.wordpress.com

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Feathered Friends: A SIDE by SIDE Community Workshop at SEEDs for Autism

At SEEDs for Autism, our ongoing series of workshops provide new opportunities to empower our participants and encourage them to GROW. These talented young adults gain confidence interacting with the community as they assist our staff during these educational and inspirational events. We hope you will join us this Saturday to explore your creativity, make new friends and be part of this life-changing experience!

Click HERE to purchase tickets and reserve your spot today!

 

 

Jeff’s Gallery: Lieutenant Colonel “Mad” Jack Churchill

Image result for mad jack churchill image from en.wikipedia.org

Jolly old England has always been a place of some tough fighting men. This one who stuck out was John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, or just “Fighting Jack or Mad Jack,” who served honorably in WWII using a longbow and a broadsword like in the Middle Ages and survived.

Mad Jack was born in Hong Kong in 1906, but his family moved constantly from there to Surrey, England until settling down for good in 1917. His father and grandfather both served in the Ceylon Civil Service. (Ceylon is now known as Sri Lanka, just by the tip of India) Jack went to King William’s College in the Isle of Man and then to Royal Military College in Sandhurst. He graduated in 1926 and entered the army that year and served in the Burma Rebellion of 1930-32. He became a lover of motorcycles around this time and is said to ride his 1,500 miles in India, from Rangoon to Poona then to Calcutta to catch a boat back to Rangoon, on paved and unpaved roads. He also developed his strange eccentricities and disregard for certain modern military behavior at that time, like intently studying the wrong campaigns for a promotion exam or using non regulation equipment, probably due to boredom in a peacetime army. He even got in trouble for bringing an umbrella on parade. His reasoning, “because it was raining.” He was also a skilled archer and bagpiper, despite not being Scottish. He won second place in a piping competition in the annual Aldershot Military Tattoo (performance) in 1938 and represented Great Britain in 1939 World Archery Championships.

In 1936 he left the military and moved to Nairobi, Kenya and made a living as a male model and newspaper editor.

 

In 1940, World War II reared it’s ugly head and Jack was called back to action as a member of the British Expeditionary Force to France. During this time he fought with his now trademark  basket hilt Scottish broadsword and longbow. He signaled an ambush one time by shooting a German sergeant with a barbed arrow, the first British soldier to do so in 500 years. Sometimes he even played the bagpipes in combat. Some favorite songs were “March of the Cameron Men”and “ Will ye no come back again?”  Later he joined the British Commandos, and fought bravely in a number of campaigns across Europe. Once he and a corporal captured 42 enemy soldiers single handed.

 

For all his defiance of danger, it eventually caught up with him, however. In 1944 a grenade knocked him unconscious and Fighting Jack was captured by the Germans. Due to his name he was mistaken for Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s brother and taken to Berlin for interrogation and sent to infamous Sachsenhausen concentration camp! With the help of a few survivors of the famous  breakout from Stalag Luft III, Jack made a “Great Escape” of his own and attempted to make it to the Baltic Coast. They made it to the city of Rostock but were recaptured and were among those in transport to Tyrol. This notorious event during the near end of the War in Europe was an attempt to execute high profit prisoners by the SS! Luckily, soldiers from the Wehrmacht (regular German armed forces) protected the prisoners. While most of the prisoners waited for Allied forces near the Pragser Wildsee lake, Mad Jack walked 93 miles to an American encampment in Verona, Italy.

 

Later he returned to his old stomping ground and served back in Burma. However the war was soon over when the United States dropped the atomic bombs in Japan. Jack, apparently enjoying the war complained, “If it weren’t for those damned Yanks, we could have kept the war going for another ten years.” Still there was more adventure for him in the British Mandate of Palestine and he served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. He helped cover fire in the Hadassah Medical Convoy Massacre against the Arabs and later escorted 700 doctors, students, and patients on the Hebrew University to safety.

