J.P. was a tramp/clown played by Chris Wedes who presided as "Mayor of the City Dump," a world that was vaguely Sesame Street-like, in its own low-rent way. The show took place almost exclusively at the same, single-set location (appropriately made to look like the grimy corner of a city dump). J.P. held court there, showing us cartoons and interacting with the wacky gaggle of heroes ("The Swami of Pastrami"), villains ("Boris S. Wart!"), lovers (J.P.'s "girlfriend" Gertrude the Clown), and friends ("Ketchikan the Animal Man") who rounded out this alternate universe of magic and filth.
Except for J.P., virtually all of the characters on the show - whether they be male, female, human or otherwise - were played by Bob Newman wrapped in sundry cheesy, cheap costumes and bad vocal gymnastics. So of course, J.P. could only interact with one at a time since Mr. Newman didn't have a twin or clone and was thus bound by the laws of physics (and trapped in a time and with a budget that did not allow for even the most primitive of special effects).
When I was a kid, J.P. was on for an hour and a half on weekday mornings before school and again for an hour in the afternoon. And he popped up for still more on Saturdays. Jeez, that's a lot of show! His morning time slot led up to the national Captain Kangaroo program, but I never got into the Captain all that much. Too polished for my taste, I'm guessing. J.P. was raw, the production values non-existent, with "acting" that would make Keanu Reeves proud. I mentioned that it was a lot of show? Well, it took a City Dump's worth of bullshit to fill up all that air time and the dynamic duo of Wedes and Newman could shovel it steaming and thick while still making you want for more.
Despite - or perhaps because of - all the cheese and really, really, really bad costumes, the world J.P. Patches and crew created seemed very real to me as a young boy. And actual honest-to-goodness people stopped by "The City Dump" nearly every episode to reinforce the suspension of disbelief: local scout troops, CBS Seattle affiliate news and weather personalities, local politicians, national celebrities that happened to be in town, etc. All were welcomed to the Dump by His Honor, that ultimate clown prince of bums. (With apologies to Chaplin, his Little Tramp wouldn't even rate a meal from J.P.'s trashcan, fuckin' silent English twit.)
For those interested in more, and aren't satisfied by Wikipedia's entry, visit the J.P. Patches home page.
For those who are baffled by this post, well - ya hadda be there, I guess.