Danks, Mis’r Pep’Mint…

If you grew up in the area in the late ’60s – mid ’70s, you were likely glued to the television set in the morning while your parents haplessly tried to get you to eat your oatmeal and get dressed for school. You were watching one of three shows: “Romper Room” on KERA 13, “Slam Bang Theatre” on KTVT 11, or “Mr. Peppermint’s Place” on WFAA 8.

Jerry Haynes put on the red-and-white-striped suit to entertain children through the magic box for 35 years. Along with Muffin the Bear and Mr. Wiggly Worm, Mr. Peppermint was a touchstone for kids nationwide (the show was syndicated to over 100 markets through the mid-90s).

“Mr. Peppermint’s Place” aired its last show in 1996, but Haynes still holds a special place in the hearts of everyone who watched him (and will gear up in the candy-cane outfit every now and then for appearances and whatnot).

Haynes celebrates his 79th birthday this month, and there’s a cool event at the Granada Theatre on Tuesday, January 31 to commemorate the occasion. It’s a concert benefitting the American Diabetes Association, but that’s not why you should go. It has a great line-up of bands — Brave Combo, The Boys Named Sue, DJ Mr. Rid, Merry & the Moodswings, and Reverend Bob — but that’s not why you should go, either. They’ve even got a “Mr. Peppermint’s Place” blooper reel that they’ll screen, but there’s still a better reason.

You should go to tell Haynes that you still remember waking up, wiping the sleep out of your eyes, and having him usher you into the day. You should tell him that you wish kids today had someone like him to get their day started, instead of Spongebob Squarepants and their ilk.

I guarantee you he’ll appreciate it.

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