The NYT ran a tidbit today about a serios of shark attacks in July 1916 in New Jersey that killed 4 people, including an 11-year-old boy and his 24 year-old rescuer in a creek 1.5 miles from shore. It is “widely believed” that these attacks were the inspiration for Jaws.
I was a boy when Jaws was in the theaters. This was before VCRs/DVDs, the wide use of cable, internet and video games, and movies were often widely discussed and would be in a theater for months. I remember Jaws was widely discussed, and when people saw it they would share that they’d seen it at dinner parties, etc. I remember my parents talking about it the day after they saw it, and my grandparent’s taking my teen cousins to see it in the Drive-In theater… Other movies that were popuar about the same time were Star Wars (everyone saw that and talked about it, and stood in line for hours to see it, and us kids would re-enact it), Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Deer Hunter and Saturday Night Fever. I remember my parents talking a lot about When a Sitter Calls and Harold and Maude, and that they only knew only one couple who’d seen Annie Hall. A little before these movies, I believe, was Rocky, which was the talk of the town and out about the same time when the country’s bicentenial was all the rage.