Ascended Fan: Of a sort — Peter Falk had said that he had long been a fan of Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, and was overjoyed to work alongside him in this film.
Everybody Owns A Ford: Chrysler sponsored the film to showcase its 1963 lineup. Almost all the heroes drive Chryslers. One of Ethel Merman's lines was written with a Cadillac in mind ("We're the ones in the Imperial and we're running last?"), but was changed because Chrysler sponsored the film and not GM. It has a much more snobbish airs with a Cadillac.
Although, in an odd inversion of Retroactive Recognition, some of the cameos are by relatively minor character actors and TV personalities who might have been readily identifiable to 1963 audiences, but are all but forgotten today.
What Could Have Been: During the 1970s, Mad World producer/director Stanley Kramer considered reuniting much of the film's cast for a proposed movie titled The Sheiks of Araby. It's a Funny, Funny World, a Mad World sequel of sorts, was also proposed.
Several performers were considered for roles in early planning stages, or filmed scenes that were ultimately cut. They include:
Jackie Gleason and Red Skelton as two of the main players.
Skelton passed due to his television commitments. He eventually agreed to do a cameo, but was refused by Stanley Kramer after requesting too much money.
Lucille Ball, Imogene Coca, Martha Raye, and Joan Davis as some of the main players' female companions.
Mae West or Sophie Tucker as mother-in-law Mrs. Marcus.
Donald O'Connor as Benjy Benjamin.
Jack Benny as Captain Culpepper (Benny wound up having an uncredited cameo).
Peter Sellers as Englishman Algernon Hawthorne. Sellers wanted too much money, leading Stanley Kramer to hire the next best thing (Terry-Thomas).
Arnold Stang's fellow service station attendant was originally offered to former Three Stooges member Joe Besser. Besser, then playing the role of Jillson the maintenance man on the Joey Bishop Show, was forced to turn down the role after Bishop and Danny Thomas refused to let him out of his contract. The role was then offered to Jackie Mason, and finally to Marvin Kaplan.
The Untouchables' Paul Picerni as the detective at Smiler Grogan's crash site. Picerni was unavailable; series costar Nicholas Georgiade was recommended for the role.
Bob Hope was to have had a cameo, but was refused by the studio he was under contract to at the time.
Jack Paar in the Jerry Lewis role.
Barbara Heller as the biplane pilot's wife.
Groucho Marx was originally written in as a doctor that would have appeared at the end of the film to deliver the final punchline. The role was written out, but Groucho was offered a cameo role. He ultimately never appeared in the film. In a letter to a fan, Groucho jokingly said that he was to have played the Ethel Merman role.
Among the deleted scenes in Culpepper's office were a series of telephone conversations with a "Dr. Chadwick" and an "Uncle Mike." The roles were respectively played by Elliot Reid and Morey Amsterdam.
Another deleted scene featured Don Knotts trying to get to a diner telephone, which was being used by a waitress (Green Acres' Barbara Pepper).
Yet another deleted scene featured Ding and Benjy helping a showgirl (Eve Bruce) with some suntan lotion.
Cliff Norton and King Donovan respectively played a detective and an airport official that appear at the Rancho Canejo airport. Neither role made it into the finished film. Strangely, Norton's name remained in the opening credits.
Phil Silvers was originally suggested for another one of the main roles.
Howard Morris was booked to appear in the film. He ultimately filmed no scenes. It's believed that he was considered as a back-up for the role of the nervous man, in the event that Don Knotts was unavailable.
In a bit of clever casting Buster Keaton was originally supposed to have played Smiler Grogan, while Jimmy Durante was to have portrayed Jimmy the Crook. The roles were later switched.
In addition to Keaton, two other greats from the days of silent comedy - Harold Lloyd and Stan Laurel - were offered cameo roles. It is believed by some that Lloyd was to have played the Santa Rosita mayor and Laurel the man in the desert that offers to help the Finch-Marcus team. Both turned down the roles; Lloyd was happily retired, while Laurel refused to work without deceased comedy partner Oliver Hardy.
Another comic offered a cameo appearance was Ed Wynn. It is believed by some that he was to have played the fire chief that appears towards the end of the film.
Despite Don Rickles' later joking about the fact that he never appeared in the film, Stanley Kramer once claimed that Rickles was turned down because of scheduling conflicts.
Others offered roles include Bud Abbott, Edward Brophy, Wally Brown, George Burns, Judy Garland, Judy Hollliday, and Ernie Kovaks. To this day, many believe Kovaks was slated to play the role of Melville Crump. Word of God said that this was never the case.