This tribute to Alfred Hitchcock contains references to more than 10 of his films: see the links to other titles. Mel Brooks held a private preview of the movie for Hitchcock to see his reaction. When Hitchcock walked out at movie's end without saying a word, Brooks feared that Hitchcock hated the movie. But days later, Hitchcock sent a congratulatory case of wine to Brooks, knowing that Brooks was a wine connoisseur.
The bird droppings were actually mayonnaise and chopped spinach. However, Mel Brooks reported to Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show" that the helicopter spraying the fake bird droppings scared the pigeons so much that he believed half of the bird droppings were real.
Ron Carey's character, Brophy, is obviously named after Edward Brophy, a character actor in the classic Hollywood era that played sidekicks in dozens of movies; he also imitates Brophy's distinctively nasal voice.
In yet another reference to Alfred Hitchcock, Dr. Thorndyke is told that a "Mr. MacGuffin" changed his room reservation. Hitchcock's MacGuffins were objects or devices which drove the plot but which were otherwise inconsequential and could be forgotten once they had served their purpose.
Mel Brooks performed a number of duties on this picture. Brooks performed the lead role of Richard H. Thorndyke, directed, produced, co-wrote the screenplay and for the title song was both composer and lyricist.
One of Mel Brooks' favorite routines was doing musical impressions of Frank Sinatra, and in this film he performs the song "High Anxiety" in an exaggerated version of Sinatra's singing style. Brooks wrote the song and lyrics.
In another Alfred Hitchcock reference, the location where Dr. Thorndyke is attacked in the phone booth beneath the Golden Gate Bridge is Fort Point, where the crucial water rescue scene takes place in Vertigo (1958).
During a special preview screening, Alfred Hitchcock's only criticism of the film to Mel Brooks, was, that in the shower scene, when the shower curtain is torn of the rail, they used 13 shower curtain rings, whereas in Psycho (1960), they only used 10.
Alfred Hitchcock proposed a scene for the film in which the killer would chase Thorndyke to the harbour, where Thorndyke would try to escape by taking a running jump onto a boat in the water... only to realise the boat was pulling in to the docks. Mel Brooks loved the idea, but was unable to film it due to budget and time constraints.
Dr. Richard Thorndyke (Mel Brooks) is "stabbed" by a rolled up newspaper as a spoof of the shower scene in Psycho (1960). Perhaps a newspaper was used because audiences for Psycho remember Marion Crane's (Janet Leigh) blood as being red, which would be impossible in b/w. This was a subconscious reaction of audiences because newsreels were in b/w and often showed bloody scenes. See trivia for Psycho.