When My Mom Wouldn’t Let Me See Jaws…
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws came out 40 years ago today. When it came out I was 4 years old. We lived in Okinawa because my dad was in the Army and stationed there. Everyone I knew as a kid had seen the movie but my mother wouldn’t let me see it. I was so pissed off. My parents never treated me like a kid so I was shocked that I couldn’t see it. I watched scary movies with them. They took me to see every Bruce Lee movie and they were all rated R as I recall. Jaws was just PG. I may have only been 4 years old but I was offended!
My mother, in an attempt to appease me, promised that if it ever comes out in the theaters again that she will take me to see it. She new that once a movie comes out in the theaters, it never gets re-released. It would be years and years before it was shown on TV. That’s just the way it was back then. There were no VCR’s, Cable TV or Pay Channels. But, I didn’t know all of that. I did however remember the promise she made and a few later Jaws got re-released!
Jaws 2 was coming out and the studios decided to re-release Jaws prior to the sequel’s release to boost ticket sales and give those who hadn’t seen the first one a chance to see it. I was one of those people and I wasn’t about to let my mother forget that promise she had made me. It had been nearly three years later but I was all over that promise. She was good to her word and reluctantly took me to see it.
To say I loved the movie would have been an understatement. It started a life long fascination with the sharks. I read books about them, saw every movie I could about sharks. The movie scared me but in a good way. It made me think twice before I went to the beach and to be honest, it still does. In fact I can’t think of time in the past 40 years while at the beach and in the water that someone has mentioned Jaws in some way. I still go in the water but there isn’t a second that I am in it that I’m not looking around for a shark.
I remember some people saying the shark looked fake and I thought, bullshit! I had seen photos of Great Whites, it didn’t look fake. They said, sharks don’t jump out of the water. I said, yes they do. Years later we have amazing videos and photos of sharks breaching their wet world when chasing prey. We’ve seen them swim to one side, just enough so that they can look around above the water line. So many of the things shown in that movie that were thought to be fiction about sharks behavior tuned out to be fact.
Though immediately after the release of Jaws, the film did more harm than good for the sharks. We killed millions of these beautiful creatures for sport. People feared them. The only good shark was a dead shark. It’s the typical idiocy of the human condition to fear what we don’t understand. Smart people want to study the unknown. Stupid people either want to kill it or ban it. Tragically, there are more stupid people in this world than smart ones.
However, after the initial fear of Jaws passed a fascination began to emerge with the public. We started to protect them. Hell, now we take a week every year to celebrate them. “Shark Week” has grown consistently bigger every year. And, they certainly deserve the praise and tribute. They’ve been the top ocean predator for 450 million years. They outlived the mass extinction and will probably outlive us.
So, in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Jaws, here some fun shark facts and film facts.
The famous Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) quote, “We’re gonna to need a bigger boat.” is actually not what he said. He exclaimed, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
The safest time to swim in the ocean is midday. Sharks typical feed from dusk till dawn.
Quint played by Robert Shaw re-wrote the “Indianapolis” speech he said in the film and it’s to this day, one of the speeches in film history.
If attacked by a shark, it’s better to go after the sharks eyes or gills than to try hitting it’s nose. It’s eyes and gills may not be as sensitive but sharks are more protective of them and you have a better chance of keeping your hand if you go for the eyes instead.
Peter Benchley who wrote the Book the film was based on was disgusted and saddened by the senseless slaughter of sharks after the film came out. He spent the rest of his life trying to educate people about sharks.
In some of the scenes when Richard Dreyfuss’ character was supposed to be in the shark cage, they used a little person so that the shark would look bigger in comparison.
Sharks attack roughly 100 people every year. Of those attacks about 5 of them will die. We kill an estimated 60 to 100 million sharks every year.
Jaws was the first summer blockbuster. Summer had always been the slow seasons for films. Jaws forever changed that.