Frpl Fodder: The Bozos Beyond The Mountains

Such a pleasure each year around this time, to turn on KCTS and see the J.P. Patches retrospective…why all that’s missing are the MAOAM ads.

Most of you probably have no idea what I’m talking about.

But as I was telling a young friend just recently, back in the mad old bad old days, we used to have rather a lot of local childrens’ programming on public access TV. Of course Vancouver was too small a town at that time for such stuff — but Seattle wasn’t, and Seattle had J.P. Patches.

J.P. PATCHES!!!

I could not possibly explain it to you…unless in your town, you had one of your own, of these idiosyncratic, homegrown, underfunded kiddie-shows. A cramped studio and barely-sane staff of technicians and performers, very plainly just making stuff up out of nothing, and laughing their asses off while they were doing it. Mr. Rogers this was not, nor was it anything that in anybody’s wildest dreams could become a national sensation — J.P. Patches was a show about a clown who lived in a junkyard, that incorporated long and boring weather reports.

No…no, see, I knew I couldn’t explain it.

Anarchy, is what it really was. Total anarchy and madness.

So if you’re old enough to have had a J.P. Patches of your own, whatever it was…well, what was it?

And…what would be a good way of describing it, to someone who’d never seen it?

Advertisements

6 responses to “Frpl Fodder: The Bozos Beyond The Mountains

  1. I could not possibly explain it to you…unless in your town, you had one of your own, of these idiosyncratic, homegrown, underfunded kiddie-shows.

    Wallace & Ladmo. Man, I still want a Ladmo Bag…

  2. “The Buckaroo Club,” in Rochester, New York. Hosted by “Ranger Bob.” Typical low-budget, small-city kiddie show fare. Ranger Bob showed cartoons and did, well, I don’t remember, really.

    “The Buckaroo Club” was preceded by “TV POWWW,” a curious artifact. TV POWWW was modeled directly after TV PIXXX, a show on New York City’s WPIX, that took advantage of the early videogame craze. Check this out for a hook:

    Kids would call the station on the phone. The whatever-number caller would “play the game of the day.” The game of the day was an Atari VCS game. TV POWWW was on in the late seventies, when Atari machines were rare and prized.

    The TV POWWW games varied, I think. The one that stuck in my head was bowling. Old-school Atari bowling was brute simple — a square “ball” moved from side to side in the bottom of the “alley.” When you pushed the joystick button, the ball would go down the alley and knock over pins. Pure timing.

    What the show would do was broadcast the Atari game, and when the kid on the phone said “POW!”, an unseen studio tech would push the button and send the ball down the lane. If the kid got a spare or a strike, he’d win some minor prize. (The NYC version was identical, except the kid yelled “PIX!”)

    Yep. Old-school Atari games played over the telephone on public airwaves, hosted by a faux cowboy. It was the homo ergaster to today’s internet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s