When Jack Albany (Dick Van Dyke) is being taken to meet Leo Joseph Smooth (Edward G. Robinson), the car he's in passes several movie houses. On the marquees, you can see the names of several cast members, such as Henry Silva, starring in gangster movies.
This film was one of several Disney films that featured individuals facing off with criminals: on television, the Mickey Mouse Club featured installments of the Hardy Boys and on screen, The Moon-Spinners found Hayley Mills battling a thief. On the prime time Wonderful World of Disney, the miniseries The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh saw a ruthless masked vigilante battle evildoers in 18th century England, starring Patrick McGoohan in the title character. Later, the studio did comic films like this one, balancing drama with comedy, which attracted families and other fans.