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The working titles of this film were The Night the World Folded and The Newspaper Story. Although several reviews stated that Richard Brooks's original screen story, "The Night the World Folded," was a novel, information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, indicates that Brooks wrote the story directly for the screen. Reviews do note, however, that Brooks based his idea on the 1931 closing of the New York World newspaper.
According to conference notes contained in the Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection, also located at UCLA, studio production chief Darryl F. Zanuck originally suggested Gregory Peck or Richard Widmark for the role of "Ed Hutcheson." Although a November 12, 1951 Hollywood Reporter news item included House Peters, Sr. in the cast, his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Hollywood Reporter news items also noted that Brooks was to appear in the film as a newspaperman, and that Humphrey Bogart's stand-in, Joe Connors, was to make his acting debut in the picture. Ann McCrea, who portrays "Bessie Schmidt," appears only as a corpse or in photographs.
On October 14, 1951, New York Times reported that the picture was being partially filmed at various sites in New York City, including the offices of the New York Daily News and Washington Square Park. According to a March 6, 1952 Hollywood Reporter news item, Deadline-U.S.A. was to have its first public showing aboard a Coast Guard ship on March 11, 1952, at the request of the crew, who named Bogart their favorite actor. Modern sources add the following additional crew members: Music Sol Kaplan; Orchestration Bernard Mayers; and Script Supervisor Kay Thackeray. On April 20, 1952, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast a version of the story starring Dan Dailey and Debra Paget.