Trivia: The Day the Clown Cried


  • Creator Backlash: It is not a good idea to ask Jerry Lewis about this film. However, while reporters are warned in advance not to mention it to him, he still has the rough print and said in his autobiography he plans to finish it and release it some day.
    • As he's gotten older, he seems to have mellowed on discussing it and finally decided that all up it's a bad idea.
  • Development Hell: A rare example of a work actually being fully completed, but not being able to be released due to legal problems. A copy of the movie is currently held by the Library of Congress, but due to an agreement with Lewis cannot be screened until August 2025.
  • Missing Episode: The only such film in Lewis' catalogue. It's not so much lost as locked away, never to be seen in public.
  • Old Shame: Although Jerry Lewis was for a long time a passionate champion of the project, he seems to have soured on it over time; for a long time he refused to even discuss it, and in recent interviews he's admitted he thinks it's terrible and has kept it hidden out of embarrassment.
  • What Could Have Been: Decades later, Roberto Benigni would direct and star in Life Is Beautiful which has many strange parallels but was a very successful movie. Could this movie have achieved the same success? Or would it have flopped, persuading Benigni to choose a different project years down the line?
    • Judging by the reactions of the few who have seen it, success was not likely.
    • In the original script by Joan O'Brien and Charles Denton, Helmut Doork was named "Karl Shmidt", who was an arrogant, self-centered clown who wanted to use his wife to bribe a ringmaster into giving him a better gig, with the story about his redemption. The story, however, ended up altered by Jerry Lewis into its current form.
    • Milton Berle, Dick VanDyke, and Bobby Darin were all interested for the project before Lewis.