"Lux Radio Theater" broadcast a 60 minute radio adaptation of the movie onJanuary 27, 1941 with Shirley Temple reprising her film role.
John Carradine as "East Indian" is in studio records/casting call lists for this movie, but he did not appear or was not identifiable. Both Gareth Joplin and Mary Carr were listed as cast members in a contemporary Hollywood Reporter production chart, but they were not in the movie either.
A scene in which Shirley Temple dances the hula was deleted after shocked test audiences said that the hula was immoral.
In his review of this film, author Graham Greene called it "sentimental, a little depraved, with an appeal interestingly decadent. Shirley Temple acts and dances with immense vigor and assurance, but some of her popularity seems to rest on a coquetry."
In one scene of this film, Shirley Temple's character is given a crane for her birthday. This crane continually pecked at cast and crew members, so a prop man nailed its webbed feet to the floor. Director David Butler insisted that this was not painful for the crane, and Shirley Temple later recalled that the crane never seemed to be suffering, even after the nails were removed. The local humane society learned of the incident and sent an agent to the set to investigate, but when the agent tried to get a closer look at the crane, it pecked at her, too.
The earliest script of the movie called for Captain January to die at the end, just before Star is taken away from him by her relatives: "On their final evening together, he allows her to light the lamp in the lighthouse something she has always wanted to do. She is unaware that the Captain has suffered a massive heart attack and is unable to carry out his duties. January sees the lamp lit and dies." Shirley Temple's producer, Darryl F. Zanuck, made extensive changes to this script.
The lobsters that appear in the background during the "At the Codfish Ball" sequence were real. To prevent them from crawling out of their baskets, the props crew cooked them, which turned them from their natural dark color to bright red. The crew painted them back to the original color, and as soon as the scene was completed, they cracked the lobsters opened and ate them on the spot.
Time Magazine noted that this film broke box office records in some major cities, including Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Boston and Baltimore.
When Star's lack of schooling is being questioned, Captain January says that he has taught her using "the Bible and Bowditch". "Bowditch" refers to "The American Practical Navigator" by Nathaniel Bowditch, first published in 1802. Over the years, the text has evolved with advances in navigation practices, and continues to be a valuable reference for marine navigation in modern times.