A song written specifically for Doris Day, "The Man Who Invented Love" (music and lyrics by Richard Adler), was ultimately deleted in favor of the standard reprise of "Hey There." Day's recording of "The Man Who Invented Love" can be heard on the soundtrack's CD issue, and the deleted film footage can be seen on Warner Home Video's DVD release.
Jack Warner optioned the film rights to both The Pajama Game (1957) and Damn Yankees (1958) with the idea of teaming stage director George Abbott and film director Stanley Donen to ensure both a faithful transfer and a cinematic rendition of the original shows. In each case, Warner was willing to import the entire original cast for the film version as long as one of the leading roles was played by a bankable movie star. For The Pajama Game (1957), the initial plan was to cast Frank Sinatra as Sid, pairing him with Janis Paige, who played Babe on Broadway. When Sinatra turned down the role, Warners decided to retain John Raitt from the stage version, playing opposite the studio's resident nightingale, Doris Day. This move cost Paige the movie, but she bounced back quickly, securing a showy role in MGM's film version of Silk Stockings (1957), which she effectively stole out from under Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse.
One of the main problems in the factory is that the workers want a 7-1/2 cent raise and are willing to go on strike to get it. Nowadays this doesn't seem like much, but the average mill/garment worker in 1954 (when the play was written) made on average about $1.25 an hour, or about $50 a week. The raise would add $3.00 to each paycheck, so the 7-1/2 cents would be about a 16% increase.
John Raitt's only leading film role. While he cut an undeniably dashing and muscular figure on screen, and possessed a high baritone unlike any other, Raitt's wooden acting and utter lack of screen presence dashed any hopes of further movie roles.
Despite being a faithful rendition of the stage show, the film version deleted six numbers from the Broadway production: "A New Town is a Blue Town," "Her Is," "Think of the Time I Save," "Sleep-Tite," "Jealousy Ballet" and "The World Around Us." The last of these made it as far as opening night but was deleted shortly thereafter, not even being recorded for the show's original cast album.
In her autobiography, Doris Day recounted how, as one of only four cast members who hadn't appeared in the Broadway production, it was challenging to fall into the groove of a company that had been playing the show for more than one thousand performances together. She described the experience as trying to find her place in a well-oiled machine.
Nearly the entire cast was imported from the original Broadway production, with the exception of Doris Day as Babe, Barbara Nichols as Poopsie, Jack Straw as Prez and Kenneth LeRoy, who took over Peter Gennaro's dance role, as Gennaro had been drafted by Jerome Robbins to serve as assistant choreographer on "West Side Story."
Following completion of filming, Kenneth LeRoy, who along with Buzz Miller backs Carol Haney in "Steam Heat" and "Once-a-Year Day," would return to New York and begin rehearsals for Broadway's "West Side Story," in which he memorably created the role of Bernardo.