Did you know that the ghost of a little boy makes a brief appearance in Disney’s popular 80s comedy Three Men and a Baby? Apparently he used to live in the apartment where they filmed, and committed suicide with a shotgun…
Notice anything strange about the scene above? As Ted Danson and his character’s mother enter the room where the film’s eponymous baby is sleeping, a black silhouette resembling a shotgun is seen in the window in the background. After the mother cradles the baby and they start out of the room, the figure of a young boy appears in the same window, looking out from behind the curtains.
This urban legend rose to fame after Three Men and a Baby was released on video, shortly before the release of the sequel, Three Men and a Little Lady, in 1990. The story goes that the mysterious figure is the ghost of a young boy who committed suicide in the apartment where they were shooting. The shotgun seen in the window immediately before his appearance is the one he killed himself with.
All kinds of stories sprang up following the dead boy’s alleged appearance in the movie. These included claims that the boy’s parents, who had since moved out of the apartment, were threatening to sue Disney if they didn’t remove the scene.
Disney’s Touchstone Pictures division, who released the movie, soon revealed the truth. It wasn’t the ghost of a dead boy at all. It was a cardboard cut-out of Ted Danson.
But how do they figure that? It looks like a little boy – and nothing like Ted Danson! Doesn’t it? Take a look at this picture, taken from a different scene in the movie…
The cardboard cut-out was produced as a part of a storyline that ended up being cut, but the cut-out still makes an appearance in the above scene. In the ghost boy scene, it was placed behind the curtains as a joke by the crew.
At first glance, the cut-out, with Danson in a top-hat and black waistcoat, looks nothing like the ghost boy hiding behind the curtains. Until you look closer…
The picture below is a higher quality image, probably taken from the DVD release of the movie. You can see the resemblance to the Danson cut-out much more clearly, in particular the curve of the waistcoat and the shape of a top hat.
And this picture is just as the ‘ghost boy’ is about to go out of shot. At this angle, it’s even easier to see the shape of a top hat…
What about the gun?
The gun is the one I struggled with, but the generally accepted explanation that the shotgun silhouette is nothing but a portion of the cut-out’s black waistcoat. The reason it looks so different (headless, for one) is because of the angle of the camera.
Another rather damning piece of evidence against the little boy theories is the fact that the movie was shot in a studio in Toronto, not in a real residential apartment (unless the studio itself was haunted). What we can be certain of, however, is that no family ever lived there.
Mystery solved? Or a cover-up?
Some people still don’t accept Touchstone Pictures’ explanation for the Three Men and a Baby ghost. They argue that the figure of the boy and the Danson cut-out are plainly not the same and Touchstone is feeding them lies.
What do you think?
Next week: Roswell, Part 4