Denver's TV clown turned antiques store owner turned one-man nostalgia machine for anyone who grew up in the Mile High City in the 1960s, 70s and 80s celebrated his 88th birfday on June 30 with a meal at White Fence Farm in Lakewood.
The staff there knew who he was and sang Happy Birthday to him, says Steve Ballas, the proud son-in-law of Blinky (aka Russell Scott). Then they asked him to sing Happy Birthday to himself in the same Blinky's Fun Club style that he used to sing to kids on the show.
It was a good way to cheer on Scott, who's had his ups and downs over the past few years, including the loss of his show and a successful lawsuit against Channel 2, a divorce, the closing of his store and health problems, Ballas says.
Recently, Blinky has been painting and signing birdhouses, which he sells for $20 out of Ballas's restaurant, Steve's Snappin' Dogs on East Colfax, and the Breakfast Queen on South Broadway. "He was doing them fast and furious around Christmastime," Ballas says, and although he has since slowed down - there were only two left at Steve's as of last week - he will paint new ones if people ask for them (which they can do by calling Steve's or emailing him at [email protected]).
"He wanted something to do after we closed his store last year," Ballas says. "He's always been handy with his hands, so now he can sit in his apartment and watch TV while he mixes the paint. He comes up with all the ideas himself.
"Someday he will be gone and these birdhouses will be a cool thing to have."