In 1959, in one of the biggest scandals to hit Hollywood up to that time, beloved couple Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds divorced when Fisher left Reynolds for Elizabeth Taylor. This film marked the first time Reynolds and Taylor had acted in a scene together since before that scandal.
Shirley MacLaine said of the shoot, "It was my best time ever in making a film." She went on to claim that none of the actresses were ever late to the set, "not even Elizabeth" and they worked from 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. every day.
Even with the stars attached, Elizabeth Taylor and Carrie Fisher couldn't get any studios interested in shooting the script as a feature film. Fisher remarked that studio executives believed the only audience the movie would attract is "a group of seniors huddled around the TV at the nursing home".
The finale musical production number took 16 hours to film. According to TV Guide, Shirley MacLaine became annoyed by a buzzing sound, left and refused to return to the set. Eventually she did return to rehearse and soon tripped on the steps and fell. Cast and crew members rushed to her side, except for Joan Collins, who took the break as an opportunity to check her makeup.
When asked how she felt about being known as an "old broad," Shirley MacLaine told Us Weekly, "I've been a broad since I was 3." Joan Collins seems to have researched her answer more thoroughly, claiming, "The dictionary's definition of broad is babe, chick, dame, dish, doll or tootsie. I don't mind being called any of those!" Debbie Reynolds quipped "I'm not 'broad' in the sense of my rear end, but I do love being an old broad." Referencing costar Elizabeth Taylor Reynolds concluded, "England made Elizabeth a 'dame,' so in America, let's give the title 'broad!'.
Although her co-stars donned fake jewels, Elizabeth Taylor wore her own in the film. Recalled executive producer Ilene Amy Berg, "The first scene she did with her sapphire and diamond bracelet and earrings and wearing the diamond that Richard Burton had given her. By the time we did her last scene the necklace was ready, so she wore that as well".
Elizabeth Taylor remained seated for most of her performance and was wheeled onto the set in a chair. "I can't walk a long distance so everybody sees me in a wheelchair and thinks I'm sick," she told TV Guide. "If you had broken your back three times, you couldn't stand very long [either]."