New England Heritage: JAWS
“Don’t go into the water!” Are the words on the tip of everyone’s tongue for 35 years now. Originally released on June 20th in 1975, JAWS struck fear in the hearts of beach goers everywhere. Especially right here in New England. Since it’s home to some of the best beach towns and not to mention it was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard. With the plot being a great white shark menacing a small island community in the Northeast, this world renowned film changed history. In fact, it sparked a world wide shark hunt endangering the great white species that is a vital part of our ocean’s ecosystem. But we’re not going to get into the science behind JAWS.
Who doesn’t remember the first time watching the film. With the opening scene being the shark’s perception searching for prey and that erie chill that came from the thunderous sound of John William’s epic soundtrack. “da….DUN!” Then cut to the teenagers drinking beer on the beach out of Falstaff cups and the guy chasing Chrissie into the water for a night’s swim. Only to meet the shark lurking at the bottom for prey. This left just about everyone fascinated by
sharks and fearing the unknown ocean for years. Then after watching shark-week on Discovery channel we learned that sharks actually feed at night. Which supports this opening scene where the girl becomes the first victim of the story. To this day I still won’t go swimming at night.
Go back five years to the Summer of 2005 it was the 30th anniversary of JAWS. You know how every time you watch your favorite movie you notice something new? Well this was just like that. It’s one of my all time favorite movies and I even wrote just about every High School book report on Peter Benchley’s #1 best-seller. I was with my mom enjoying Steven Spielberg’s masterpiece and up comes the famous scene where Captain Sam Quint decides to intimidate marine biologist Matt Hooper. No words were exchanged. Instead he cracks a can of beer and downs the whole thing in one sip, then proceeds to crush the can. Hooper can only retaliate by finishing his coffee and crushing the Styrofoam cup. Quint just showed him who was boss. What does my mother say? “That’s a Narragansett beer. You’re grandfather used to drink that.” I was intrigued. Needless to say I was in a package store a few days later searching for Narragansett beer. Low and behold I found a six pack of tall boys at Barbosa’s on Narragansett Blvd. in Providence. Weeks later I find out that a local businessman, Mark Hellendrung bought the brand and was on mission to bring back our heritage beer. That was one of the best Summers ever and changed my life as I knew it. We’ll save more on that for another blog.
So guess what I’ll be doing this Sunday? Being Father’s Day, I plan on going fishing with my dad and some Gansett. Then we’ll go back home so my mother can clean and cook stripers for dinner while we enjoy more Gansetts watching the greatest movie ever made, JAWS! Just remember one thing, “Hooper drives the boat!”