The last live-action film that Walt Disney worked on. At the time of his death, the crew had completed principal photography, but post-production had not begun. It was with this film that the studio's trend of subjecting its live-action musicals wholesale cuts began. Radio City Music Hall, the site of the film's New York premiere, had a Disney-themed Christmas stage show and demanded cuts to accommodate it.
The real Anthony Drexel Biddle, Sr. (1874-1948), was a banking magnate and dyed-in-the-wool eccentric whose independent wealth allowed him to pursue such diverse ventures as physical culture (he boxed with Jack Johnson and taught boxing to Gene Tunney), theatricals, and religion. He served as a Colonel in the U.S. Marines in both World Wars. Cordelia Drexel Biddle's (1898-1984) marriage to Andrew Buchannan did not result in a happy ending. Although they had two sons, both of whom became prominent in business and diplomatic circles, the marriage ran into trouble, they were divorced within a few years, and Angier Duke died young, not long after that, in a boating accident. She co-wrote (with Kyle Crichton) the book upon which both the movie and play "The Happiest Millionaire" were based, "My Philadelphia Father". After her divorce from Angier Buchanan Duke (who, unlike his character in the movie, was actually more than a decade her senior), she made a far happier marriage to architect Thomas Robertson, a marriage which lasted until his death in 1962. Like her father, she enjoyed an active life devoted to many charitable activities. By most accounts, she was one of those women who grew more attractive as they grew older, prompting a reporter to state, "The aura of youth clinging to this illusion. It is no product that can be bought in a beauty shop or designer's salon. Hers is a youth that laughs at the insolent years..." Active almost to the end of her life, she died at her home in Southhampton, New York.
In the film, Cordelia Drexel Biddle is from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Angie Duke is from New York City. In real life, Lesley Ann Warren, who played Cordelia, was born in New York City, while John Davidson, who played Angie, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
After the film's initial release, this film went unseen for many years, without a theatrical re-release or even a TV screening on The Magical World of Disney (1954), until the 144-minute version was first released on video in the US in 1983.
Bill Walsh was the original choice for producer. He came up with the idea of making this film into a musical, but Walt Disney moved him onto Blackbeard's Ghost (1968) instead. Ironically, that film ended up out-grossing this one by a wide margin.
During the opening song there's a bit of business showing a man and woman each walking their respective dogs and getting tangled up in the leashes. This is an inside joke reference to an identical moment in the earlier Disney film 101 Dalmatians.