The word is out that America's favorite lobbyist failed in his efforts to remake the greatest movie ever about a clown who leads laughing children into the ovens of Auschwitz.
In 1972, funnyman Jerry Lewis directed and starred in "The Day the Clown Cried," the story of circus clown Helmut Doork, who entertains children to their deaths. Filming stopped after the story got caught up in a copyright fight, so only a rough cut was ever finished.
In this month's issue of Harper's magazine, there are excerpts of unsigned letters written by Jack Abramoff's friends to Judge Paul Huck of Federal District Court in Miami in the hopes of getting the judge to go easy on the lobbyist/criminal. Huck would later sentence Abramoff to six years and $21.7 million in fines.
Jack made every effort possible to secure funding for a film entitled The Day the Clown Cried, a movie about the importance of taking care of children, set in a WWII concentration camp.
Lawrence Levi claims to have obtained a copy of the letter which reveals that it was written by film producer Michael Barclay, who was to be one of Abramoff's partners in the venture. It was to be Abramoff's bid for respectability after the failure of the Dolph Lundgren epic "Red Scorpion," which he penned and produced
Legend has it that Lewis is so ashamed of the film that he keeps it locked in a briefcase in his office. In this age of You Tube and Bit Torrent, it is one of the few pieces of video not readily available.
Harry Shearer is among the luck few who have witnesses the debacle.
"This movie is so drastically wrong, its pathos and its comedy are so wildly misplaced, that you could not, in your fantasy of what it might be like, improve on what it really is," said Shearer.