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The working title for this film was Trouble at 16. During the opening credits, Mickey Rooney, as the character "Steven Conway," attempts to rent a boat from several vendors on the mainland, who are reluctant to take anyone to Saber Island. According to a September 18, 1959 Hollywood Reporter article, singer Paul Anka was signed to the role of "Bud Starkweather" but was replaced by Jimmy Boyd when, according to a September 10, 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item, Anka quit the production due to conflicting assignments. A Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Dean Stockwell and Richard Widmark were being considered for roles, but their appearance in the final film has not been confirmed.
Platinum High School marked the feature film debut of singer-songwriter Conway Twitty. Although some sources suggest that Platinum High School was a remake of the 1955 M-G-M film Bad Day at Black Rock, also based on a story by Howard Breslin, the films are only marginally similar.