The four songs included in the film were originally intended for an M-G-M Technicolor musical version of "Huckleberry Finn" which was supposed to have been filmed in 1952, but was never made. It was supposed to have starred Dean Stockwell as Huck, William Warfield (fresh from his triumph as Joe in Show Boat (1951)) as Jim, and Gene Kelly and Danny Kaye as the two con men. The film was abandoned because Kelly wanted to take advantage of a tax deal that required that he work in Europe for eighteen months.
The riverboat used in the first scene is the one which was especially built for MGM's 1951 Technicolor remake of Show Boat (1951) and originally used in that film. It was also used in the films Raintree County (1957) and Advance to the Rear (1964).