Fighting Jack became an instructor of land-air warfare in Australia later in life and became a devotee of surfing. He also used his skills in archery and bag-piping as an extra in several movies before and after the war. He retired from service in 1959 and returned to England and took up a desk job. He remained a notable eccentric, throwing his briefcase off the train on his way home to work and startling others. The British soldier whose motto was: “Any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed,” died in 1996 in the land of his childhood, Surry. For his service he won two Distinguished Service Orders and two Military Crosses (for those not familiar with the British Honers System that what the bar on the medals is for).

Image result for dso with barImage result for military cross with bar

images from discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au and emedals.com

And to answer one last question, no, Mad Jack was not Winston Churchill’s brother or relative, at least not directly, though the Prime Minister did have a brother Jack who was a decorated officer in his own right.

Image result for scottish broadsword jack churchill image from hobbybunker.com

Jeff’s Gallery: Rube Goldberg

 

 

rube picture from thereformedbroker.com

 

Ok folks here’s how it goes: When you lift spoon (A) you pull string (B) makes ladle(C) fling cracker (D) over parrot (E). Parrot flies off perch (F) dropping seeds (G) into bucket  (H) weight pulls another string (I) opening lighter (J) lighting firework (K) using sickle (L) to cut yet another string (M) freeing clock pendulum with napkin on end napkin to wipe your mouth. You can also put a harmonica on the end latter and play music for the guest. This patent automatic self-wiping napkin was “invented” in 1931 by Rube Goldberg, one of America’s most talented and successful cartoonist.

 

Born in San Francisco on the Fourth of July in 1883 to Max and Hannah Goldberg, Reuben Garrett Lucius Goldberg, the second of four children, loved drawing and the newspapers business. He was a paper delivery boy in his boyhood and would copy pictures from book illustrations. He took his first drawing class at age 11. However his father was a police and fire commissioner who had high hopes for his kids and didn’t want Rube to be a starving artist for a living and sent him to the University of California, Berkeley. Rube graduated in 1904 with a degree in engineering and got a job at the San Francisco Water and Sewage Department. The pay was good for that time but Rube left after six months. He then got a job as a sports cartoonist and started to become a local celebrity. Soon he moved to New York in 1907 where he continued his career at the McClure Newspaper Syndicate in the “New York Evening Mail.”

 

Although it took a while to for him to make it big, Rube soon created over sixty different comic series, some only lasted a few years while others lasted for at least twenty. His first big hit was “Foolish Questions” in 1909 (Q:Doctor, are you listening for his heart? A:No, he swallowed a gramophone and I’m trying to find it) where fans could even send in their own questions and answers. Rube even created a card game based of strip. Other great works included good-natured  simpleton“Boob McNutt,” word wizardry and zingers with “Mike and Ike, They Look Alike” and “I’m the Guy” and daffy dame “Lala Palooza” with her lazy brother Vince Doolittle. Rube also drew political cartoons; winning a Pulitzer for his “Peace Today” strip in 1948 seen below, company advertisements; even a newspaper comic strip just for advertising Pepsi sodas, “Pepsi and Pete: the Pepsi-Cola Cops,” and for a short time created a silent cartoon series for Pathé, an early animation studio from France. The cartoons sold well but Rube Goldberg left the animation business soon because he drew everything by himself and that and his newspaper comic career was taking too much of his time. Rube also wrote and created props for “Soup to Nuts” the first appearance of the Three Stooges and wrote a number of articles and short stories for magazines.

 

Image result for rube goldberg peace today image from pinterest.com

 

Goldberg’s main claim to fame, however, were his “Inventions,” long whimsical contraptions using all kinds of junk put together for “labor saving” methods for simple problems.  Rube used a character by the name of   Professor Lucifer Gorgonzola Butts, inspired by some of his eccentric professors back at the University of California as the “brilliant” inventer. Rube created things for hiding gravy stains on vests and cutting bread for sandwiches to ways for failed stock market investors to commit suicide and a self opening umbrella. Although not always meant to be political, Rube did make fun of bureaucrats, political debates and the government so much that around WWII he told his sons, Thomas and George to change their last name for protection. George W. Goldberg changed it to George W. George and became a famous theater and movie producer. Rube was also a founding member and first president of the National Cartoonist Society and designed it’s highest award, the Reuben.

