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Chris started off in Seattle doing two daily children's shows for KIRO. J.P. Patches in the morning and Mystic Mountain in the afternoon, where he played a crazy german scientist named Professor Friedel Furter.
In addition to the two daily shows, Chris was also doing a Sunday morning show called Andy and Sport with Craig Shreve as Andy. Chris was Sport, who was basically his Joe the Cook character. The show took place in Andy's Diner.
Chris really put his creative efforts into Mystic Mountain which he not only enjoyed doing more than J.P. but thought was going to be the big hit. On Mystic, Chris played the German accented, slightly Einstein looking Professor Friedel Furter (or as the kids called him, Professor Hot Dog, since they couldn't pronounce Friedel Furter).
The Professor's frequent guest was the jive talking BeBop Buzzard (voiced by Cy Flory, a director at the station). Together, the Professor and Be-Bop spent the majority of the time saving the earth from the evil Martian, Boris Blastoff (voiced by Dick Hawkins).
Boris would show up in a little flying saucer, which slid down a piano wire to give it a spacey sound. The saucer would land on a table with a hole in it where a guy under the table would reach up through the saucer with a sock-puppet on his hand. Like any kid's show at the time, Mystic Mountain had a few cartoons sprinkled throughout the show, but the only laughs they generated were because of how terrible they were. Some of them were even silent cartoons, where they would just play music in the background so they wouldn't be so uncomfortably quiet.
Mystic Mountain was the show that Chris had such high hopes for, but sadly Professor Friedelfurter and company didn't last.
After six months, KIRO's owner, Saul Haas, decided that J.P. Patches should air in both the morning and the afternoon, so Mystic Mountain was tossed by the wayside.
Chris was terribly disappointed. He loved doing Professor Friedelfurter. He also knew that the professor was popular with the kids. All the kid show hosts (Stan Boreson, Captain Puget, Brakeman Bill, Wunda Wunda) were at a fund-raiser at the Seattle Armory and Chris was backstage meeting them for the first time. Suddenly, from the mass of kids out front, a chant began to fill the air: "We want Hot Dog! We want Hot Dog!" Chris was stunned. At that point he'd only been on the air for a couple of months! Those cheers were a sign of things to come.
Lizzen to za Pr-r-r-rofessor:
Back in fourth grade I was hooked on Mystic Mountain. Some kid-shows were just filler around the cartoons. This show was sooooo much better than the cartoons. You might argue that it isn't hard to beat the entertainment value of a silent Farmer Alfalfa TerryToon but Mystic Mountain didn't even need cartoons.
Wow. Just take a look at that "ma-cheen." (That's how the Professor said it ... That's what it was.) I have no idea what it was supposed to do but it had arms! How cool is that??!!
This show inspired me to develop a German accent and put together my own ma-cheens out of cardboard boxes and dysfunctional radios. I never thought the accent was German. I called it a "scientist's accent."
Then one bleak afternoon … No more Professor Friedel Furter, BeBop Buzzard, or Boris Blastoff. J.P. Patches was on instead!vBeing only eight years old I didn't have a very clear idea about how things worked at a television station. It seemed to me that J.P. Patches had muscled my favorite show off the air. J.P. could have been content to have his morning show … But Nooooooo. He had to take over Professor Friedel Furter's time slot too.
I boycotted the Patches show for a couple of weeks but eventually I drifted back because he was funny and the cartoons were my favorite Warner Brothers but...
I always had a little grudge against J.P. for pushing Mystic Mountain off the air.
Years pass… 46 of them to be exact.
My sister gave me J.P. Patches *Northwest Icon* by J.P. and Bryan Johnston for my birthday. (By the way … if you know a Patches Pal of any age, get them this book. I guarantee you they'll love it.)
I was reading it that evening and when I came to the chapter about Mystic Mountain I was shocked, stunned, and amazed to find out that J.P. and the Professor were played by the same guy!
I had it all wrong.
J.P. wasn't a power-mad clown out to rule the kid-program world. Professor Friedel Furter didn't have to go stand in the unemployment line. It was an "Upper-Management" decision. Adults know all about those.
With J.P. Patches firmly planted in his morning and afternoon time slot, he began his long rule over Seattle's childrens television. Little did he know what impact he would have on all of us.
And now, on with...
It's a shame to cover up your smile, but now you can wear the famous smile of J.P. or Gertrude! Sure to bring a spark of joy and nostalgia to all who recognize it! A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Seattle Children's.
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