The Day the Clown Cried

Synopsis: Helmut Doork, a once great and famous clown, is fired from the circus. Getting drunk at a local bar, he pokes fun at Hitler in front of some Gestapo agents, who arrest and send him to a prison camp. Helmut angers his fellow prisoners by refusing to perform for them, wanting to preserve his legend. As times passes, Jews are brought into the camp, with fraternizing between them and the other prisoners strictly prohibited. Eventually, Helmut is forced by the others to perform or be beaten. His act bombs and he leaves the barracks depressed, trying the routine out again alone in the prison yard. He hears laughter and sees a group of Jewish children watching him through a fence. Happy to be appreciated again, he makes a makeshift clown suit and begins to regularly perform. His audience grows, but a new prison Commandant orders Helmut to stop. When he refuses and continues to perform, he's beaten and thrown in solitary confinement. But the Nazis soon come up with a use for Helmut, keeping th
Genre: Drama
90 min


The normal activity and excitement of showtime around the

circus is in evidence where we see the half dark street and

alley directly adjacent to the circus tent which (in Paris

is an enclosure) ... the animals, the midgets, the people

and the roustabouts moving with a fixed speed and getting

faster as we now know showtime is momentarily due.

We MOVE TOWARD the action, slowly but definitely picking up

SOUNDS and actions of the busy people as we go.



We see barkers, children, people, pushing ... buying

tickets, hats, candy ... SOUNDS of children laughing, MUSIC

playing from o.s. within the tent area ... and we ...



A continuation of the animals, trainers, clowns INTERCUT

with the action of the circus customers jamming the

entranceway to get in ... (complimented CUTS from backstage

to out front ... building to the final crescendo ... as we

see the alley empty and clear out vs. the front area

clearing and also becoming empty.)



The fully dressed orchestra playing the oncoming people to

their respective seats as we PAN ALONG the happy faces and

excited children ... DOWN and BACK within the circus



The heartbeat of any circus ... The long row of unkempt, yet

beautifully neat trunks where the clowns make up, with many

of the clowns just coming in and setting their clothers and

things around their own little areas ... midgets running and

playing, like the little children they are about to

entertain ... MUSIC is in the deep background ... as we COME

TO A STOP at the large trunk with the letters clearly


We PULL BACK and AWAY from the lettering on the trunk and

REVEAL the face of a gentle but drawn man, a man whose body

and movements indicate he has been at this for a long time.

As he sits, the little midgets run close to see what they

can do to help; one pulls the chair for him to sit on;

another brings a hot cup of coffee; another takes his coat

and hangs in on the haltree, adjacent to his trunk ... as we

PUSH PAST HIM to introduce the other clowns ... some half

made up, others finishing their make-up ... and some just

sitting and rapping together, smoking, drinking coffee,

waiting for showtime ... and in the very distant b.g.,

almost against the wall of clown alley, we see the trunk and

the body of a "CLOWN" in silhouette ... we CRAWL TOWARDS the

body and the trunk ... and COME TO A STOP ... HOLDING FULL

FRAME. The clown, already made-up and dressed in his tramp

outfit, has his head in his hands, leaning down on the trunk

table top, a depressed and sad looking hulk of a man ... an

o.s. voice:


Coffee? It's nice and hot.

The MIDGET slides the cup in front of the clown's face ...

as he picks up his head and smiles and nods yes ... he sips

the coffee and we see the clown is HELMUT DORQUE (pronounced


He is a depressed and very unhappy clown ... the frown on

his face shows years of knocking around ... plus fear that

those years are now over. From o.s. we HEAR the SOUND of a

small air horn being blown and carried by one of the

midgets. He is yelling through an old megaphone.


15 Minutes to circus ...

15 minutes to circus.

Upon hearing this, "Clown Alley" really gets busy ... all

the clowns get up and put their last minute touches together

... touching up their make-ups ... getting their coats and

props together ... and as they get themselves up and ready,

they exit the clown alley area and start for the arena. The

last one to go is Helmut, lingering behind intentionally as


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Jerry Lewis

Jerry Lewis AM (born Joseph Levitch; March 16, 1926) is an American actor, comedian, singer, film producer, film director, screenwriter, humanitarian and innovator. He is known for his slapstick humor in film, television, stage and radio. He and Dean Martin were partners as the hit popular comedy duo of Martin and Lewis. Following that success, he was a solo star in film, nightclubs, television, concert stages and musicals. Lewis served as national chairman of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and host of the live Labor Day broadcast of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon for 40 years. more…

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Submitted by aviv on January 26, 2017


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"The Day the Clown Cried" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 31 May 2020. <>.

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