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R.I.P. Blinky the Clown: Remembering Russell Scott in photos and videos

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Videos below.
Clowns, as we all know, are terrifying. But somehow, at least two generations of Colorado kids managed to suspend their fear (for the most part, anyhow) when it came to Russell Scott, aka Blinky the Clown, who spent more than three consecutive decades on Denver TV. He died yesterday at age 91, but he left behind memories, plus photos and videos like those on view below.

Scott wasn't a simple man, as Westword's coverage of him over the years demonstrates. Take this excerpt from "Tears of a Clown," a 2004 piece about a documentary looking at his singular career:

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Photo by Paul Tantrow
Russell Scott in his early eighties.
Who's had the longest continuous run on Denver television? Russell Scott is first by a big, red nose. As Blinky the Clown, Scott hosted Blinky's Fun Club, a proudly anachronistic Channel 2 kiddie program, for 33 years. Although Scott has been absent from the tube since 1998, when former Channel 2 general manager Bill Ross shuttered the Fun Club, he's making a TV comeback tonight thanks to videographer Brian Malone, whom Blinky serenaded with his signature song -- "Happy Birfday to You!" -- when Brian was a tot.

Malone's documentary, simply titled Blinky, starts off as a valentine but turns into a more complex portrait. Narrator Bob Palmer, himself a TV veteran, tells how Scott went from building miniature circuses to starring as Blinky, the self-proclaimed "safety clown," on Channel 2 beginning in 1965. All went well until the early '80s, when the husband-and-wife team of Michael Berg and C.J. Prince, aka Otis and Zelda, became Fun Club regulars. Scott didn't like this attempt to offset Blinky's slapstick with educational substance. "Education was being shoved down our throats!" he grumbles at one point. Berg and Prince, meanwhile, objected to what they saw as Scott's egotism and antiquated, sometimes crass humor. They recall an incident during which he allegedly tried to convince an obese woman to gobble some ice cream even though she was diabetic. Scott disputes this claim, but he doesn't deny missing the spotlight. The documentary concludes poignantly with the eighty-something Scott in full Blinky regalia, glad-handing people on the 16th Street Mall.

Several years later, in 2010, we wrote about a Tennessee-based sculptor who created a wax likeness of Blinky for a possible future museum exhibit. Here's a photo of his amazing work:

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As the sculptor's devotion indicates, oodles of folks recall Blinky fondly -- and while his programs no longer air on broadcast TV, many snippets are preserved on YouTube, including a montage assembled in honor of his ninetieth birthday last year. Watching it and the other clips below, Coloradans of a certain age will be filled with nostalgia, and those too young to have seen Blinky during his prime will marvel at shtick from another time and place.

Continue to see more videos of Blinky the Clown.



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12 comments
Joshua Wesner
Joshua Wesner

As a child, every weekday morning started with Blinky. Denver TV has not been the same without him these last 15 years or so. It's a shame that his kind of television is something that today's kids will never know. A part of Denver's history passed yesterday.

Joktan Rogel
Joktan Rogel

I saw him outside of his antique store 4 years ago talking to some ghettonian kids that were being loud and swearing at the bus stop nearby. Instead of yelling at them or scolding them, though, he told the that they were good kids and treated them very nicely, trying to get them to calm down through conversation. They obviously didn't have a clue who he was or what he had done in the past, so they probably just thought he was some random old man in a store, but eventually they did chill out and paid a bit of attention to him. I think most people would have reacted differently to those kids, but he seemed to be someone who did not judge and just wanted to treat others with respect.

Greg Daniels
Greg Daniels

Loved him as a clown. He was a damn asshole as an antique store owner.

Craig Talbert
Craig Talbert

"Clowns, as we all know, are terrifying. But somehow, at least two generations of Colorado kids managed to suspend their fear (for the most part,anyhow) when it came to Russell Scott, aka Blinky the Clown, who spent more than three consecutive decades on Denver TV." No one writes an opening, like Westword.

Craig Talbert
Craig Talbert

"Clowns, as we all know, are terrifying. But somehow, at least two generations of Colorado kids managed to suspend their fear (for the most part,anyhow) when it came to Russell Scott, aka Blinky the Clown, who spent more than three consecutive decades on Denver TV." No one writes an opening, like Westword.

Shanti Klemm
Shanti Klemm

Watched it everyday when I was a kid. One of my favorite childhood memories. Rest in peace.

Shanti Klemm
Shanti Klemm

Watched it everyday when I was a kid. One of my favorite childhood memories. Rest in peace.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

This hits home. I was on the ' Blink Blinky's Fun Club' program , twice as a child . Mr. Scott was a friend of my late grandfather's for years. He had a major impact on my joining Ringling Bros , and drinking like it was going to be ALL GONE , ALL the time !

Even when I returned home , following a drunk that resulted in me falling underneath our transport train and losing my leg , Blinky was there w/ a fifth and we got TRASHED !!!

What's the info on his funeral ?  I'll put on the 'grease' for one last time to honor a man I will forever, hold dear to my heart........

R.I.P. Russell . You will be forever loved and missed by this crippled clown....

Kwame
Kwame

 @Juan_Leg ^^^^ I love this shit. ^^^ . Thanks for sharing G. 

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