One scene called for Shirley Temple to slap Jane Withers. Temple repeatedly refused to do so, but after much coercion from director David Butler, she finally slapped Withers so hard that both girls burst into tears.
After filming was completed, director David Butler gave Shirley Temple the doll that had belonged to Jane Withers's character (which was much nicer than the one that belonged to Temple's own character). This was the beginning of Temple's doll collection, which would become famous.
Director David Butler auditioned over thirty girls for the role of snobby Joy Smythe. When he heard Jane Withers's imitation of a machine gun, he signed her on the spot and sent the rest of the girls home.
Shirley Temple's mother Gertrude Temple worried that Jane Withers would steal the spotlight from her daughter in this movie, and she tried to convince director David Butler to minimize Withers's role. Butler refused, saying that Withers's bratty, spoiled character would increase audience sympathy for Shirley.
Director David Butler wrote the story based on an incident that happened in his childhood. His parents had advertised for a live-in maid, and a woman answered the ad who had just arrived from Scotland. She had a little girl and was separated from her husband - an unusual circumstance at the time - and said she wouldn't take the job unless her daughter was allowed to live in the house with her, also an unusual circumstance at the time. Butler's parents agreed, and the woman and her daughter moved in with the family.
While filming the scene in which James Dunn and Shirley Temple bail out of an airplane during a storm, someone entered the sound stage through an air-tight door. The wind and rain machines vacuumed toward this opening, sucking Dunn and Temple's parachute with it. The two were dragged across the floor and crashed into collapsed chairs.
Shirley Temple was presented with the first Academy Award ever given to a child for her role as Shirley Blake. She was then the youngest person to ever be listed in Who's Who, and was also the youngest person to ever be spotlighted on the cover of TIME Magazine.
In the 1970's, Jane Withers told author Marjorie Rosen that she had got the part in "Bright Eyes" as a result of an open audition. All the other girls who auditioned had been carefully coached by their parents to act sweet and nice, trying to out-Shirley Temple Shirley Temple. Withers' parents were smarter; they realized that if Fox wanted another girl Temple's age for a Temple film, it would be to play a bad girl to Temple's good girl. So they coached Withers to play bad, and she got the part.