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The working title of this film was Trouble Shooter. According to a Los Angeles Examiner news item, writer J. R. Bren based his story on his own "years of experience as a trouble expert for a national telephone system." A June 10, 1933 Los Angeles Times news item reported that Warner Bros. claimed that it had prior rights to Bren's original story, as well as to two other stories that Twentieth Century intended to film. Producer Darryl Zanuck maintained that his studio owned the rights, and the news item stated: "Crux of the situation seems to center around Zanuck's leaving of Warner Brothers, and embarking on independent production." It has not been determined if Warner Bros. took any legal action to prove their claim. The earthquake scenes were a recreation of the March 10, 1933 earthquake at Long Beach, during which over 5,000 people were injured or killed. The scene in which Spencer Tracy, who was loaned to Twentieth Century by Fox, is caught in the earthquake, has been included in numerous documentaries on both Hollywood filmmaking history and earthquakes.