And The Shark Goes “Grrr!”

JawsGame

Oh, the many pleasant hours I spent plucking junk from its spring-loaded jaw!

We are in full summer mode here in the Hunt household, and perhaps there is no greater indication of our seasonal relaxation than the fact that we have just sacrificed four consecutive evenings to view the entire Jaws tetralogy.  This is what can happen when you have time on your hands and the ability to stream Netflix offerings on your TV.  It all started innocently enough on Sunday evening, the first of several nights that our eldest daughter was away at camp, thus reducing the number of family members needed for unanimous entertainment option agreement to three.  Somehow the availability of Jaws for streaming came up, and it struck each of us as a fun viewing choice for different reasons.  My wife remembered seeing it many years ago.  Our youngest daughter had heard about it and was intrigued.  And me?  I came within a shark’s tooth of seeing Jaws at a drive-in in the summer of ’77.

It is easy now to forget just how big a pop culture phenomenon Jaws became after its 1975 release.  The movie allegedly deterred impressionable viewers from enjoying the beach.  It was memorably lampooned in the famous “Landshark” sketches of Saturday Night Live, an effects-laden sendup called “Jowls” on The Carol Burnett Show, and a classic Mort Drucker/Larry Siegel movie parody in MAD magazine.  Among the merchandising tie-ins was an Ideal Jaws game that featured a G-rated version of the Freudian movie poster on its box (minus the naked woman swimming above the advancing shark).  I owned the game, which consisted of a hollow plastic shark with a hinged jaw, upon which an assorted of marine detritus was balanced.  Players used a small hook to retrieve the items, until at last the weight of the remaining pieces no longer counterbalanced the tensile strength of attached rubber bands, whereupon the jaws suddenly snapped shut.  I thought the game was great.

A couple summers later I was asked by a friend to accompany her family and some other kids to a drive-in showing of Jaws.  I was incensed when my mother firmly declined the invitation on the grounds that the movie was too disturbing for anyone my age. Read More

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