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According to Variety, Universal paid $200,000 for the film rights to Philip Dunning and George Abbott's play. In January 1941, Hollywood Reporter announced that Universal had cast George Raft in the planned production Tango, under the freelance provision of his Warner Bros. contract. That film, however, was never made. In late 1941, Warner Bros. loaned Raft to Universal to co-star with Rosalind Russell in a Bruce Manning production Marriage of Inconvenience, under the direction of William Seiter. That project, too, was canceled when Universal was unable to schedule the film around the demands of the actress. Consequently, Universal announced in December 1941 that is was remaking of Broadway, with Raft, Seiter and Manning. In April 1942, Raft told the New York Times that he agreed to pay Warner Bros., with whom he had been feuding for eight months over his refusal of roles, $27,000 of his Universal salary in order to do this film. According to New York Times, Warner Bros. later used that money to borrow actor Robert Cummings from Universal "free of charge."
In February 1942, Hollywood Reporter announced that actress Marjorie Lord, who had recently been signed to a contract by Universal, was being tested for the female lead in this film, but that role later went to Janet Blair, who was borrowed from Columbia for the production. Universal borrowed director of photography George Barnes from independent producer David O. Selznick. Associate producer Frank Shaw headed the unit that went on location to New York for two weeks in early February 1942 to shoot background footage for the film, and, according to Universal publicity materials, he battled "weather, crowds and civic restrictions" in trying to get film of the new, "wartime" Broadway. In late March 1942, Hollywood Reporter stated that actor Broderick Crawford had been brought back to the production for additional scenes, as the studio had decided to "build up his part." Universal first filmed the play in 1929 under the same title; that part-Technicolor sound film starred Glen Tryon and Evelyn Brent and was directed by Paul Fejor (See AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.0612). It was later adapted to television in 1955, as part of Westinghouse's "The Best of Broadway" series for CBS, starring Joseph Cotten and Piper Laurie, and directed by Franklin Schaffner. George Raft and Janet Blair reprised their roles in a November 30, 1942 Lux Radio Theatre broadcast.