The Day the Clown Cried – Jerry Lewis – two screenplays


“When you rule by fear, laughter is the most frightening sound in the world.”

In 2002, I bought an ORIGINAL script of “The Day the Clown Cried” on Ebay, which had belonged to Fred Skidmore, Jerry Lewis’ publicist at the time.

“In February 1972 he and his new publicist, Fred Skidmore, flew to Stockholm to see to  pre-productions chores. They went to Germany and Poland to visit the sites of concentration camps. And they went to Paris, where Jerry shot some material for the film while performing with the Bouglione Cirque d’Hiver and saw to his theatre business. (France’s first Jerry Lewis Cinema opened in March 1972).” (from “King of Comedy” by Shawn Levy)

The script was dated MARCH 1972, was signed by Skidmore, and contained his notations of the actors playing the various roles and other production details. It was his personal script as he travelled with Lewis! Not only that, it was the FINAL DRAFT !!!!

Many of the scenes were seriously modified or even eliminated, and the poorly written elements of the earlier rough draft were now gone. In addition (believe it or not), the ending was MUCH more horrific and blunt!! No clowning this time, just the truth … and told not through image, but SOUND. The final draft is brilliant.

I had bought the screenplay for about $25.00 (postage and merchant services fees included). The Ebay seller didnt realize what a historic find he had, and his auction blended in with other sellers who were offering copies of the more common First Draft (that was available on this site for free). So fortunately, I was the only person that noticed it’s true value.

I transcribed the screenplay to publish here along with the other one, then I resold it on Ebay several months later for over $250.00 to a classic stand-up comedian (who shall remain nameless here). The original script possibly still resides in his personal collection, but I have also heard from reliable sources that it has made the rounds of various well-known celebrities there, including Joe Piscopo. I am very proud of the fact that I was the one who made this incredibly rare item available to them.

Here are both drafts of the screenplay:

The Day the Clown Cried – First Draft 

The Day the Clown Cried – Final Draft


About Subterranean Cinema

I am the creator of the "Subterranean Cinema" website. -
This entry was posted in Screenplays. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The Day the Clown Cried – Jerry Lewis – two screenplays

  1. jrseti says:

    You may find this interesting… I’ve been wondering about this film for 25+ years. Let’s see if I remember this correctly. In the late 1980’s I became friends with an elderly couple who lived in Studio City, CA. They had been in the entertainment business for many years and had an old friend that was once a publicist for Jerry Lewis. I think her name was Jane (or maybe Judy). I went out to dinner with her maybe 4 times (she was 80 at the time, I think). Her story was that SHE wrote a screenplay about a holocaust clown. She registered it with WGA then showed it to Jerry who she said she was on very friendly terms with. He read it, said he liked it, that was it. But then he went ahead and filmed the movie that was just like her story. After the filming she threatened to sue and he knew he could not release it, so he did not. That was her story, my 2 friends (who are dead now) remember when it happened. Maybe it was a combination of the movie turning out bad and the threat of a lawsuit. It would be interesting if someone could research who his past publicists were, find the lady’s name, see if you can find the script registration in the WGA archives. That would be a good story!

    • crantol1 says:

      OK, stupid me! The lady was the publicist Joan O’Brien. She told me that Jerry did not have the right to make the movie and she threatened to sue so he did not release it. I’ve now found references to this other places on the internet..

  2. unclesporkums says:

    Here’s my comprehensive edit of the existing footage that’s surfaced.

Leave a Reply to jrseti Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s