Released in cinemas thirty years ago today, Three Men And A Baby is remembered to this day for a number of reasons.
It features a heartwarming ensemble performance from Tom Selleck, who was hot off the heels of Magnum PI, Ted Danson, who was just hitting his stride as Cheers entered its third season, and Steve Gutenberg, who was well known for family-friendly fare like Cocoon and Short Circuit, and bawdy late-night comedies like Police Academy. It also marked Leonard Nimoy's most commercially successful film as a director, grossing $170 million - also making it the biggest movie of 1987, too.
The other reason that Three Men And A Baby is still remembered to this is because of a lingering urban myth that's done the rounds for a number of years. The story goes that in one scene in the film, you can see a ghost in the background. The urban myth that went along with it was that a child had either died - or committed suicide - in the New York apartment where the film was made, and appeared in the background of the film.
Here's the scene in question.
And here's a screenshot with the supposed ghost marked.
Yes, that's really it.
In the days before HD remastering and the internet, the story spread like wildfire. Even local US news stations picked up the story, and the advent of VHS rentals meant that people could play the scene back over and over again, pointing it out and regaling people of a horrific story in an otherwise cheery '80s comedy. To get even more conspiratorial on the whole thing, some people even believed that a marketing executive in Touchstone made the whole thing up as a way of increasing video sales and rentals.
The reality, of course, is a lot more mundane. The truth is that it was merely a cardboard cutout - which was actually seen earlier in the film - that was left against the window and the lighting made it appear to look like a ghost. Not only that, the film wasn't even filmed in an apartment - but rather on a soundstage in Toronto. Hell, even Tom Selleck was asked about the story a few months ago on Jimmy Fallon and had to clear it up for people.
While we might scoff now at the idea of people thinking there's a ghost in a film because we have crystal-clear HD that allows us to precisely stop, frame and analyse a shot or scene, it's a good example of how easily rumours can catch hold and persist - even to this day.