powered by AFI
The working title of this film was Meal Ticket. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Department, the story was originally submitted by Gene Towne and Graham Baker, who were on loan to Fox from Twentieth Century Pictures, to the studio early in 1934, after Colonel Jason Joy, a Fox official, said they were badly in need of a story for Shirley Temple. At the time, Temple was to co-star with Spencer Tracy and Helen Twelvetrees, and David Butler was to direct, according to an unidentified news item dated June 1934 in the M-G-M Story Department card files at the AFI Library. The subsequent film that was made with Temple, Bright Eyes, did not credit Towne and Baker, and as it bears no resemblance to this film, it May have been completely rewritten or the story for this film May have been significantly changed from Towne and Baker's story. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item in June 1935, Meal Ticket was to be a composite of three stories; "The World Owes Me a Living," an original by Lou Breslow and Sid Brod, was to be the basis for one of the episodes.
Location work was done at Whittier, Sherwood Forest, and at a ranch near Fullerton, all of which are in California. According to a Hollywood Reporter news item, Withers, who was signed by Fox originally for $125 a week, was making $200 a week until This Is the Life was completed, after which her contract was to be readjusted to give her more per week reflecting her growing popularity. According to a Daily Variety news item, Withers came up with the final title for the film. Film Daily lists Ralf Harolde, Nick Lucas, Fritzi Brunette, and Jayne Hovig as additional cast members, but their participation has not been confirmed by any other source. According to the pressbook for the film, this marked Harry C. Bradley's 3,000th role as a clergyman. The pressbook also noted that "the largest number of juvenile actors and actresses ever to be used in a motion picture-260 in all-were employed" in the film, and that David Buttolph, who conducted orchestras on coast-to-coast radio shows, made his motion picture debut as musical director in this film. Fox produced a film with the same title in 1917, and there have been at least two other films with this title, a 1933 British film and a 1944 Universal film, but none are based on the same source as this film.