Urban Legends About Movies

Image Source Location: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wizard_title_page.jpg
Image Source Location: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wizard_title_page.jpg

Things That Supposedly Happened in Movies, On Movie Sets and to Cast and Crews Involved With Movies

There are a whole bunch of urban legends about motion picture films, star celebrities, strange events which (allegedly) happened on movie sets - curses to movie cast and crew members who have worked on certain films. There are even legends about television commercials, stuntpeople, "extras" who work in the film and television commercial industries.

I've already put together one hub about the Poltergeist Curse, but there are just so many more urban legends out there that I thought I should follow up with another hub outlining movie-related legends - just the big ones...that is, legends about films/movies almost everyone has seen or at least knows about.

Chariot Scene Clips from Ben Hur

1959 version of Ben Hur

In 1959, the movie, "Ben Hur" was released with a young Charlton Heston in the lead role as Judah Ben-Hur, a 1st Century wealthy merchant and prince from ancient Jerusalem.

The movie is a film adaptation of Lew Wallace's 1880 novel entitled, "Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ," and the first release of the film was in New York City on November 18, 1959 at Loew's State Theatre.

Only two films to date have matched the type and number of awards that Ben Hur has received, those being Titanic (1997) and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003).

Ben Hur has won a record ELEVEN Academy Awards:

Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Leading Actor (Charlton Heston), Best Supporting Actor (Hugh Griffith), Best Set Decoration....and more.

The Urban Legend:

There's a particularly well-known and well-loved action scene in the Ben-Hur movie. This is commonly known as "The Chariot Scene," for obvious reasons...it's a scene where a chariot race is in progress.

In this scene (apparently ), someone died while the film was being shot. When film makers and technicians planned to cut this out before releasing the movie (allegedly), the widow of the stuntman/actor who died in this scene was upset, so she protested against the intended final version of the movie without the fatal accident (and her late husband) in it. Film-makers complied with the widow's request to leave the scene "as-is," and (apparently) if you watch very closely, you'll see one of the stuntmen get trampled by a chariot team in a shot that looks impossibly real...well - because it's quite real.

* NOTE: The accident is real... the "death" may be a bunch of hollywood and urban legend hype... Take a look at the video and see if YOU can figure things out...

BTW - ahead of time, be prepared to thank Duncan (who edited this bit of youtube film) for his errr *ahem-coughpropagandacough* fine use of movie clips!

3 Men and a Baby (1987) Ghost Cameo

3 Men and a Baby is a movie with three unlikely Mr. Mom types - or 3 men (Peter, Michael and Jack) not quite ready to be "Dad" figures - are placed in the important position to be the caregivers for one awesome, cute baby! These are three bachelor friends who end up banding together when one man's girlfriend suddenly requires his assistance with childcare. The men stumble along, learning and teaching each other, mostly by trial and error and minor bursts of common sense - how to actually care for and care ABOUT the baby. A really funny, heart-warming movie starring Tom Selleck (Peter), Steve Guttenberg (Michael) and Ted Danson (Jack).

The Legend:

Parts of this film were shot in a house and not all of the film was made at a Hollywood studio on a "set" built to look like a house. Apparently, in selecting the house to be used in this movie, nobody heard ahead of time about the little boy who died in the house not long before it was used for the movie. The boy's ghost can be seen in one scene and the boy is peering through the curtains of one of the home's windows. Producers haven't been able to say there's nothing at the window in that scene because, clearly, there's some human shape present!

The 9 year old boy committed suicide, apparently...shot himself with a shotgun. If you look at pictures from the movie, you'll have no troubles being able to pick out what looks like a boy behind the curtain in a scene involving Ted Danson, whereby Jack's (Danson's character in the film) mother is visiting him, offering him some much needed babycare advice.



Ghost By The Window in This Scene

1939 Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz has been a well loved and favourite movie to thousands and to succeeding generations of people ever since its release in 1939. The motion picture is an adaptation of novelist, L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," first published in the year (May 17) 1890, in Chicago, by the George M. Hill Company. The illustrator for these early publications was William Wallace Denslow (W.W. Denslow), who also worked with Baum on other Baum works such as Baum's "Father Goose: His Book" (1899), "By the Candelabra's Glare" (1898), and "Dot and Tot of Merryland" (1901).