 

Image result for the reuben award image from tomrichmond.com

 

In 1964, Rube Goldberg made a shocking move in his career, he left drawing comics. Following in the footsteps of his hero the French painter and print maker, Honoré Daumier,  Rube decided to start a career as a sculptor. Liking the idea of giving his drawing a 3-D  feel, he took just one class on sculptures and in a year he had his first show that was a sellout. Although Goldberg stopped drawing comics, he never left the world of them. He helped found the National Cartoonists Society and was its honorary president. In 1967 he used his new skills with his old and designed the Reuben, the Society’s highest award and was its first recipient. In 1970 the old artist-inventor attended a special exhibition at the National Museum of History and Technology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. called “Do it the Hard Way,” showing his life of work and laughs. Later that year on December 7 he died.

 

Rube’s, um, “simple” machines and inventions remain a part of today’s culture in comedy and technology. In 1995 his self opening napkin, the one I showed you  above, was in the Post Office’s “American Newspaper Comics” series of stamps. His own name, Rube Goldberg is now in “Webster’s New Word Dictionary” as a complicated device with numerous task to complete simple objectives. Rube Goldberg’s have appeared in cartoon and films from “Loony Toons” and “Tom and Jerry” to “Home Alone” and even the “Saw” franchise. There have been Rube Goldberg contest at schools across the country. You most likely have worked on one yourself now that I mention it. Did you ever play the game “Mousetrap?” Yep, that a Rube Goldberg. There is even a Rube Goldberg app game created by Unity Technologies with the Heirs of Rube Goldberg where you can build inventions from the comics. You can also check out the official website for more comics and info here at https://www.rubegoldberg.com/. It may be worth mentioning a similar cartoonist in Great Britain, W. Heath Robinson, quite a contributor to crazy contraption in his own right.

 

The Art of Rube Goldberg: (A) Inventive (B) Cartoon (C) Genius, picture from comics bulletin.com

Jeff’s Odd Destinations: Valley of the Moon

Valley of the Moon

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image from yelp.org

First order of business, I have an important announcement to make. After much thought I have decided that “Jeff’s Eccentric People, Places and Things,” has to awkward a title. While I am pleased with how my work is coming out I decided to go with a different name. While “Eccentric Person of the Month,”  and “Unusual Place of the Month,” my old titles from the Seeds’ Newsletter have been suggested  I decided on “Jeff’s Odd Destinations” and “Jeff’s Gallery”

Now for a very special trip today, I take you on a very mysterious journey to a land of wonder and imagination. To Tucson Arizona’s mystic and mysterious Valley of the Moon. For over eighty years this strange land has enchanted children of all ages. Its story begins with the coming of the Mountain Gnome, George Phar Legler. Born in Evansville, Indiana somewhere between 1884 and 1887, George was a former post office clerk who was forced into an early retirement due to an automobile accident. He was also a spiritualist and believer in fairies. He moved to Arizona around 1917 and bought the 2.25 acres that soon became his life’s work. Nearby lived a clergyman whose teenage daughter was dying of tuberculosis. George created a little mountain scene with a waterfall and a bathtub lake just outside her window. She could leave her room and explore the serene landscape with her imagination. When she died George comforted her mother by telling her she had moved to the spirit world where she would live forever now. He found his life calling and expanded on the small landscape and started building the Valley in 1923.

