Tears of a Clown

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THURS, 5/13

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, clearly desperate for attention.

Scott, who currently spends most of his time in the cluttered Broadway antique store he owns, is remembered fondly by most folks, but not all. According to Malone, Channel 2, which Scott sued after his dismissal, wouldn't provide anyone to comment for the documentary. (Of the more than 10,000 Fun Club shows aired, the station kept tapes from just ten.) Others who opted out include one of Scott's two daughters and his longtime wife, Gwen, who divorced him in early 2004 after 62 years of marriage. For Malone, however, Scott's flaws only make him more interesting.

"He has his good sides and his not-so-good sides -- but tens of thousands of kids loved watching Blinky," Malone says. "His story needed to be told."

Blinky airs at 9 p.m. on KBDI/Channel 12. -- Michael Roberts

Artique shows off small town's treasures
SAT, 5/15

This weekend, stray from the beaten art- district path and head for the Lyons Artique Art Walk & Studio Tour. "This is an idea that has been floating around Lyons for a number of years," says Mystie Brackett, who is coordinating the free event. "There are lots and lots of artists hidden in and around Lyons. We decided that it was time to celebrate them and highlight the creativity of the community."

Under the theme "Art Off the Map," more than fifty Lyons galleries, businesses and art studios will open their doors to the public today and tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

"We have a really impressive range of artists here, from nationally known painters to stone and glass artists -- even Redhill Motorcycle Werx, which does custom motorcycle fabrication and painting," says Brackett, who owns Visible Joy, a Lyons framing studio. "I'm constantly amazed at the quality and diversity of the work."

Tour maps are available at all local businesses and at the Lyons Town Hall, 432 Fifth Avenue. For further information, call 303-823-0390 or visit www.lyonsartique.com.

"One local resident calls Lyons a little bit Mayberry and a little bit Northern Exposure, which I think really sums up its flavor and spirit," says Brackett. "Those of us who live in Lyons are so in love with our town, we want to share it with everyone." -- Julie Dunn

Fire Up
SAT, 5/15

Firefighters are in these days -- and for good reason. We've always considered them heroes, of course, and kids continue to adore their shiny engines, helmets and hip boots -- but 9/11 and its aftermath gave a national face to the folks who've toiled through the years to keep us safe. Denver's firefighters are no different: They have their own rich traditions, including historical digs worth taking a look at. Today, Denverites are invited to share that history, when the Denver Firefighters Museum, 1326 Tremont Place, hosts a Historic Firehouse Tour of three local stations in conjunction with Colorado Archaeological and Historic Preservation Month events taking place across the state. Tours will be offered at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. at the 1909 Arts and Crafts-style museum building that also served as the city's Fire Station Number One until 1975; the more modern Station 8, at 1618 Marion Street; and Street Engine Company No. 3, Denver's oldest operating firehouse, at 2500 Washington Street in Five Points. For advance reservations, which are required, call 303-892-1436 or log on to www.denverfirefightersmuseum.org.

For information on related events, call 303-866-3682 or visit www.coloradohistory-oahp.org. -- Susan Froyd

Shaken, Not Stirred
The Wildlife Experience hoists a couple of classics
THURS, 5/13

Channel the debonair 007 tonight at the first installment of Movie and a Martini, a new series at the Wildlife Experience. The debut features an evening of cocktails, hors d'oeuvres and a viewing of Goldfinger, the 1964 James Bond classic. "We wanted to do something different to attract some new people to the museum -- let them look around a bit while enjoying a martini, then watch a movie that they probably haven't seen in a while," says museum spokeswoman Amber DeBerry. "It's definitely going to be a swank evening."

Goldfinger, which stars the inimitable Sean Connery, pits Bond against Auric Goldfinger, who is trying to rob the Bank of England. The screening is open to all ages, but kids under age eighteen must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets to the 7 p.m. event are $15 and include appetizers and a cocktail (for those 21 and over) served in a keepsake martini glass.

The Wildlife Experience is at 10035 South Peoria Street in Parker. Next up in the series is Breakfast at Tiffany's on July 22. For more information, or to purchase tickets in advance, call 720-488-3300 or visit www.thewildlifeexperience.org. -- Julie Dunn

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