The film industry has proved to be a rich breeding ground for tantalizing behind-the-scenes tales, macabre myths, and outlandish urban legends - but can you tell me which of the following six are actually true?
One thing is for sure: this list isn't short of scandal! Expect to encounter suicidal munchkins, robotic phalluses and haunted sets on our journey to separate movie fact from fiction.
1. This Bond Girl is Actually a Bond Guy
Caroline 'Tula' Cossey, one of the glamorous 'Bond girls' to star opposite Roger Moore in For Your Eyes Only, began her career as a model, appearing in high-profile magazines such as Vogue and Playboy.
Though Cossey appeared only briefly in the 1981 Bond flick, she made a big impact on the industry after allegations were made that she in fact started life as a man. But were the rumors true?
Bond guy or Bond girl?
Ms. Cossey did in fact begin life as Barry Cossey, before changing her name to Caroline in 1972. After making this life choice, the Bond babe started taking hormone tablets and, in 1974, elected to have sex reassignment surgery, thereby completing her gender transformation. Shortly after the release of For Your Eyes Only, UK tabloid News of the World 'outed' her as a transsexual, jeopardizing her modeling and acting career. Cossey was so distressed she said she contemplated suicide, but in the end stayed strong and released her uplifting autobiography I Am a Woman. Good on her!
2. An Angry Artist Gave C-3PO a Large Metallic Penis on this Star Wars Trading Card
This C-3PO card from Topps' 1978 Star Wars set allegedly depicted the golden droid as being considerably more well endowed than I remember from the films!
The story goes that a particularly disgruntled employee in charge of the card set's images got fed up one day - a long, long time a go - and decided to leave his lewd mark on George Lucas' legendary franchise. But is this what really happened?!
Employee revenge or honest mistake?
The explicit trading card totally exists, but the droid's 'third arm' was not an intentional inclusion. The official Star Wars web site claims that "the extra appendage is not the work of an artist, but rather a trick of timing and light." Popular thinking attributes the rude blunder to a piece of the Threepio costume falling off at just the right (or wrong?) moment. I guess the force is not so strong as it appeared with this one...
3. A Wizard of Oz Munchkin Committed Suicide on Camera
1939's classic musical adventure was a Sunday afternoon mainstay during my formative years, but, little did I know, it harbors a shockingly dark urban legend that cannot possibly be true...can it?!
Near the beginning of their journey down the Yellow Brick Road, Dorothy, Tin Man and Scarecrow jaunt merrily off on their way toward Emerald City. I'd never thought anything of this scene, presumably too busy singing along with the happy threesome. But, look closely and you might see something you'll want to quickly un-see!
When the Scarecrow trips, keep your eyes on the trees behind the characters as they walk out of shot. An ominous figure appears to fall from the tree, which many have speculated to be a man hanging himself...
Did you spot it?
Around the movie's 50th anniversary, rumors began to spread that the mysterious figure was actually a suicidal Munchkin, driven to despair by his unrequited love for a fellow cast member. Did a depressed cast member decide to end it all on set, mid-scene?!
Munchkin misery or total hogwash?
Thankfully, the rumors surrounding this supposed on screen death lack any credulity. The most damning evidence is the fact that the forest scenes in the movie were filmed before the Munchkinland section, thereby ruling out the possibility of any of those actors being present for this shot. Debunked!
4. The Cast of the Poltergeist Movies Have Met Morbid Ends
Getting through the original Poltergeist trilogy was a truly terrifying ordeal, even if a mysterious pillow of unknown origin was obstructing the screen for the most part.
The chilling horror franchise follows the unfortunate Freeling family, who find themselves tortured by evil spirits from another dimension. The films were petrifying enough, but was there something even more horrific, and less fictitious, happening behind the camera?
Did cast members meet a swift end after starring in the films?
It's true! Four cast members died between the release dates of the first movie and the third, completing the trilogy of real life tragedy. 22-year-old Dominique Dunne, who played Dana in Poltergeist, was strangled by her former boyfriend John Thomas Sweeney less than five months after the film's release. Julian Beck, who played Henry Kane in Poltergeist II, died in 1985 of stomach cancer, before Will Sampson, who played Taylor in the same movie, died two years later. Heather O'Rourke, who played Carol Anne in all three Poltergeist movies, tragically died aged 12, during surgery to repair an acute bowel obstruction. Because of the unusual amount of deaths relating to the films, some have speculated that a Poltergeist curse exists, condemning all who appear in the movies. As to the veracity of that claim, I can give you no answer.
5. A Dead Boy's Ghost Huanted the Set of Three Men and a Baby
I never expected that this light hearted comedy would be the source of such a creepy legend, but clearly I wasn't watching close enough. If I had been, perhaps I would have noticed the spooky figure lurking behind the curtains in this shot:
The story goes that the movie was filmed in a house with a particularly haunting history. Apparently, years before the crew arrived, a nine-year-old boy committed suicide with a shotgun within its very walls.
Some believe you can see an image of the weapon used to carry out the self murder below:
Does that look like a shotgun standing, barrel down, against the window frame to you? Could it be possible that the spirits were trying to tell us something through the camera?
Was the set of Three Men and a Baby haunted by this deceased boy?
In fact, the 'ghostly' figure you saw was just a stand-up cardboard cutout of actor Ted Danson. The standee prop was originally a reference to a scrapped storyline that never made it into the final film, giving fans cause to believe it was in fact a dead kid. It goes to show you just how wild some people's imaginations are.
6. Back to the Future Part II Predicted the World Series Winners and Could Have Made You Millions
Wouldn't you like to know the result of every sporting event, before it happened? You could place bets on every winning team and never lose!
That's exactly what Biff from Back to the Future II did, with his handy Sports Almanac detailing every major sports statistic from 1950 to 2000. Of course, the Almanac was simply a falsified prop created by the filmmakers. But, did the book accidentally predict the real life outcomes of future baseball games before they even took place?!
Psychic sports book or just plain lies?
As enticing as a premonitory Almanac sounds, it only existed within the movie. This rumor began to propagate on the internet in 1997, after Florida beat Cleveland in that year's World Series. However, in the film Marty watches an unnamed Miami team get beaten in the World Series, which inspires him to buy the Almanac. Claims that asserted this prop predicted any real life results are simply not true.