Hollywood Urban Legends
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The Wizard of Oz (1939)
A stagehand committed suicide during the filming of “The Wizard of Oz” by hanging himself from a tree in the haunted forest set. If you watch the film, you can see his body dangling in the background in the sequence where the Wicked Witch warns the Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman not to aid Dorothy.
Three Men and a Baby (1987)
A film which saw Ted Danson, Steve Guttenberg and Tom Selleck haplessly trying to look after a baby was haunted by the ghost of a young boy who had lived in the apartment in which the above scene was filmed. The bizarre moment comes when viewers can spot what appears to be the shape of a young boy in the left hand corner of the screen, peering through the curtains. Long before the Internet, people began asserting that perhaps the boy had been murdered in the apartment years prior, and he was just hanging about to get his ghostly presence on screen.
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
D.W. Griffith’s controversial 1915 Civil War epic “The Birth of a Nation” was the first motion picture to be screened in the White House. President Woodrow Wilson and selected guests were in the private audience that experienced the extraordinary production. Shortly after the screening, newspapers began quoting President Wilson as praising the film by comparing it to history written with lightning, adding that the film’s storyline (featuring a heroic Ku Klux Klan vanquishing sex-crazed former slaves) was “all terribly true.”
The Poltergeist “curse” is one of the more unsettling and creepy urban legends to abound in Hollywood, a story that began doing the rounds after four cast members from the films died during the six years between the release of the first and third films in the series. While the deaths of Julian Beck and Will Sampson from cancer and medical complications didn’t seem too out of the ordinary, it’s the sudden, unexpected deaths of two of the first film’s youngest stars that really got under people’s skin.
Goldfinger’s most iconic scene also serves as the catalyst for one of the most infamous urban legends in film history, that the actress who played Goldfinger’s secretary Jill Masterson in the film actually died from asphyxiation due to being covered with gold paint.
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Bette Davis was offered the role of a lifetime as Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind” but turned it down.
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
In the U.S. version of the 1962 monster mash “King Kong vs. Godzilla,” the giant simian beats the giant dinosaur in their final Mount Fuji battle royale. But in the Japanese version, it is Godzilla who triumphs.
Funny Girl (1968)
Lovely and leggy blonde actress Anne Francis was pegged for a possible Oscar nomination for her role as the wisecracking showgirl in the 1968 musical “Funny Girl,” but when the film was released her part was virtually cut out of the film due to the machinations of a jealous Barbra Streisand, who thought Francis had too much screen time and detracted from her own starring performance.
The myth is that a stuntman was killed during the legendary chariot scene race in the 'Ben-Hur' movie of 1959, and that his death was left in the final cut of the movie.
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