Film and TV

Blinky the Clown's funeral: A red nose for everyone

Last week marked the passing of Russell Scott, aka Blinky the Clown, a Denver TV icon who died at age 91. His funeral is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m. today and it's open to the public; get details below.

And at his request, everyone who attends will be given a red clown nose to wear during the service.

That's the word this morning from Shannon Schum, whose history with Scott goes back to his childhood. "I grew up in Colorado and was on Blinky's show when I was a kid," Schrum says. "He inspired me to get into show business, and I became a professional ventriloquist. I live in Nashville now and am the opening act for country music stars.

"I knew him for the last twenty years -- and I also build puppets and wax figures, which I did for the Country Music Wax Museum. And we're hoping to set up an exhibit" featuring a wax figure of Blinky.

This plan has been in the works since at least 2010. Here's a photo of the wax Blinky figure Schum shared with us at the time:

According to Schum, he and others are currently talking to the Colorado History Museum about a temporary exhibit honoring Blinky -- and they're also seeking investors for what sounds like an ambitious undertaking.

"The entire Blinky's Fun Club set will be in full scale," he says in describing his plans, "and you'll see the figure of Blinky standing with a cake" -- a reference to Scott's trademark "Happy Birthday" song. "And there will also be cases with various artifacts of his career and even a bleacher across from the set, so people can actually go and sit down and capture that feeling they might have had as a kid on the show, or give people who never got a chance to be on it the idea of what it was like to be there."

In the days since Scott's death, including a public viewing held yesterday, the outpouring of emotions "has been absolutely incredible," Schrum reveals. "It's been an amazing up-and-down journey. One minute, people are laughing and chuckling, and the next, the tears are flowing. It's obvious that this man was loved by so many, and he loved them very much. Grown men were weeping for the loss of their childhood hero, and it was just wonderful."

Expect a similar blend of the happy and sad at the funeral today, at the Denver Consistory-Scottish Rite Center, at 1370 Grant Street, followed by his burial at Fort Logan Veterans Cemetery with full military honors. "He always said he couldn't wait to see who was going to be at his funeral," Schrum notes with a laugh. "And one of the requests he had is that everybody wear a red clown nose. So we have many, many clown noses that will be handed out to everybody.

"He said, 'I want everybody to wear a clown nose. I want them to be happy and celebrate my life, because after all, I was a clown.'"

Schrum adds that he hopes the remembrances of Blinky will help "preserve the magic. I just hope everybody always remembers the magic they had when they were kids, and the joy he brought them."

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that contributions be made in Russell "Blinky the Clown" Scott's name to Shriner's Burn Hospitals, care of the El Jebel Shrine.

More from our News archive: "Blinky the Clown beheaded? Nope -- just cast in wax."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts