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The order of names in the opening cast credits differs slightly from the order of the end credits. The Daily Variety review noted that "Dodo Delwyn's" television show was closely patterned on Red Skelton's own popular weekly program. Skelton began his television career in 1951 with The Red Skelton Show, broadcast on the NBC network. In 1953, he switched to CBS, and continued to appear on that network until 1970. Tim Considine, who made his film debut in The Clown, was the third generation of an established theatrical family. His grandfathers were rival theater owners John W. Considine, Sr. and Alexander Pantages, and his father, John W. Considine, Jr., was a prominent producer at M-G-M.
According to an March 11, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, Gene Fowler and Gene Towne were writing a treatment of the story, which was owned by Skelton, but the extent of their contribution to the final film has not been determined. The same news item reported that Mervyn LeRoy was interested in directing the film. A October 23, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Robert Burton had been cast in the role of "Dr. Strauss." Fay Roope played the part in the film, however. The Clown is a remake of the 1931 M-G-M film The Champ (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40), which was directed by King Vidor and starred Wallace Beery as a washed-up boxer and Jackie Cooper as his son. Frances Marion and Leonard Praskins, who were credited with the story and adaptation of The Clown, wrote the earlier film.