Haunting the set – the ‘Three Men and a Baby’ ghost

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.

Three-Men-and-a-Baby Gun

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.

The truth?

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…

cardboard

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.

3men-ghost

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…

ghostboy3

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

 

 

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12 thoughts on “Haunting the set – the ‘Three Men and a Baby’ ghost

  1. I DID think it was the earthbound spirit of the boy, and I have for years until I read THIS BLOG POST. now I’m sure it is a cutout of Ted Danson. What threw me was seeing how large the window is in reality. The window is so large and tall that Ted Danson’s head comes up to the top of the bottom window pane. In a normal sized window in a 8 foot celling home only a boy would come up to the top of the lower pane of glass. So I assumed it WAS a boy in the window, but the closer I look at your still shot, I can see it IS a cutout of Danson in a suit and top hat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you enjoyed the post. Sometimes it’s almost disappointing to learn the truth! A little ambiguity is much more fun! 🙂 It’s a bit like when I wrote about Trunko the sea monster a couple of weeks ago, learning as I researched that he was sadly just whale blubber remains getting tossed in the air by killer whales!

      Sorry to burst the bubble! 🙂

      And thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know if my comment posted but the Ghost was real but the evidence you show Is not the real scene. That was the cover up reshoot. I will never forget what I saw. Both actors were motionless and the window was almost directly in the middle of both. The window had shades and the figure moved while both actors talked. I saw the scene on VHS copies not on DVD. It’s a cover up and I hope to find the real footage again so I can expose the truth.

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      • Interesting! I obviously have only your word for that and will continue to stick by my argument till I see evidence to the contrary. To my mind, the DVD footage is much better quality than the VHS and reveals the misunderstanding.

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      • I can draw the scene almost exactly as I remember seeing it. Its not like I saw it once and my imagination went wild but I saw it on several occasions even on TV once. The first time I saw the scene that you got your photos from I said to myself that’s nothing like what I remember. I guess there’s a chance over the years the tale grew in my own mind but I can’t get the image out of my mind.

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      • Sometimes people do misunderstand what they see, or misremember. I just viewed the clip again on YouTube (a VHS quality clip) and it’s plainly a cut out that isn’t moving. See if you can track down the ‘real’ footage you refer to and prove me wrong!

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      • Trust me I would love to. I am only 35 so my mind is still good so i believe i saw what i saw. I don’t remember the time frame between movie and VHS releases in the 90s but you’d probably have to get a hold of an early VHS copy. I plan on hitting every flea market I can find and hope I can snag one. I’ll let you see it after I show the world the truth 🙂 I can’t let you have all the credit. Thanks for the replies.

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      • I usually voice my opinion on this whenever I can. I love a good conspiracy as long as no one comes after me for trying to confirm it. Take care.

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  2. I know for a fact that the ghost was real but what you showed is indeed the cover up reshoot. I will never forget what I saw and it’s not the same scene! Both actors were standing still and the window was almost directly in the middle. The shadow was behind the shades. It moved and the actors were not in motion. I had seen this several times on VHS copies NOT the dvd. It still haunts me and if I ever find the real footage I will indeed expose the truth.

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