 

Image result for george phar legler

image from tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com

 

With the help of friends, family and locals George Legler constructed his “secret” fairyland and wild animal sanctuary, opening up officially in 1926 and full of homemade rock decorations, buildings and sculptures of wonder opening to the public . George lived on the property giving tours, telling stories and performing magic tricks as the Mountain Gnome. During the Valley’s original run it did not allow boys in-between the ages of 12 to 21 as visitors in because George thought that they would upset the fairies for not believing or being imaginative for the “magic” to work. The Valley was open until 1963. George would live by himself in his now abandoned fairyland until 1971, when he got an unexpected surprise visit from a group of High Schoolers. While the park never officially closed, visitors were coming less and less. The Valley was falling into disrepair due to vandals and George’s health was failing due to his age.

 

The boys apparently thought they all shared the same dream of a friendly gnome. Apparently they decided it was no dream and went on a quest to find an almost forgotten part of their childhood, climbed over the fence and rediscovered the Valley. While George at first thought they were vandals, the Mountain Gnome gave them an over two hour tour and told them that they were welcome back any time. The boys later formed the Valley of the Moon Restoration Association (VOMRA) now called the George Phar Legler Society (GPLS). The Valley of the Moon was listed on the Arizona Historic Places Register in 1975 and George was awarded the Tucson Outstanding Citizen Award a year before he died in 1982 around age 95. It is also an official National register of Historic Places under Pima County in 2011 and a Historic Landmark for the city as of 2016. The Valley is now owned mainly by the GPLS and partly by the Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

image from http://tucsonsbirthday.blogspot.com

Now, I have never been to the Valley of the Moon (yet) so I can only judge from what I have read and studied but the park contains a large number of statues and buildings made from scraps of old toys, and junk George found and put together. This includes the Wizard’s Tower, a bridge, a cave, a homemade pond and an artificial flower garden. In 2008 a number of sculptures were added from closed down mini golf course named Magic Carpet Golf now a car dealership. A house that a friend of George Legler helped build in the Valley became a storage room for props and costumes stood on the site but burned down not too long ago. Today the park is kept by members of the GPLS and volunteers. I don’t know if it is still an animal sanctum however.

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image from flicker.com

 

The Valley of the Moon is open on the first Saturday of every month for free and paid for visits are on special occasions and holidays. As well, exploring the Fairyland of the Desert shows are performed by members of the GPLS, many with the audience participating. You can find more information about the Valley of the Moon, George Legler, and helping to keep the wonder and magic alive at the website www.tucsonvalleyofthemoon.com. The Valley is at 2544 E. Allen Rd. Tucson AZ and can be contacted at 520-323-1331 and valleymoon1@yahoo.com.

The life of Thomas Alva Edison

Who he was-Thomas Edison was an inventor. He was born on Feb. 11, 1847. To middle class parents in the town of Milan, Ohio. He had adhd which meant he had a hyper active behavior which made his teachers upset and impatient. Thomas Edison never stopped asking questions and had a self centered view on life. He was deemed “odd” by his peers. He started his job as a newspaper salesman. He peddled out by the railroad track.

 

Three things Thomas Edison was famous for-

1.The first electric vote recording machine

  1. He helped Benjamin Bredding make the first two way telephone.
  2. He invented the first practical dictaphone

What are your thoughts about this person?

Edison was very smart and used his skills to create better items for the world. He had difficult beginnings and people didn’t always understand him but he persevered and never give up. I believe Thomas Edison is the most influential person that ever lived.

 

WWW.ThomasEdison.com

Jeff’s Eccentric People, Places and Things: J. P. Patches

image from lunchwithcasey.com

 

Will someone please explain to me whatever happened with the image of clowns? When did they go from beloved bringers of merriment to soul-eating demons, pedofile serial killers, and even a depressed living metaphor for the meaninglessness of life. From the Joker to Pennywise (who is floating back to Derry, Maine on the big screen this September) to real life evil clown John Wayne Gacy, and the “Evil Clown Sighting,” fad last year doesn’t help.  In fact, I think the only mainstream clown people do not fear is now just Ronald McDonald, well maybe except for health inspectors and PETA.

