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The working titles of this film were The Band Story, The Band Played On, Here Comes the Band and Twenty-One Men and a Girl. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection and the Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, Michael Blankfort, Ethel Hill and Robert Carson worked on a version of the script. Hollywood Reporter news items also note that Carson was assigned to work on the screenplay. It is not clear, however, if any of their contributions were included in the finished film.
According to an January 11, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item, Twentieth Century-Fox was considering Walter Huston for a "top spot" in the picture, which was to star Don Ameche, Jack Oakie and Alice Faye or Betty Grable. A July 24, 1941 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that John Butler, Kay Linaker and Ruth Clifford were to be included in the cast, but their participation in the released picture has not been confirmed. On October 27, 1941, Hollywood Reporter noted that songwriters Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger were donating all royalties received from the song "Uncle Sam Gets Around" to the USO. The song was to have its first airing the next day on the U.S. Treasury Department's "Millions for Defense" radio broadcast. According to studio publicity and Hollywood Reporter news items, stage actress Janis Carter made her screen debut in Cadet Girl, and technical advisor Marvin J. Berenzweig was a West Point cadet.