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The working titles of this film were The Flying Teakettle, U.S.S. Teakettle, Here Comes the Fleet and The Floating Teakettle. The picture was reviewed and released in New York under the title U.S.S. Teakettle, but the title was changed to You're in the Navy Now in early March 1951. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, the title was changed in the hope that it would "prove more appealing and allow for stronger exploitation."
After the film's opening credits, a written statement declares: "War is a never-ending series of experiments with equipment, machines and men. Research runs from bombs-atomic, all the way down to pickles-how to package. In the early years of World War II, the Navy Department, among its thousands of other projects, had one known as XP11204." At the film's conclusion, another written statement acknowledges the Navy's help: "It is obvious that this picture could not have been attempted without the cooperation of the Department of Defense and the United States Navy. We wish to express our gratitude to the personnel who so willingly and cheerfully aided us in the making of it."
John W. Hazard's article was based on his experiences as executive officer and navigator, and later captain, of the PC-452, an experimental submarine chaser tested during World War II. The ship, which was put into commission in July 1943, was equipped with "two ultra-modern, experimental steam boilers" and staffed by inexperienced men. Hazard himself was a newspaperman at the time of his appointment to the ship, which became known as The Flying Teakettle. After many unsuccessful trial runs, some of which ended in near-disaster, the ship was de-commissioned in December 1944.
The Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department, located at the UCLA Arts-Special Collections Library, reveal that Richard Sale and Mary Loos prepared an adaptation of Hazard's story in early March 1950, although their work was not incorporated into the completed screenplay. According to a March 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item, the picture was originally to star William Lundigan. Although a December 1950 Hollywood Reporter news item includes John Dugan in the cast, his appearance in the completed film has not been confirmed. Contemporary sources note that portions of the picture were shot on location at Newport News and Norfolk, VA. Although Hollywood Reporter production charts credit Robert Fritch as the film's editor, only James B. Clark is listed in the picture's onscreen credits. According to a June 1954 memo in the legal records, the film had a net loss of $122,000. The picture marked the screen debuts of actors Lee Marvin (1924-1987), Jack Warden (1920-2006) and Charles Bronson (1920-2003), who was known as Charles Buchinski at the time.
In March 1953, author Arthur Curtis filed a $100,000 lawsuit against the studio, claiming infringement upon the title of his 1944 novel Hey, Mac! You're in the Navy Now. In July 1953, a Superior Court jury ruled in favor of Twentieth Century-Fox. Curtis appealed the decision, but the studio again received a favorable judgment in April 1956 from the California District Court of Appeals.