Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Jerry "Mr. Peppermint" Haynes

Long before Mr Rogers made the scene, Mr. Peppermint entertained (and educated) the small fry of North Texas.

I note with sadness that Jerry Haynes, who created and played that character, passed away yesterday at age 84 of complications from Parkinson's disease. He started the role in 1961 on WFAA (the ABC affiliate for the area), wearing a red and white striped jacket and straw hat, and carrying a candy-striped cane. I was in first grade at the time.

As was the fashion at the time, he had a collection of stock characters, mostly puppets; the one I remember best was Mr. Wiggly Worm - performed by Haynes by sticking his finger up through the hole in the bottom of the box in which Mr. Wiggly Worm lived. Simple but amusing to us, his audience.

Wikipedia notes that through a quirk of fate and timing, Jerry Haynes was the first person to report the assassination of John F Kennedy on local news.

Haynes was born and raised in Dallas, graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School and trained as an actor in New York. In addition to playing Mr. Peppermint, he appeared in numerous films and television shows over the years, most produced in North Texas. He played minor roles in RoboCop (1987) and Boys Don't Cry (1999).

I bet you didn't know Jerry Haynes was also the father of Gibby Haynes, lead singer for the band The Butthole Surfers.

Rest in peace, Mr. Peppermint.

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