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A 3 May 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item states that producer Hank McCune changed the title of his production company, Telecraft Productions, to Pacific Coast Pictures, with Wetbacks slated as the company's first film. Information contained in the file on the film in the MPAA/PCA collection at the AMPAS Library lists George J. Waldman Co. in association with the production of Wetbacks; however, no further information has been found to determine the nature of their involvement.
According to a May 3, 1955 Hollywood Reporter news item, the film's interiors were to be shot at Westfilm Studios. A May 24, 1955 Daily Variety news item stated that filming began on May 4, 1955 on Catalina Island, but was halted after approximately two weeks due to a labor dispute between McCune and the actors. The actors protested that according to their SAG contracts, McCune owed them nine hundred dollars in back salaries. McCune was not allowed to resume shooting until the back salaries were paid, and certified checks for advance salaries for the actors as well as other guild and union members were issued. Production restarted in early July 1955. According to the film's pressbook, filming also took place in Mexico, while Hollywood Reporter production charts additionally list San Pedro, CA. The technical director, Lt. Commander R. C. Cannon, was an officer in the United States Coast Guard Reserve. Contemporary sources note that the Coast Guard provided the production with technical advice and equipment.