For the "Baby, Take a Bow" number with James Dunn, the studio felt it would be easier for Shirley Temple to do the dance she had done at her audition rather than learn a new one, so Temple spent her first day on the set giving Dunn dancing lessons.
The dress that Shirley Temple wore during the "Baby, Take a Bow" number (a white organza with red polka-dots and a full skirt that became her trademark) was her own. Her mother, Gertrude Temple, thought that she would feel more comfortable wearing one of her own dresses, rather than one from the costume department.
Tess Gardella who appears in a "specialty number" in the film, and Sammy Lee, who choreographed it, previously worked together in both the 1927 original Broadway version of "Show Boat" and the 1932 revival. Tess Gardella, in blackface, played the African-American cook Queenie in both productions, which Lee choreographed.