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The Fat Man radio series was broadcast on the ABC network and starred J. Scott Smart, who made his motion picture debut as the character "Brad Runyon." Noted circus clown Emmett Kelly also made his film debut in The Fat Man. According to a July 22, 1949 Los Angeles Examiner news item, Columbia originally planned to make the film, with Hunt Stromberg as the producer and Sidney Greenstreet as the star. A Hollywood Reporter news item adds Gregg Martell to the cast, but his appearance in the final film has not been confirmed. According to Hollywood Reporter, Universal borrowed Clinton Sundberg from M-G-M. Although the Variety review refers to Marvin Kaplan as an "uncredited" actor and his role is not reflected in the closing credits, he is listed in the opening credits of the film.