Jack The Clown
Original Icon - Halloween Horror Nights X (2000)
The first Fright Nights benefitted from the use of the Classic Universal Monsters as marketing icons. The Cryptkeeper then appeared as the event host in 1995. Halloween Horror Nights was iconless until 2000. In 2000, Universal finally brought back an event icon to serve as a marketing icon and event host. This icon was not a character from any existing entertainment property. The 2000 icon was a character created by Universal specifically for the event. An elaborate "backstory" was created for the character. The creation of backstories would continue for future "original" icons. The new 2000 icon, Jack Schmidt, was an evil clown with a great story backing him up. Due of the success of the Jack character, Universal had original mascots/icons for the following several years.
Jack Schmidt was a circus performer. He loved to entertain children with his practical pranks and prat-falls during his stint with DR. ODDFELLOW'S CARNIVAL OF THRILLS. But underneath the greasepaint and clown nose, he held a hideously dark and sinister secret. Jack was a twisted murderer. He was wanted for the abduction and disappearance of several small children throughout the Southern states. Police officials soon caught on that the missing children followed a pattern that led them closer and closer to the traveling freakshow.
On Halloween 1920 the police were closing in on the Clown killer. Fearing capture, Jack revealed his sinister secret to Dr. Oddfellow in the hopes of possible concealment. The Good Doctor was himself wanted by the police for the accidental death of several patrons in a freak circus accident years earlier under a different name. The Doctor was not sympathetic to Jack's cause; in contrast he quickly admonished him for potentially bringing the police down upon the entire band of miscreants. He asked Jack to show him what he had done with the bodies of the children. Jack revealed the bodies of thirteen children hidden in the confines of three small trunks that were kept in his traveling coach.
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Fearing the worst, Dr. Oddfellow had Jack murdered and his body hidden within the traveling carnivals House of Horrors as an exhibit, along with the bodies of the children.
Years later the Carnival was sold by Dr. Oddfellow, and the various dark rides and exhibits were split and sent to various owners around the states, including the House of Horrors and it's grisly secret.
Sixty years later, in the Fall of 1980, a television crew from the BBC was documenting the great Dark Rides of America. They journeyed throughout the eastern seaboard looking for forgotten carnival rides and attractions. They stumbled upon the House of Horrors as it sat abandoned in a Louisiana Junkyard. The crew asked permission to film the interior. Twenty dollars later, the film crew pried open the doors of the forgotten relic and stepped inside. The smell of decay was overpowering as the bright camera light illuminated the darkened corridors.
Moving past the faded walls and hanging fabric, the smell began to increase. The cameraman wretched as he panned his camera towards a series of trunks. Behind the trunks was a large wooden box stenciled like a children's toy. One letter filled each side of the box. J - A -C - K.
The Cameraman steadied his camera as the Host of the show investigated the box. He found a large crank on the side of the box. He turned the crank with some resistance, but after a few twists, it freely moved in a clockwise rotation. A clanky musical melody played out as the Host smiled into the camera.
"It still works!" said the Host. Suddenly the Music stopped. The Host's smile turned to an embarrassed clench of teeth. He rotated the crank once more with no result. Suddenly the Light from the camera died. He turned to see the Cameraman move away. He heard the sound of something wet. He grabbed his flashlight and clicked it on. The Cameraman was standing a few feet farther away. "Sorry - My light died." he grinned. Then, without warning the crank rotated a few spins. The top of the box flew open and a form sprung out. Affixed to a giant spring was the decomposing body of Jack Schmidt.
After a thorough police investigation, the bodies of the thirteen children as well as the body of Jack were shipped to the local Louisiana Coroner's office for further examination. The bodies of the children arrived later in the evening. At approximately Midnight on October 31st, the van carrying the body and box of Jack disappeared into the Louisiana swamp. A freak accident. Later that week the bodies of the BBC cameraman and Host were found the result of a grisly and unsolved murder.
Throughout the following years there have been urban legend retellings of this tale, with a corresponding story about the decomposing body of Jack killing again. The legend states that Jack is searching for Dr. Oddfellow, in a thirst for vengeance. The legend also states that Jack will reward anyone who releases him from his toy tomb by turning the crank with a very special reward. No one to this day has lived to tell exactly what the reward is.
October 2000 - Universal Studios is bringing some of the original pieces of Dr. Oddfellow's carnival of thrills to highlight the popular Halloween Horror Nights event. The Publicity and Marketing Department have also decided to play on the urban legend of Jack. Designers of the event have been able to acquire what has been sold as the original box in which Jack was trapped. No word yet on the actual validity of the find.
In 2001 at Halloween Horror Nights XI, Jack replaced Eddie when he was deemed too violent for an event following the events of September 11, 2001.
Jack returned alongside The Caretaker, The Director and Eddie in the 2004 Halloween Horror Nights XIV: 2X The Fear haunted house "Horror Nights Nightmares".
Jack returned in 2005 at Halloween Horror Nights XV: Tales of Terror as the MC of "Rat Run", a caged maze setup in the former Bone Yard.
Jack once again became an icon during Halloween Horror Nights XVI: Sweet 16 along with The Caretaker, The Director and The Storyteller to rule over the event. He also appeared in the haunted house, "Psychoscarepy: Maximum Madness".
The Jack Schmidt backstory was further developed for the seventeenth year. At the 2007 Halloween Horror Nights XVII: Carnival of Carnage, he became the Ringmaster of a traveling carnival after murdering Oddfellow. He took the doctor's "Cane of Souls" and made the carnival his own Carnival of Carnage. He brought three of the most known horror madmen of the movies, Jason Voorhees, Freddy Kruger and Leatherface along with him.
Jack was seen yet again on the last weekend of the 2009 Halloween Horror Nights XIX: Ripped from the Silver Screen, in the Scare Zone Shadows from the Past.
During the 2010 Halloween Horror Nights XX: Twenty Years of Fear, Jack appeared as one of Fear's heralds in the Fear Revealed Scare Zone. He also visited guests at the end of the haunted house, Horror Nights: The Hallow'd Past. He also appeared as part of a photo opportunity found near the Bill & Ted Show venue.
You can't keep a good icon down! Jack returned in full force to host Halloween Horror Nights 25! He was also featured in the Jack Presents 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem house. He will remain locked in the box until he is released again in the future!