Adapted from a musical play by George M. Cohan. The original stage production opened at the Liberty Theatre in New York on November 13, 1922 and ran for 248 performances. Most of the story was rewritten for the film, and only two of the songs from the play were used, "Nellie is a Darling" and "Nellie Kelly I Love You".
Judy's sister, Virginia, visited the set on the day that Nellie's death scene was shot. When Virginia saw Judy in full make up laying on the hospital bed, looking so frightfully close to death, she had trouble looking at her.