Columbia Pictures' original plan was to make the film version of the 1953 Broadway hit "Wonderful Town," which had been based on the Columbia property My Sister Eileen (1942). Whereas Rosalind Russell had starred in both the original Columbia film and the stage musical, the studio wanted "Wonderful Town" specifically for its reigning comedy star Judy Holliday. However, the asking price for the rights to the Leonard Bernstein/Betty Comden/Adolph Green score was so steep that Columbia decided to pass on the stage show and go ahead with its own version, keeping the original title, which they already owned, and commissioning a new score from Jule Styne and Leo Robin. Ironically, by the time the wheels were in motion, Holliday was committed to a Broadway show of her own, Bells Are Ringing (1956), and Russell was tied up with the stage version of Auntie Mame (1956) -- all of which paved the way for Betty Garrett stepping into the role of Ruth. Garrett was a surprise choice, as she had been off the screen for several years following the termination of her MGM contract, and she was primarily appearing in nightclubs and summer stock with her husband Larry Parks, whose career had crumbled following the McCarthy-era blacklist. Though she received third billing (Janet Leigh was top-billed) and lacked the star quality of Holliday or Russell, My Sister Eileen was inarguably the finest hour of her career. In a further twist, once filming was completed, Garrett returned to New York to step in for Judy Holliday while she took her two-week vacation from Bells Are Ringing. Meantime, Wonderful Town finally came to the screen in 1958, albeit on television, in a faithful, complete two-hour broadcast that allowed Russell to reprise and preserve her Tony Award-winning performance, and prompted Columbia Records to release a sound track album from the show -- a further irony, as no sound track album was released for My Sister Eileen.