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The closing credits begin with the following line: "We gratefully acknowledge the cooperation of the California sports car club." Los Angeles Examiner reported in August 1953 that the film originally was to depict a race car driver so determined to win a race that he drives recklessly. Although Paul Kelly's character is listed as "Jim Scott" in the closing credits, he is called "William H. Scott" within the film. Johnny Dark marked Ilka Chase's first feature film appearance since the 1948 Paramount picture Miss Tatlock's Millions (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1941-50). A November 1953 Hollywood Reporter news item reported that director George Sherman was forced to shoot around Piper Laurie after she collapsed from a virus.
According to 1953 Hollywood Reporter news items, much of the film was shot on location between Canada and Mexico, as well as in Toledo, OH and the Packard Motor Car Company in Detroit, MI. In 1964, Universal produced The Lively Set, which was loosely based on Johnny Dark and was directed by Jack Arnold and starred James Darren and Pamela Tiffen.