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The working title of this film was Tugboat Annie's Son. The first "Tugboat Annie" story was published in The Saturday Evening Post in the July 11, 1931 issue, and others appeared frequently in that magazine until author Norman Reilly Raine's death in 1971. A book by Raine entitled Tugboat Annie was published in New York in 1934.
According to Los Angeles Examiner and Hollywood Reporter news items, Marjorie Rambeau, Marjorie Main and Lulu McConnell were first considered for the role of "Tugboat Annie." Although Hollywood Reporter production charts include Russell Simpson in the cast, his appearance in the completed picture has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that producer James S. Burkett and director Phil Rosen intended to make a series of "Tugboat Annie" features starring Jane Darwell and Edgar Kennedy, but Captain Tugboat Annie was the only one they completed. Other pictures featuring Raine's characters are the 1933 M-G-M production Tugboat Annie, which was directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starred Marie Dressler and Wallace Beery, and the 1940 Warner Bros. film Tugboat Annie Sails Again, directed by Lewis Seiler and starring Marjorie Rambeau and Alan Hale (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40; F3.4783 and F3.4784). A series based on the Raine characters, starring Minerva Urecal, appeared on television in 1957 under the title The Adventures of Tugboat Annie. In 1968, Empire Films announced preparations for a remake of Tugboat Annie, to star Jack Oakie and Dorothy Keller, but the project was not produced.