The Legend, concerning the movie The Wizard of Oz:

In the movie, where Dorothy (Judy Garland), The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), and The Tin Woodman or The Tin Man (Jack Haley) are singing "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," and are merrily skipping, dancing and otherwise treading through the forest, just as they are ending their song and moving out of camera view - so a segue can occur and a scene change can happen - off to their left (but our centre point of view) of the yellow brick road pathway, something is happening...

It is said that over in the trees, off to the left of the yellow brick road where Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Man are skipping and singing along, one of the "Munchkin" actors has hung himself on-set but behind the scene/props, and is - unfortunately and unexpectedly - visible in that one camera shot as Dorothy, Scarecrow and Tin Man curve over to the right and conclude the transitional nature of this scene.

If you watch closely, something is definitely happening in that scene that is NOT SUPPOSED TO BE HAPPENING and was caught on camera. Apparently, when the film was being edited together and a final version and "cut" decided upon, this scene and its "blemishes" were left in the final film version. Basically, this scene/blemish is in every sold version of the film... it has never been edited out, so this scene is easy to view for pretty much anyone who can find a way to view the movie. By the way, this section of film is commonly referred to as "The Tinman Sequence," because Dorothy and Scarecrow have just picked up Tinman, restored his capability to move around, and have invited him to come with them to see The Wizard of Oz in the Emerald City.

* Note: This 'something happening in the background' is rather hard to see because you'll tend to focus on Dorothy, Scarecrow, and Tin Man as they move further into the distance and follow the curve of the Yellow Brick Road. Right before they follow the curve to the right, keep your eyes focused "dead centre" (no pun intended) on the screen, into the forest...that's where the movement happens.

Wizard of Oz Clip: Keep your eyes focused on center of screen

Charlton Heston - Racing Practice in Ben Hur


The Truth About All These Legends is that they're legends - stories of the untrue variety but stories that make people sit up and listen. Made up of assumptions and other things, but these stories spread like wildfire in the typical "urban legend" way...by mass storytelling and word of mouth of average people who have seen the movies and "heard something not yet verified" but who have decided to pass the information along, anyway...

In Ben Hur, some accidents happened but nobody died. One stuntman was, indeed, injured in the chariot race scene but he made a full recovery and did not die. The scene was NOT edited OUT of the film, either - so yes, there is an injury that happens on film - but no death.

In 3 Men and a Baby: the "figure you see" is no ghost of a 9 year old boy who shot himself. It's a cardboard promotional display of Ted Danson that someone forgot to move out of the way. Naturally, the shape of a human figure is visible - but it's a "fake" Ted, cardboard version.

In Wizard of Oz...no munchkin committed suicide behind-the-scenes...there is a large bird off-stage which ends up a little more on-stage than people realized when it stretches a wing and the shadow of this is clearly visible. Because of the expenses involved with film-making in 1939, and the importance of that transitional yellow-brick-road shot, nothing was cut out of that scene and it remains "as - is." It's a bird, people...

More To Come

I'll be adding more movie related legends to this hub - it's just taking some time for me to double check on videos and such. Since the topic here is about movies, I am attempting to supply some videos with each legend. Naturally, many videos that circulate online are low-quality, so it takes a bit of time for me to view videos on the corresponding legends I place here. Surprisingly, I'm having to "NIX" on many good quality shots because many vid-clip compilers are dubbing commentary onto their clip sets - and the commentary is what I do not want on this hub... full of cusswords and things like that...

...so please bear with me while I work to provide video clips that won't give you an earful of cusswords and slang that is hard to understand.

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Comments 26 comments

Enelle Lamb profile image

Enelle Lamb 6 years ago from Canada's 'California'

Great hub! I enjoy your urban legends :D

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Thanks Enelle Lamb - glad you enjoy urban legends and similar types of material. There are tons of movie-related ones, so I'll keep adding to this hub.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Show business, I think, is a natural to generate rumors, legends and what-not. I think it is the general atmosphere of the unreal.

