For the most famous sequence in the film, Mickey Mouse was originally meant to be the dance partner of Gene Kelly. However, when Walt Disney refused to have his most famous character appear in an MGM film. Kelly turned to MGM's own animation studio and used Jerry Mouse of Tom and Jerry fame. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the writer/directors of MGM's "Tom and Jerry" cartoons, supervised the animation for the sequence. The scene initially didn't work as the animators had forgotten to add shadows for Jerry's dances with Kelly. Additional moneys had to be allocated to cover the 10,000 new drawings that would be required.
When the dance sequence with Gene Kelly and Jerry the Mouse was screened for MGM executives, someone noticed that although Kelly's reflection shone on the floor during his dancing, Jerry's did not. This required animators William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and their team to go back in and draw Jerry's reflection on the floor as he was dancing.
It took Frank Sinatra eight weeks to learn the dance routine for the berthing area scene. Ultimately it took 72 takes to get the right footage, though this was probably more down to Gene Kelly's meticulous need for perfection rather than Sinatra's inexperience as a dancer. Sinatra later said that he could have made an entire film in eight weeks.
George Stoll won the Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture for his work on the film. Stoll died in 1985 and his Oscar was part of an estate sale in 2001. It was secretly purchased by Kevin Spacey for $156, 875 who then returned it to the Academy.
Although many have said that a longstanding resentment between the two leads was started during this project, there is little to no evidence to suggest this. Quite the opposite, it was this film that started a lasting friendship between Sinatra and Kelly that spawned two other film projects.
The cartoon segment was originally planned to feature Mickey Mouse but agreement with the Disney Studios couldn't be reached. Walt Disney himself wasn't averse to the idea but his brother and business partner, Roy Edward Disney, nixed the prospect, saying the studio had no business making cartoons for other studios.
Released as a moral booster for the US Navy. While WWII was clearly coming to an end in Europe, it was still raging in the Pacific where the Navy was actively engaged against the Japanese. The opening sequence of the film is clearly designed to make the nation feel good about its naval forces.
Legend has it that this film saw the birth of a longstanding resentment between Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly as Sinatra took umbrage at the way Kelly dominated so many of their numbers together. (At this point, Sinatra had failed to make much of a mark as a film actor and saw this as his big break, something that was ultimately denied him by Kelly's dynamic performance.) Although the two would go on to make two more films together, Sinatra never forgot being upstaged on Anchors Aweigh (1945) and would get his revenge many years later when he denied Kelly a role in Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964).
One of the reasons why Roy Edward Disney talked Walt Disney out of allowing MGM to use Mickey Mouse in the animated sequence was because the Disney Studios were deeply in debt at the end of the Second World War. Roy, the more business-minded of the Disney brothers, argued that the studio needed to concentrate on building up its own product, instead of loaning it out to their rivals.
This film was first telecast in Los Angeles on KTTV (Channel 11) Friday 4 January 1957, in New York City on WCBS (Channel 2) 7 March 1958, and in San Francisco on KGO-TV (Channel 7) 9 April 1958 . At this time, color broadcasting was in its infancy, limited to only a small number of high rated programs, primarily on NBC and NBC affiliated stations, so these film showings were all still in B&W. Viewers were not offered the opportunity to see these films in their original Technicolor until several years later.
According to their campaign ribbons, besides the Silver Star, the characters depicted by Kelly and Sinatra earned an American Campaign medal for deployment outside the continental United States, and an Asiatic Pacific medal for service in that theater of operations.
The campaign ribbons worn by Kelly and Sinatra throughout the film symbolize the Silver Star for heroism (which they receive at the film's beginning), The American Campaign medal for overseas deployment, and the Asiatic Pacific medal for deployment to the Pacific Theater. The two stars on their Asiatic Pacific medals indicate they had fought in two major battles.