R.I.P. Russell Scott - Blinky the Clown, Denver TV icon for more than 40 years

[Video Link] I spent many hundreds of hours enjoying Blinky the Clown's TV show on Denver's KWGN-TV. The good-hearted clown (real name Russell Scott) died today at the age of 91. I'm sorry to hear it.

NewImageScott's career as a clown grew from sketches he performed for children who came to see the elaborate miniature circus he maintained at his home.

"Dad was incredibly artistic," said daughter Linda Scott Ballas, who with her husband Steve, owns Steve's Snappin' Dogs in Denver.

"Everything was to scale, like one of those model train layouts. He hand-carved the elephants, a gorilla, put little motors under the plywood table that would move the animals in a circle, move the trapeze act and the barkers. It started out for me and my sister, but the more involved Dad got, we weren't actually allowed to touch it."

If this has made you nostalgic, you might enjoy reading the 594 comments in the 1960s and 1970s Denver pop culture open thread, where we discussed Jakes Jabbs, Starr Yelland, KWGN channel 2, Celebrity Sports Center, The Yum Yum Tree, Blinky's Fun Club, Buffalo Bill Museum, Heritage Square, and more.

Blinky the Clown, Denver TV icon for more than 40 years, dead at 91


  1. His Seattle equivalent, PJ Patches, passed on a short time ago. Kids today are missing out on something..

    1. It was J.P. Patches (for Julius Pierpont), played by Chris Wedes. 
      The demise of most live, local kids TV shows coincides with the introduction of codes and FCC regulations banning or limiting “host selling”: having a host or character market items to kids in a way that doesn’t distinguish between show and commercial. Sponsorships became harder to come by. But I miss the spontaneity they had.

      1. There’s more reasons than that, DrDave – obviously the FCC regulations of which you speak didn’t quite take, because pre-teen TV these days is nothing but crapola(dolls, mp3 players, shoes, etc) being sold to them under the guise of education and entertainment.

        I would say that the charming and cute “clown-hosted” children’s TV shows of the late 1950s and 1960s collapsed because they couldn’t sell ENOUGH crapola to kids in a timely manner. I think once advertisers tasted blood, they wanted the whole shebang. Not from the kids, but from their hard-working parents

        TV has always been about selling. Anything and everything, especially via children. It didn’t stop in 1969. It’s still here.

    2. I was in front of the idiot box for at least a couple of years with PJ Patches

      It’s interesting reading about or seeing “rare” video of local children’s TV hosts and almost without exception one can see why these numerous local TV “legends” never made it out of the narrow confines of their small slice of the local Nielsen Ratings.

      Recently, PBS did a long, cute segment (of a larger history of TV) regarding regional children’s TV hosts with the requisite “Gosh, I don’t know what I would be without (insert host here) to keep me company after school” by now-aged followers of the various kid’s shows

      It’s also interesting to note how many of these bright and shiny kids TV stars ended up hitting the bottle or worse. Others like HOBO KELLY in Los Angeles just up and walked away from their shows and characters, never to be seen much again

  2. Well, there goes another lit piece of my childhood.  RIP Blinky.  “Hap-py…birth-day…to…YOU!

  3. When exactly,  did clowns go from being funny and likeable (like I remember from kid-hood) to being scary and psycho?

  4. As long as we’re reminiscing about children’s shows and including the Seattle/Tacoma area, I might as well mention the Brakeman Bill show.  It was on for 20 years and once held the record for longest running children’s program.  As far as I know, Bill is still living.

  5. My sister emailed to let me know. Scott was also “Cap’n Dooley” on KWGN’s “Lunchtime Little Theatre,” which I saw a time or two, but it was as Blinky that he made his impression on me. I used to make fun of him all the time in junior high, and a few years later, he was Tom Shannon’s chief henchman and torpedo in my (never printed) comic, “Jimmy Cool vs The Creature From Channel 2.”

    Every now and then, I’d look him up on YouTube to see videos of him in his junk shop (out on Colfax, if memory blah blah blah), always cheerful, and always trying to sell something. One place I looked at said he was at his TV gig for forty years, and was the second-longest-running kid show host.

    Here’s to him! Hall of fame. (Should I go look in on the Denver nostalgia thread again? I really liked that one.)

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