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According to the film's pressbook, at the age of thirteen, producer R. W. Alcorn was sent to the Indiana Boys' School for habitual truancy. He later made a fortune in the international grain markets and made the picture as an expression of gratitude toward the school. Certain scenes in Johnny Holiday were filmed at the school and Alcorn supplied uniforms and shoes for the three hundred youths who participated in the dress parade sequence. A Daily Variety news item reported that William Bendix took over the role of "Sarge," from Wallace Beery, who died during the film's pre-production phase.