Monday, September 26, 2011

RIP Jerry Haynes

Jerry Haynes "Mr. Peppermint", dies at 84
Posted on September 26, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Updated today at 12:24 PM
DALLAS — Few broadcasters had a bigger impact on North Texas than Jerry Haynes, who has died at age 84.
He died Monday morning from complications due to Parkinson's Disease.
For an astounding 35 years, his iconic "Mr. Peppermint" character enthralled children and their parents. He led the longest running locally-produced show in WFAA's history, with more than 6,000 episodes.
Haynes was also an accomplished character actor who appeared in more than 50 motion pictures, including "Places in the Heart," "Robo Cop" and "Boys Don't Cry." He starred in a variety of TV movies and shows as well, among them: "Dallas" and "Walker, Texas Ranger."
Haynes began his career as a program announcer, then hosted variety and teen dance shows in the 1950s, including "Dallas Bandstand." He filled in for the legendary Dick Clark on his "American Bandstand" network program.
Haynes was an eyewitness to history. He was present at Dealey Plaza in downtown Dallas on November 22, 1963, the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
He dashed four blocks to the WFAA studio to be among the first to describe the scene to incredulous viewers.
"I ran back as quick as I could," Haynes said in a 2008 interview. "I was 34 years old, so I was a sprinter. [On the way] I heard a lady say 'Oh my Lord, they killed him!.'"
It was more than two years earlier that he began the show that would make him a household name in North Texas.
"It turned into a career because I would have been long gone a long time ago," he said during a Mr. Peppermint tribute on "Good Morning Texas."
Through the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, generations of Texas children grew up watching Mr. Peppermint and his gang of sidekicks, especially Muffin, the beloved puppet creation of sidekick Vern Dailey.
Always wearing his red-and-white suit, straw hat and carrying a candy-striped cane (an idea he borrowed from "The Music Man"), Haynes bridged the times from black-and-white to color to special effects.
But in the mid-90s, as children's shows faded to video games and the Internet, and with Haynes approaching age 70, Mr. Peppermint hung up the familiar hat and cane in a TV special marking his retirement.
"One of my family's favorite places to travel has been 'Peppermint Place,'" said then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush in a tribute broadcast during the retirement special.
Haynes would later be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and he slipped from public eye.
But he'll never be far from the minds of his millions of fans, young and old.
"I want to remind you: Sometimes things don't go too well and you're not feeling a real good mood," Mr. Peppermint reminded his young viewers. "When you feel unhappy, nothing seems worthwhile. Just give yourself a peppermint grin, and you will wear a smile."

HAYNES, Jerry (Jerome Matin Haynes)
Born: 1/31/1927, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Died: 9/26/2011, Longview, Texas, U.S.A.

Jerry Haynes' westerns - actor:
Houston: The Legend of Texas (TV) - 1986 (Uncle Jimmy)
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (TV) - 1997 (Mr. Royce)
Walker, Texas Ranger (TV) - 1994, 2001 (Hank Sweet, Judge Abe Stiegler)
Outfitters - 1999 (Father John)

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