Living It Up was based on the 1953 Broadway musical Hazel Flagg , which was based on the 1937 David O. Selznick-United Artists film Nothing Sacred (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). Nothing Sacred , in turn, was suggested by the short story "Letter to the Editor" by James H. Street. Nothing Sacred , which was directed by William Wellman, was written by Ben Hecht, who also wrote the book for Hazel Flagg and receives onscreen credit for Living It Up . Carole Lombard played the dying "Hazel" in the 1937 film and Fredric March portrayed "Wally." Sig Ruman played "Dr. Egelhofer" in both the 1937 and 1954 pictures. Dancer Sheree North (1933-2005), in her first significant screen role, also played the star jitterbugger in Hazel Flagg . Only three songs from the Broadway show are performed in Living It Up -"Every Street's a Boulevard in Old New York," "How Do You Speak to an Angel?" and "You're Gonna Dance with Me." A snippet of the show's song "Who Is the Bravest" is also heard in the film. HR news items add the following actors to the cast of Living It Up : Hazel Boyne, Philo McCollough, Tom Tutwiler, Jack Gaines, Jr., Stuart Holmes, Lucille Lamarr, Lou Brown, Bill Roberts, Helen Dickson, Millicent Patrick and Jane Easton. The appearance of these actors in the final film has not been confirmed. According to a 26 Apr 1954 LAT item, a special preview of the picture was held at George Air Base near Victorville, CA. As noted in a 16 Jul 1954 HR news item, the film then had a special two-day premiere in Atlantic City. Modern sources claim that, at Jerry Lewis' behest, the film was screened in Jun 1954 at the Brown Hotel, where Lewis had performed as a teenager, at Loch Sheldrake in the Catskill Mountains. The picture was re-released in Sep 1965. (AFI)
The Desert Hole, N. M. town set was erected along the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad in the Mojave Desert about 20 miles from Barstow, California, near Highway 466. The railroad brought a "Chief" passenger train consist from Chicago for the shoot. The location filming took place between 18 and 23 October 1953, according to an article in the San Bernardino,Sun on 23 October.
Inside joke; as the plane approaches New York Homer is asked what he thinks of New York. He responds that he feels as if he's lived there all his life, adding "I feel as if I were coming home". Jerry Lewis was born across the river in New Jersey and, up to 1954, had lived most of his life in the greater New York area.
Although shot in academy 1.37:1 aspect ratio (for later television airing) the theatrical -- or *intended* (by the studio, producer, director and/or cinematographer) -- aspect ratio of this film is 1.85:1 widescreen. Most modern 16x9 (1.77:1) televisions have a "zoom to width" picture option, essentially allowing the viewer to see the film as the director and cinematographer originally planned. It is easy to spot films shot this way since all the titles and credits will still fit when properly cropped (they stay in the "middle" of the frame vertically), and there is an unusual amount of "headroom" above the actors in medium and close-up shots when viewed uncropped. Quite often "mistakes" -- like seeing equipment in the top or bottom of the uncropped frame -- would never have been seen by a theater audience.