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Cancel My Reservation was based on Louis L'Amour's novel The Broken Gun, which was also the film's working title. During the film's opening credits, Bob Hope, as the character "Dan Bartlett," is being taken to jail in Little Bend, AZ. Hope provides voice-over narration intermittently throughout the film, making jokes about the precarious situations in which he and his wife "Sheila" find themselves. Although Filmfacts states that at the end of the film Sheila quits Dan's show after announcing she is pregnant, in the viewed print, Sheila only resigns from the show to rejuvenate their relationship.
According to an March 8, 1968 Hollywood Reporter news item, Hope recently had purchased the rights to the novel. On March 24, 1968 Daily Variety reported that Hope had hired Michael Fessier to write the screenplay; however, Fessier does not appear in the onscreen credits. On June 8, 1971 Hollywood Reporter reported that Hope was considering Lucille Ball as his co-star, but a August 6, 1971 Hollywood Reporter news item stated that Hope then chose Eva Marie Saint. Hope and Saint had previously co-starred together in the 1956 film That Certain Feeling (see below). As noted in reviews, Naho Enterprises was actually a joint venture between Bob Hope and NBC, with which Hope had a long-running television contract.
Although a March 25, 1968 Hollywood Reporter article noted that Hope had planned to shoot the film at Hope Town, his 5,000-acre ranch in Corriganville, CA, Cancel My Reservation actually was shot at Southwestern Studios in Carefree, AZ and the Samuel Goldwyn Studios in Hollywood. According to the pressbook, location shooting took place in New York City and in Arizona, including the Phoenix Airport, Verde River, Blue Point and at the desert mansion of businessman Carl Hovgard, which is featured as Strawberry Hill in the film.
Cancel My Reservation marked Hope's debut as a producer for an independent production and the feature film debut of Betty Ann Carr. Although press materials list the actress as "Betty Ann Carr," in onscreen credits she was listed as Betty Carr.