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The working title of this film was Wild in the Country. Twentieth Century-Fox later used that title for a 1961 Elvis Presley film (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1951-60.) Although Ken Darby is officially credited onscreen as song writer, other writers wrote the songs included in the film. According to a June 1952 Los Angeles Examiner news item, Ida Lupino and Collier Young bought the rights to Fred Gipson's story in 1952, and hoped to star Robert Mitchum in the screen adaptation. In April 1959, a Daily Variety news item announced that William Wellman was to direct, and that Wellman and Wald wanted Lindsay Crosby and David Ladd to star.
Although a June 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item states that Sammy Cahn was to team with Lionel Newman on the score, the extent of Cahn's contribution to the completed picture has not been determined. A July 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item adds that Teddy Rooney was initially slated to play "Spud McKinney." A July 1959 Hollywood Reporter news item announced that Craig Hill was being considered for a role, but his appearance in the released film has not been confirmed.
According to studio publicity contained in the film's publicity file at the AMPAS Library, location filming was done at the studio ranch in Malibu, CA and at Big Bear, CA. Hound-Dog Man marked the screen debut of pop singer and teen idol Fabian, who had a hit recording of the film's title song. In his autobiography, director Don Siegel stated that he was opposed to having Fabian sing in the film, but was overruled by Wald.