Jerry Haynes, the boater-topped, candy-cane-brandishing kids TV host affectionately known across Texas as "Mr. Peppermint," has died of complications from Parkinson's disease. He was 84 years old.
Haynes made his name as the host of Peppermint Place (originally Mr. Peppermint), a show that was broadcast for 35 years on WFAA Dallas and racked up more than 6,000 episodes. It was the longest-running locally produced show in the station's history, according to WFAA's Web site. It was also widely syndicated (including right here in Houston).
Haynes also has a special place in history: After bearing witness to the Kennedy assassination in 1963, he sprinted to the WFAA station to be among the first people to describe the scene to Dallas viewers.
For Art Attack, who grew up watching Peppermint Place in the '80s, Haynes was a warm, lovable grandpa-type character who taught us how to hang spoons from our noses. We even kept watching the show until we were honestly way too old to be watching a kids' show because Haynes did two things other kids' TV hosts are either unable or have no desire to do: He cracked good jokes and he didn't talk down to his audience.
Haynes was also the father of Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes; we'd love to have dinner at that house.
Be sure to read Robert Wilonsky's piece over at our sister paper, The Dallas Observer.