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The working titles of this film were I Love That Man and Bowery Nightingale. It was based on the unpublished original story "I Love That Man" by Jerry Horwin and John Larkin, that was inspired by the life of the Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Roy Del Ruth was originally slated to direct the picture but quit over differences with studio officials. Materials contained in Twentieth Century-Fox Produced Scripts Collection at the UCLA Theater Arts Library disclose that the studio had originally intended to star Eddie Cantor in the film. Story conferences with Darryl F. Zanuck add that Sid Silvers was to have written a "stooge" routine for the script and Jule Styne was to have worked with Mack Gordon and Harry Revel on vocal arrangements. The participation of Stein and Silver in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a news item in Hollywood Reporter, Joyce Compton replaced Marie Wilson in the role of "Peggy" when Wilson became ill after four days of shooting. Other news items in Hollywood Reporter note that the picture was to feature twenty-two songs and that vaudeville performers The Biltmorettes, Maxwell Turk, Lurline Uller, Igor and Tanya, The Sophisticates, Marvin Jensen, and Stanley and White were signed to appear in the Greenwich Village number. A $75,000 set of Madison Square Gardens was erected at Fox's Western Ave. studios for this picture. The studio also used new, lightweight cameras in filming this picture.
According to other news items in Hollywood Reporter, Nicky Arnstein, who was Fanny Brice's husband, asked the Superior Court to prevent Fox from showing this picture because it was embarassing to him. The studio paid Arnstein $25,000 to settle the suit. Other films based on the life of Fanny Brice were the 1968 Columbia film Funny Girl, starring Barbra Streisand and Omar Shariff and directed by William Wyler; and its 1975 Columbia sequel Funny Lady, also starring Streisand and Shariff and directed by Herbert Ross.