Remember the ghost in "Three Men and a Baby"?
Remember the 1987 film about three carefree bachelor roommates who get stuck taking care of a baby? If not, you will still get a kick out of this story. When I was a little girl, I loved this movie starring Tom Selleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Danson. There was something funny and endearing about three grown men whose hearts melt over the baby they all love like their daughter (even though Danson’s character Jack is actually the father).
Anyway, I was about seven years old when I first heard the rumor: if you pause Three Men And A Baby at the right moment, you can see a ghost! The thought both intrigued and frightened me. I guess you could say my family has always been sensitive to the spirit world. I had always had a love/hate relationship with the idea of ghosts myself. On one hand, the idea of it all was scary – my experiences have always happened when I least expected them and sometimes nightmares and horror movies made my imagination get the best of me.
In reality though, the spiritual encounters I’ve had have been with loved ones visiting to let me know they’re still around, so it’s actually quite beautiful in that sense.
One night at my aunt’s house during a family party, someone brought up the Three Men And A Baby ghost rumor. My uncle suggested we put the movie on to see the ghost to figure out if we thought it was real or not. I was torn – I curiously wanted to see the ghost, but I was also terrified of possibly seeing a ghost!
We all gathered around the TV and my uncle got ready to pause it at the right moment. As Ted Danson and his onscreen mother walk from one room to another with the baby, some sort of person is peeking out from the curtains. This person looks like a boy with a hat on. Everyone gasped or cheered and gave their two cents on whether this was ghost or someone playing a prank.
That night, I couldn’t sleep at all. I kept picturing this ghostly boy on a movie set. What was he doing there? How did he die? Turns out my older sister also could not sleep. We got out of our beds, held hands, and walked into the living room to watch TV to take our minds off this creepy ghost kid.
Over the thirty-plus years of my life since first seeing that Three Men And A Baby ghost, I’ve watched the movie several times, and every time, I braced myself for seeing the spirit again. Sure, the boy no longer brought me sleepless nights, but that moment stuck with me, and I’ve always believed in ghosts and still wondered what was this kid’s story.
The movie popped into my head recently, so I asked my husband if he’d ever seen it. Steven is nine years younger than me, and his family focused more on the sci-fi side of film than cutesy parenting movies, so I knew there was a good chance he hadn’t seen it.
I briefly explained the premise of the movie before launching into the ghost myth and how I must show him. We found the movie available on Disney+ and put it on. The movie was just as I remembered it so far. When it came to the part where Jack’s mother shows up, I mentally prepared Steven, and myself, for the ghost to appear. As the scene went on and I knew the characters were about to walk by the curtains, I paused the movie and my mouth dropped. I pointed and shouted disappointedly, “That’s a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson!”
Steven looked at me as if to say, “Duh, isn’t that obvious?” Looking at this movie in 4K, it is incredibly obvious that it’s a cardboard cutout of Ted Danson. In fact, we even saw a closeup of this cutout in a later scene. I know the thought must have crossed my mind before that possibly, I had been duped. But maybe I liked not knowing and keeping up the mystery. They say ignorance is bliss and technology smashed it to smithereens. I could no longer deny that that ghost wasn’t real. If I were a dramatic millennial, which I can be at times, I would say my entire childhood is ruined, but I won’t.
The Three Men And A Baby ghost story lives on in my memory and makes for a funny “back in my day” story. For instance, “Back in my day, television screens were so unclear that we all mistook a piece of cardboard for an apparition!” Honestly, Steven and I had such a good laugh over this even if it ruined the illusion.
Movie ghost or not, I still believe, and I have the stories to prove it… But I’ll save those for another time!