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The working title of this film was Oh, Charlie. The picture was originally scheduled to be Abbott and Costello's second release of 1941, but with the unexpected success of Buck Privates (see entry above), Universal decided in April 1941 to hold back the film and release In the Navy first, as it was also a military comedy with high production values. Hollywood Reporter reported on April 7, 1941 that Universal had decided to upgrade Oh, Charlie with additional sequences featuring the Andrews Sisters and Ted Lewis and His Orchestra. This announcement also stated that one sequence would be based on George Gershwin's "Rhapsody in Blue," but that musical number did not appear in the released film. The additional sequences were shot in mid-May 1941, and actor Mischa Auer was added to the cast. According to Variety, Burt Kelly was the original associate producer on the film, but left the studio to take a similar position at Paramount when the film was in its initial editing stages. For the additional material, Universal assigned Glenn Tryon to replace Kelly as the associate producer.
In June 1941, The film was retitled Hold That Ghost and its release was set for August 1941, following the success of In the Navy. On August 19, 1941, Hollywood Reporter stated that the film had opened to "100% capacity crowds," despite "luke warm reviews." Modern sources claim that after actress Evelyn Ankers' deal with Twentieth-Century Fox collapsed, she signed a seven-year contract with Universal and was then cast in this picture. In a modern interview, director Arthur Lubin stated that he was assigned to Hold That Ghost only after the success of the Buck Privates preview, and that he was paid $5,000 to start directing it the very next day. Modern sources also state that the final budget of this film was $190,000. Modern sources credit Alex Gottlieb as produer and John Rawlins as 2nd unit director for the production and add Janet Shaw (Alderman's girl), Frank Richards (Gunman), Bobby Barber (Waiter), Harry Wilson (Harry), Jeanne Blanche ("Pretty Thing"), and Kay, Kay & Katya (Dancers) to the cast.