The title is derived from lines from two earlier films. In one, he said that his grandfather's last words, "just before they sprung the trap", were "You can't cheat an honest man; never give a sucker an even break, or smarten up a chump." In another, he tells his daughter, "If we should ever separate, my little plum, I want to give you just one bit of fatherly advice: Never give a sucker an even break!"
This was Fields's last starring film. He plays himself, as "The Great Man", searching for a chance to promote a screenplay he has written for Esoteric Pictures.
Fields hand-picked most of the supporting cast. He chose Universal's young singing star Gloria Jean to play his niece, and got two of his favorite comedians, Leon Errol and Franklin Pangborn, to play supporting roles. Margaret Dumont, familiar as the Marx Brothers' matronly foil, was cast as the haughty "Mrs. Hemogloben". The zany film played to mixed reviews in 1941 but is today considered one of Fields's classics.