Loosely based on the story of the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, the New Orleans band that brought jazz and blues to national prominence in 1915-1917. Bing Crosby's character, Jeff Lambert, is based on clarinetist Alcide "Yellow" Nunez, the founder of the band. The cornetist, Memphis (Brian Donlevy), is based on the band's arrogant cornetist, Nick La Rocca. Trombonist Jack Teagarden, who appears in the film, was a member of the band for a time in the 1920's.
Though the movie is in black and white, in one scene, when Bing Crosby is singing "Shine On Harvest Moon" in a movie theater, a slide show being projected behind him is in full color, though Bing is still in black and white.