The house where Ken (Richard Egan) and Sylvia (Dorothy McGuire) lived toward the end of the film is an actual private residence that was built by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1948. It still stands today on Scenic Road in Carmel-by-the-Sea and is a prime feature in local tours.
Max Steiner's main theme for this film is probably his best-known after his "Tara Theme" for "Gone With the Wind." As with "Tara's Theme," it has remained a favorite ever since, with several charting recordings. Percy Faith's version (American Columbia: 1960) went to Number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1960, remaining in that position for 9 weeks, becoming both the Number One Instrumental Hit of the Rock Era and the first instrumental to win the Grammy for Record of the Year. Other charting versions were by Billy Vaughn (Dot: 1960, peaking at #2), the Lettermen (Capitol: 1965, using Mack Discant's lyrics and peaking at #16), and the Ventures (Liberty: 1969, at #83). Faith himself re-recorded it, shortly before his death in 1976, in a disco arrangement entitled "Summer Place '76."
While the events in the original novel take place over about twenty years (including a period where Ken buys a Florida motel and asks Bart and Sylvia to run it in the wintertime, putting them back on solid financial footing), the movie compresses events to a single year.
When Molly's father enters her boarding-school dorm room, a Smokey Bear poster can be seen on the door. The poster warns "Remember - only you can PREVENT FOREST FIRES!" (1:21:22). The term "FOREST FIRES" was replaced by the "WILDFIRES" on posters beginning in 2001.
The movie is set on an island off Maine, but was actually filmed in California, near Carmel. Troy Donohue, at the height of his fame, was frequently mobbed, and the little town was overrun with young star-struck girls.
According to his 1963 memoir "Wanderer", Sterling Hayden reluctantly accepted a co-starring role in the picture for $40,000 (approximately $314,000 in 2012 dollars). This took place after his ex-wife, Betty Ann de Noon, prevented him from sailing to Scandinavia in his sloop, "The Wanderer", with their four children. Hayden took the part to pay his legal bills from his three divorces from De Noon, and their prolonged child custody battle. A seasoned sailor, he had planned to film a documentary about the sea voyage as a means to leave Hollywood behind. He never made the picture, and appeared in only one TV show before making Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) four years later, following through on his plan to ditch Hollywood.
3 years after "A Summer Place" Constance Ford and Troy Donohue starred together in "Rome Adventure". Constance Ford was owner of the American Book Store in Rome where Suzanne Pleshette got a job. Troy Donohue was the man who fell in love with Suzanne.
The $2 the operator asks for an additional three minutes for the long distance call between Johnny and Molly equates to about $34.50 in 2017. This accurately depicts the cost of long distance telephone calls at the time - which were expensive and rare for the average citizen of that period.
The "Colony Airlines" plane Molly arrives on is a Convair 340 made in 1953, registration N73126. 1,181 of all variants were produced from 1947 until 1954. This particular aircraft initially flew for United Airlines, and then smaller carriers, and was finally scrapped c. 2000.
The U.S. Coast Guard motor lifeboat seen in the film, CG36387 is one of 218 36-foot boats built at the USCG Yard at Curtis Bay, Maryland from 1929 to 1987. One, the CG36500 is a museum ship at Orleans, Massachusetts as of 2017.