Disney Urban Legends
The Legend: The ghost of a dead boy can be seen in the film Three Men and a Baby.
Behind the Legend: Tellers of this legend would have us believe that the Touchstone film Three Men and a Baby was filmed on location in a large apartment where a little boy died (apparently because he drank a Coke after eating Pop Rocks and his stomach exploded). They would have you believe that his ghost is visible in one scene, hidden behind the curtains.
This is, of course, not the case. Three Men and a Baby was not filmed in an apartment building, but in sound stage 27 at the Sal's Discount Film Locations lot in Toronto, New Mexico. It is well known that this sound stage was built on land that was once a cemetery, and that when the cemetery was moved, only the gravestones were relocated and the bodies were left in place. So the ghost visible in the film isn't a child who died in an apartment, but a spirit angered that his final resting place is being used to film a comedy which, although quite entertaining, would lead to a sequel that was, to be frank, just plain embarrassing.
It is interesting to note that when filming was completed, the set was not dismantled but was, instead, spectacularly sucked out of existence and into an alternate dimension.
The Legend: In the Disney film The Wizard of Oz, the actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West was seriously injured when her costume spontaneously burst into flames, Buddy Hackett was originally cast as the Tin Woodman but had to be replaced because being stuffed in a big metal costume made him too sweaty, a lengthy dance scene in which a second tornado causes Dorothy and friends to do "the twist" was cut, production was delayed for a week due to a Lollypop Guild strike, a number of bizarre coincidences are found when one plays the soundtrack to The Wiz in sync with the film, a number of bizarre coincidences are found when one watches the film and looks at the cover of the Electric Light Orchestra's album El Dorado in a mirror, the continuity-busting reference to Abraham Lincoln in the "If I Only Had a Brain" song was inserted to replace the more Oz-centric but less poetic line "If I thought like a lizard, I could be another Wizard," one of the little people hired to play a Munchkin committed suicide on the set after discovering that Toto was making more than twice what he was, and after leaving Oz Dorothy changed her name to Mary Ann to avoid all the publicity but ended up being stranded for years on Gilligan's Island.
Behind the Legend: Untrue -- The Wizard of Oz is not a Disney film.
The Legend: The Apollo moon landings were all filmed at the Disney studios.
Behind the Legend: The landings were actually filmed by Stanley Kubrick using Warner Brothers sound stages. Disney did the Viking lander footage.
The Legend: Parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl were filmed within the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction.
Behind the Legend: Yep. And The Haunted Mansion was filmed in the Haunted Mansion. Same deal with the Swiss Family Robinson Tree House. A big chase scene from Speed was filmed on the Autopia, too. Really.
The Legend: Producers of a True Life Adventure film threw lemmings off a cliff.
Behind the Legend: The act of throwing lemmings off of a cliff to film the creatures' fabled suicidal behavior was heinous in the extreme, but also, if you think about it, pretty funny. The badness of the act is mitigated a bit when you consider that the cliff was actually not very high (it was just filmed to look like it was high), and that there was a pack of poor, starving wolves at the bottom.
The Legend: The Song of the South has never been released on video in the United States.
Behind the Legend: Although the rest of the world is able to see this Disney classic, the United States still holds the backwards, perhaps even bigoted, view that it's okay for a film's "owners" to keep it chained up and deny it liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The Legend: The mysterious briefcase in Pulp Fiction contained Tinker Bell.
Behind the legend: According to notes found in the waste paper basket of Quentin Tarantino, this is true. The contract between Disney and Miramax required the latter to release at least one film each year that featured a Disney character in a significant role, and this was the company's way of meeting that obligation for 1994.
The Legend: African Americans are entitled to 5,000 shares of free Disney stock as restitution for The Song of the South.
Behind the legend: Not any more -- shares had to be applied for before the end of 2003. However, Native Americans are still eligible to apply for recompense for Pocahontas, Peter Pan, and Squanto.
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