DENVER — “Happy Birthday to you. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear children. Happy birthday to you!”
Generations of Colorado children woke up every morning, turned on Channel 2 and sang that song along with their favorite T.V. clown. Many of us sat in his audience over the years. Some even came back with their kids.
For 40 years, for 10,000 episodes, Blinky the Clown worked his way to our hearts — and into the record books.
He had the longest career of any children’s T.V. show in the U.S — second longest in the entire world. If you were a kid in Colorado, you knew Blinky.
Last year on his 90th birthday party, we last caught up with Russell Scott, the man behind the makeup for all those years. He was living at a local assisted living center, but he was still the same old Blinky.
“Honey, I’m a clown in and out of makeup,” Scott said. “All the time. As a matter of fact I said to my wife one time, do I bore you? or do I bore people? She said, ‘No they’d rather have you that way than grouchy.’”
When Russell Scott first moved to Colorado he was known as Sears-O the clown. He became so popular in Colorado Springs he got his own T.V. show. Six years later, he moved the program to Channel 2 in Denver, where it would stay for decades.
“Evidentally what I did was right,” Scott said. “Or I would have fallen by the way side.
Even in his later years, Russell Scott would still get recognized as Blinky at his nursing home, around town and at parades he grand marshalled right up until the end. In his head, he never stopped being on T.V.
“I dream a lot,” Scott said. “I dream that I’m on stage — I’m dancing. I’ve been at the T.V. stations 1,000 times in my dreams.”
Russell Scott died at 10:45 a.m. He was 91 years old.