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The film's title card reads: "Footlight Varieties A New Musical Revue Including Highlights from RKO Film Hits." Footlight Varieties was the third and last compilation film released by RKO between 1948 and 1951. The previous two pictures, Variety Time (1948) and Make Mine Laughs (1949), also featured Jack Paar as emcee (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). The Leon Errol excerpt was taken from a 1944 short RKO film entitled He Forgot to Remember. George Bilson produced the short and Hal Yates directed and co-wrote it. Frankie Carle's "La Paloma" number first appeared in the 1947 RKO short film Carle Comes Calling, directed by Jack Scholl. The silent excerpt was taken from a 1909 American Mutoscope and Biograph Co. short entitled Confidence, directed by D. W. Griffith (see AFI Catalog. Film Beginnings, 1893-1910). Some of the actors listed above for Confidence May not have appeared in the excerpt. The number featuring Buster West and Melissa Mason first appeared in the 1938 RKO film Radio City Revels, directed by Ben Stoloff.
According to Hollywood Reporter news items and production charts, the following performers were cast in the picture: Red Nichols and his New Orleans jazz band, The Elder Lovelies from Ken Murray's Blackouts, Pat Hall, Mona Knox, Sue Casey, Blanche Taylor, Suellen Wiere, Spec O'Donnell, Sara Serenado and Wendy Waldron. The appearance of these performers in the final film has not been confirmed.