 

First of all I want to apologise to any readers who have coulrophobia, but I feel that this may help you get over your fear. Besides look at that glowing, grandfatherly figure with a red nose. Do you really feel terrified by good old Chris Wedes? Known by children of three generations in Washington State as Julius Pierpont (J. P. to his friends) Patches, Mayor of the Seattle City Dump.

 

A local gem of great value, J. P. was the star of one of the longest local American children’s television. The character first appeared in 1953 in the Minnesota station WTCN Channel 11 played by Daryl Laub. He created the clown and played him for two years, however he left for a rival studio and Chris Wedes took over the role. Chris, already a professional local actor, was unsure at first; as he already was playing several characters on various shows and didn’t want to be overworked. He soon took to the clown like a frog takes to water and even took him to Seattle in 1958. The clown would perform on his own Emmy-winning tv show for over twenty years on KIRO-TV with over 10,000 on screen hours viewed. The show would be improv without a script, with most of the characters being played by the same person. There was Ketchikan the Animal Man, Miss Smith the delivery woman biker, J. P.’s arch enemy Boris S. Wort (Second meanest man in the world!) the Swami of Pastrami and especially not forgetting the Mayor of the City Dump’s pain-in-the-kester love interest Gertrude. All played by the versible and equally talented Bob Newman. One special gimmick the the show had was an amazing magical machine called the I.C.U.2.T.V. This miraculous device, which was most certainly not cardboard with a tv camera in it, J. P. could look into the homes of young Patches Pals (name for fans) on their birthday and tell where to look for presents, that had nothing to do with parents sending in letters ahead to the studio. The I.C.U.2.T.V. also worked as a teleporter to send J.P. and others to North Pole to help Santa with his naughty and nice list for Christmas

image from jppatches.com

 

The J.P. Patches Show aired twice a day, six days a week, for the first thirteen years. The next eight years it only ran in the morning and just Saturday morning for the last two. While the cast was small there were quite a number of famous guest stars including cartoonist Al Capp, the Harlem Globetrotters, Colonel Sanders and many more. The show entertained both children and adults and had over 10 thousand hours of on-air time. It had at least 100,000 viewers especially in the Puget Sound area and southwest British Columbia. The Mayor of the City Dump also visited the Seattle Children’s Hospital in the Laurelhurst neighborhood for the sick kids free of charge. The show was canceled in 1981 but this was far from the end of J. P. Patches

Image result for spud goodman j p patches

image from spudgoodman.com

 

You can’t keep a good clown down apparently. Chris Wedes and Bill Newman would continue to perform their roles in television specials as well as numerous public and private events across the state. Sadly even this circus has to close its doors eventually. On September 17 2011 J. P. put on the makeup and tattered, old, button covered, hat and coat for the last time at Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal. Fans all hoped for him a long and happy retirement but that did not come to be. Chris Wedes died ten months later on July 22, 2012 from a long battle with Multiple Myeloma, a type of cancer for white blood cells. He was 84 and survived by his wife, daughter and granddaughter. All of Puget Sound was moister than usual from the tears of Patches Pales of all ages.

 

Like many other long running local children’s show host in other states, J. P. Patches remains a minor cultural icon and almost a folk hero to the people of the Rain City. There are clips and episodes are on VHS, DVD, and the Internet. Archie McPhee, Seattle novelty company that created the “Horse Head Mask” for the internet menu, has among other weird goodies, J. P. Patches lunchboxes, socks, Christmas Tree and scented car ornaments. Along with Oregon’s clown Rusty Nails, J. P. is said to have inspired the Simpsons’ Krusty the Clown and had a shout out in the episode “Radio Bart” on Krusty’s “Birthday Buddies” list. The biggest monument, aside from the memories in fan’s hearts, is the statue, Late for the Interurban, in Fremont, Seattle, dedicated on the show’s fiftieth anniversary

 

image from wikipedia.org

 

You know what, I won’t do this for every article from now on, but here’s another YouTube video. I’m just in the mood.