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The working titles of the film were Young Mother and No Greater Sin. Actor Damian O'Flynn's first name was misspelled "Damien" in the opening credits. The screenwriting team, who were listed as "Katherine and Dale Eunson" in the opening credits, were married. Actress Jackie Loughery, who portrayed "Ava Norton" in the film, was Miss America of 1952 and the third wife of actor-director-producer Jack Webb of Dragnet fame. Mike Wallace, then an ABC-TV interview personality, who would later be one of the original anchormen on CBS television's 60 Minutes, recorded a thirty-second radio spot recommending the film. Eighteen and Anxious marked the motion picture debut of Connie Stevens, although her first film role was in Young and Dangerous, which was made just prior to Eighteen and Anxious but released later.
A May 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that John Barrymore, Jr. was cast in a lead role; however, he does not appear in the final film. Although their appearance in the film has not been confirmed, a July 1, 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item adds Fred Fisher, Pat Dean and Billy Snyder to the cast. According to a May 1957 Hollywood Reporter news item, portions of the film were shot at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.
The Motion Picture Herald review described the film as "crude and unsuitable for the majority of the impressionable teenagers for which it was primarily designed." However, other reviews differed, such as Hollywood Reporter, which reported the story as "a tasteful and honest attempt to deal with the problems of teenagers." New York Times stated that the story was a "surprisingly decent and absorbing case history that rings true," despite its title, which to the reviewer sounded like "trash." The LA Mirror announced that the film was better "than its sleazy titled indicates" and went on to say, "The subject matter [about] the troubles of a pregnant girl who can't get anyone to believe she was secretly married seem almost wholesome in view of the recent rash of stories about teen-age murders and dope addicts."
The suggestiveness of the film's title was carried over into the studio's publicity campaign, which was geared toward teenagers. One tagline advertised, "Parents will be shocked but...youth will understand." Other taglines provided by the studio were "Over 35? Feeling low? Eighteen and Anxious...guaranteed to revitalize you" and "Old enough to be a mother...Too young to be married."