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 6 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Interesting things I never knew. This isn't a hub I would normally read, but I found it fascinating.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

dahoglund, thank goodness my hubs aren't as concise as some of your statements or I'd have very short hubs haha. I think you're right about the connections between show business and legends and also the atmosphere of the unreal. This is the only hub I've felt a slight bit of guilt over... because hollywood and movies are SUPPOSED TO BE magical and breed all manner of legends, rumor, etc - but then again, debunking the "hanging munchkin" legend doesn't change the value of Wizard of Oz and the rest.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Austinstar, thank you for checking out this hub - especially since you say this is not your regular sort of hub/topic to browse. I'm glad you enjoyed it!

BJBenson profile image

BJBenson 6 years ago from USA

You forgot my favorite. How could you!

Rose Red.

Really liked the hub. Will use the new rating system to score you too.

I didn't know about the Wizard of Oz.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Hey BJBenson! Thanks for rating - I'll check out your fave, Rose Red...

kimberlyslyrics 6 years ago

Very ool facts

surely I would never know otherwise

another great hub my friend

thank you


mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Thanks for visiting and commenting, Kimberly. I'll add more to this hub soon. There are TONS of quirky details left to put here concerning the Wizard of Oz movie!

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Interesting Hub mythbuster, its strange how stories are believed and passed round, being embellished a little more with every telling

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

I hear ya, CMHypno, and I believed the myth about the Ben-Hur chariot scene death for a long time.

AJHargrove profile image

AJHargrove 6 years ago from USA

I half-thought that chariot and munchkin legends were true, but this hub successfully busted it for me. The 3 Men one... I was startled when I watched the video and then laughed when I finally read what it was. Thanks for this. :)

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Hello AJHargrove. I'm glad you enjoyed the hub and videos. I was also brought to laughter once I saw the 3 Men and a Baby video and found out what the "ghost" was.

ptosis profile image

ptosis 6 years ago from Arizona

Who it was spooky seeing the dead kid in the windows - thanks for explaining it to me!

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Yep, the ghost kid thing is spooky, for sure, ptosis - until you know about what the object really is.

lang58 profile image

lang58 6 years ago

You should become a movie editor you have keen eye for spotting things others would mostly miss.I liked your take on this subject and rated it up.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Hey lang58 - nice to see you here. I hope you liked the bits of movie clips. I still find the Ben-Hur Chariot Scene exciting, even though I've seen it at least a dozen times. Thanks for rating UP.

updatedcourtinfo.com 6 years ago

Way to go, I like your take on this subject. I'ed like to see you write some stuff on Steven King movies. I rated this up.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Ohyeah, updatedcourtinfo .com, I SHOULD write some stuff on Steven King movie topics. There are some really cool movies based on S. King material. I really liked "Misery" and "The Green Mile" a lot... I think I should view those two movies again to refresh my memory about plot, characters, etc.

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West By God

Great Hub and I can't wait until you get the Steven King's stuff. Heard lots of things aobut him and his movies and how they came to be. Do one about The Exocist too. That was a very scary/creepy movie and the legends are even creepier and so is Damian.

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Hey, Lady Guinevere, there are TONS of creep tales about the Exorcist film, the set it was filmed at, cast members, etc. Also, the Amityville Horror movie is an interesting topic with a lot of questionable "facts" and a lot of legend surrounding filming, film sets, participants in the filming, etc.

It is "Damian" from "The Omen" you are referring to? That's a great spook show... very dark and dreadful. Maybe I should watch that one again, too!

Lady Guinevere profile image

Lady Guinevere 6 years ago from West By God

Yes that was the one.

Aficionada profile image

Aficionada 6 years ago from Indiana, USA

Interesting and fun Hub! But.... I watched the Three Men clip very carefully three times and never could see what you were talking about. Would it be possible to post the time the counter reads when the "ghost" appears?

mythbuster profile image

mythbuster 6 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide Author

Hello Aficionada, the "ghost" you're looking for is around the 35 second point of the short clip posted here. Let your eyes follow ahead or left of the actress and actor as they start to move in the room. It appears that a boy is tucked into a doorway area, behind the curtain near the window and obviously behind the actress and actor. It appears like a little boy is sort of tucked away, looking out to spy on the adults. The layout of the space is a bit hard to grasp in such a short clip but the "peeking boy" is not hard to see once you know where he is!


Aficionada profile image

Aficionada 6 years ago from Indiana, USA

Ah, yes, I see it now. I believe I had previously looked at *every* window and curtain except the correct one! After you posted the time, I paused the video at the right spot and saw the figure. Thanks for your help.

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