Although his characterization of Mrs. Hardy's brother is a highlight among fans, Charley Chase hated the part as being too far removed form his usual screen character. Ironically, he repeats this type of character in The Heckler (1940), one of his last, and most critically acclaimed, shorts.
Three decades after the movie's release, its motif inspired the creation of an "international Laurel and Hardy appreciation society," named after the movie and created by Stan Laurel and his biographer John McCabe.
The music under the opening credits also underscores the MGM film "Faithless" made a year earlier. This would make sense. Producer Hal Roach released through Metro, so the "Sons" music appears to be a simple lift.
Hal Roach said in later years that William A. Seiter had more control than any of Laurel & Hardy's other directors. He described Seiter as "genial, competent, and the kind of director who had a good sense of building the story while also focusing hard on characterization."
Among the stories planted by studio publicists was one stating that during production, cast and crew formed their own "Sons of the Desert" fraternal order, electing Stan Laurel "High Factotum" and Oliver Hardy "Good Knight." Bill Seiter, according to the story, was named "Sergeant Without Arms."
The film's comic take on marital discord mirrored the far more serious and stressful domestic problems that Laurel & Hardy were experiencing at the time. Bill Seiter was also in the process of splitting from his first wife, actress Laura La Plante. Charley Chase also had numerous difficulties at home because of his drinking.
According to studio publicity releases, scenes had to be reshot frequently because director and crew would often break up in laughter over the stars' antics. The story went on to assert that Stan Laurel's expression in the scene with Charley Chase was so funny "that it completely upset the equanimity of Hardy, and it was several minutes before the latter was able to regain his composure." According to film historian Richard W. Bann (a specialist on the films produced by Hal Roach Studios), Hal Roach recalled in 1979 how often such things happened on set. "I was never upset that it was costing me money," he said. "I was upset that we couldn't use some of the funniest scenes we saw every day," the ones that were ruined by cast or crew members breaking up.
At the time of filming, Oliver Hardy was estranged from his wife Myrtle (with whom he reconciled, briefly) and rumoured to be seeing Lillian DeBorba, mother of child actress Dorothy DeBorba. Lillian was drafted into being an extra to fill a seat in the movie theater scene and was seated in front of Mae Busch and Dorothy Christy (who play Hardy's and Laurel's wives).
In the early 1960s, Stan Laurel told actor Chuck McCann (a Laurel & Hardy devotee and Oliver Hardy impersonator), that he found Charley Chase to be an easy-going, delightful person to work with and know, and much quieter than his screen image suggested. Laurel mentioned how during a rehearsal, he reached for what he thought was his glass of water and grabbed Chase's by mistake, finding instead a tumbler full of gin. (Chase was a known alcoholic.)
During the shooting, Stan Laurel was also seeing someone else, Virginia Ruth Rogers, even though his divorce from his first wife was not yet final. Rogers even filled in as a crowd scene extra and also stood closely by during the filming of the rooftop downpour scene. As the soaking wet Laurel finished shooting, she threw a towel around him, rushed him to his dressing room, ran a hot shower, and made him a hot toddy of whiskey, lemon and sugar. She said Laurel began to cry in gratitude, noting how his wife never took any interest in his work or showed her concern for him in that way. Rogers later became his second (and fourth!) wife.
According to the pressbook for the film and a Hollywood Reporter news item, extras in the newsreel footage of the convention parade included members of the Glendale post of the American Legion, the Hollywood American Legion, and the Santa Monica Elks Lodge.
In the original script, the parade scene was to have included an extended sequence of the boys causing mayhem as they participate in - and subsequently ruin- a bicycle procession. The scene was not used in the movie.
The number of extras wasn't the only thing to push up the cost of shooting the parade scene. To modernize the available backlot sets to look more like contemporary Chicago, $25,000 was spent on refurbishing three blocks of the studio's "New York street." Four crews built new buildings and store fronts over the course of nine days. The job went $10,000 over budget after set decorations, asphalt repaving and lighting were added.