Seeing Tim Curry In A Sewer On The Set Of It Was Apparently As Scary As It Sounds

Tim Curry was originally supposed to voice the Joker in "Batman: The Animated Series," which would have introduced his evil clown-acting ways to a whole new audience of kids after school on weekdays circa 1992. By then, many primetime viewers were already well-acquainted with the live-action sight of Curry's face in white clown make-up, thanks to his unforgettable turn as Pennywise the Clown in the two-part TV miniseries adaptation of Stephen King's "It" in 1990.

Ten minutes into the first part of "It," a boy in a yellow raincoat named Georgie Denbrough (Tony Dakota) goes chasing his paper sailboat down the street as it floats along the gutter and down into a storm drain. There, he's met by the leering visage of Pennywise, who greets him with the words, "Hiya, Georgie," before smooth-talking him and eventually bearing his fangs and dragging the boy down into the sewer.

It's a scene that was apparently as scary for Dakota, the child actor, to film as it was for the audience to watch. Speaking at Fan Expo Canada in 2017 — the year of the feature film adaptation of "It," in which Bill Skarsgård took over the role of Pennywise — Curry revealed that there came a point during the filming of that scene where his young co-star "stopped and said, 'Tim... You're scaring me.'"

"I said, 'Gee, I'm so sorry," Curry told the convention audience, "but that's what I'm supposed to be doing." He prefaced all of this by saying, "I have a lot of sympathy for child actors," but when the moderator joked about the kid who played Georgie possibly being "in therapy for years" afterward, Curry quipped, "I hope so!"

You'd float, too

Above, you can see the full scene where Georgie encounters Pennywise in "It." Just imagine you're an eight- or nine-year-old kid on a TV production set, and you're trading dialogue with this scary clown face, most likely doing repeated takes of the same scene. It's no wonder the kid got a little spooked. To paraphrase Pennywise: You'd float, too.

Understanding the power of that scene, perhaps, the 2017 movie version of "It" cuts straight to the rainy day where the new Georgie (Jackson Robert Scott) meets his fate at the hands of Pennywise. It's only about five minutes before he wanders off on his boat-sailing adventure along the suburban street gutter. Skarsgård's version of Pennywise is more shrouded in shadow, but then he goes and throws any sense of restraint out the window and bites Georgie's arm right off.

As for the original Georgie, Tony Dakota's filmography goes dark after 1993, but in 2019, he reprised his role as an adult version of the character in the short film "Georgie." In 2021, he also appeared as himself in the documentary "Pennywise: The Story of It."