"Hayride" (music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Johnny Mercer), a duet by Judy Garland and Ray Bolger, was prerecorded but not filmed. The song can be heard on both the soundtrack CD from Rhino and the DVD from Warner Home Video.
Judy Garland missed 11 days of shooting and was late 40 times.
Virginia O'Brien is noticeably absent from the second half of the film, right after her "Wild, Wild West" number, because she was pregnant during filming.
Virginia O'Brien was pregnant with daughter Terri during the filming, but delays caused by 'Judy Garland' made her condition harder and harder to conceal, which is why her character seems to disappear in the second half of the film.
Ray Bolger was burned by steam from the train during production of the "On The Atchison, Topeka And The Santa Fe" number.
Lucille Ball, Eve Arden and Ann Sothern were considered for the role of Em before Angela Lansbury was eventually cast.
Angela Lansbury was often hissed at in public after this film was released, simply because she played Judy Garland's rival and Garland was so beloved by the public.
Byron Harvey Jr., who plays the uncredited role of a train conductor who keeps good time, was the grandson of Fred Harvey and President of the Fred Harvey Company at the time of the filming.
Harry Warren and Johnny Mercer's unforgettable, Oscar-winning train song, "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" dominated the airwaves during and the summer and fall of 1945, several months before the film's national opening on January 18, 1946. Mr. Mercer's pairing with The Pied Pipers on Capitol Records entered the "Billboard" singles charts on July 5, 1945, and the disc kept hold for 16 weeks, claiming the number-one spot for seven solid weeks between July 28 and September 8. The movie's top-billed star, Judy Garland, teamed with The Merry Macs, had their Decca 78 arrive at "Billboard"'s tenth position during the week of September 20, 1945. Another couple of versions charted high in "Billboard": Bing Crosby's Decca take, supported by Six Hits and a Miss, entered the singles list on July 19, 1945, staying for 10 weeks and rising to number four; plus Victor's release by Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, vocal by The Sentimentalists, a rendition housed on the listing for six weeks beginning August 2, 1945, a
Virginia Davis's final feature film.
Although Angela Lansbury is a fine singer in her own right, her voice was considered unsuitable for the character she played, a low-down saloon singer, and as a result all of her singing in the film was dubbed by Virginia Rees. Cyd Charisse, who had her first speaking role in the film, also had her singing dubbed, by Marion Doenges.
In the big production number "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe", from Judy Garland's entrance until the tempo change is one take. Rumor has it they only shot it twice and she was dead on both times.
Maule confesses to Alma that he is afraid of horses, but in real life Virginia O'Brien was afraid of horses.
Originally conceived as a drama for Lana Turner and Clark Gable, producer Arthur Freed decided instead to attempt a vintage Americana musical after the success of the stage show "Oklahoma!". After Gable returned from serving a tour of duty in the Air Force, Freed attempted to pair him with Judy Garland (who famously had a hit song with "Dear Mr. Gable/You Made Me Love You"). Gable was instead put in a drama, Adventure with Greer Garson. Gene Kelly was briefly considered to co-star before John Hodiak was eventually cast.
Originally intended for release on Decca's boxed album of selections from the Harry Warren-Johnny Mercer score, "March of the Doagies," featuring Judy Garland, Kenny Baker and Kay Thompson's chorus, plus the first half of "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" with the Thompson chorus, both were omitted from the album. In the CD era, these two takes have been restored on a Garland collection from MCA called "The Complete Decca Original Cast Recordings," which also contains Decca re-creations of the scores from Girl Crazy and Meet Me in St. Louis.
The Harvey House restaurants were established by Fred Harvey in 1870 to provide good, inexpensive food and lodging in clean, elegant surroundings for travelers in the western United States. At the chain's peak, there were some 84 Harvey Houses throughout seven states, all operated in conjunction with the Santa Fe Railroad.
The setting of the story in "Sandrock" and the design of the Harvey House sets that stood on MGM's Back Lot #3 and on the sound stage for this film were inspired by the Castaneda Harvey House in Las Vegas, New Mexico, which still stands as a National and State Historic Landmark of New Mexico, along the old Santa Fe tracks and just to the north of that town's current Amtrak station. Amtrak's Southwest Chief still stops at the station, but the Castaneda is vacant and fenced off. Although the studio sets were constructed of wood, elements from the Castaneda's basic exterior architecture and of the interior dining room were applied to the set designs for this film. A few of the historic incidents that had occurred at the Castaneda were incorporated into the script. A large outcrop of rock such as that where Susan Bradley (Judy Garland) and Ned Trent (John Hodiak) meet can be seen from the Castaneda across a small prairie. The balcony upon which Garland, Cyd Charisse and Virginia O'Brien share a song is a replication of the Castaneda's street-side second-floor balcony. And yes, a saloon once existed directly across the street from the Castaneda in a building which is now abandoned. All of the sets from the
Two musical numbers (music by Harry Warren, lyrics by Johnny Mercer), "March of the Doagies" and "My Intuition", the former a Judy Garland production number with a reprise, the latter a Garland-John Hodiak duet, were deleted from the film before its release. The first "March of the Doagies" can be viewed in the film That's Entertainment! III and both numbers (including the "Doagies" reprise) can be viewed in the special features section of The Harvey Girls DVD and in the "That's Entertainment" Box Set.