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The working title for the film was The Way the Ball Bounces. The Daily Variety review of the film noted that The Homecoming Game, the novel on which the film was based, focuses on the fact that college athletics provide the funds on which college academics depend, while the film's plot centers on "June's" college goal of acquiring a husband. Although a September 13, 1959 New York Times article noted that Tall Story was shot on location at "Glendale Junior College" in Glendale, CA, as noted in Hollywood Reporter news items, the film was actually shot at Occidental College, which also is located in Glendale.
Actor Marc Connelly reprised his original Broadway role for the film as the character "Professor Charles Osman." Tall Story marked the feature film debut of the then twenty-two-year-old actress Jane Fonda, who was actor Henry Fonda's daughter. Jane Fonda had been a model for several years, making the cover of Vogue, and though reviews were mixed for her performance in Tall Story, she went on to win two Academy Awards for Best Actress and became a box office star as well as a highly publicized political activist.