Tuesday 25 Oct 2016

Memories of
AJ Robinson

Many people have seen the movie, Jaws. There are many books about the story, behind the story or behind the scenes. Some books examine the making, of the movie, its effects and so on.

Jaws, I think, was the first true blockbuster movie. Its among scariest, if not the scariest, movies. Theres a primordial sense, to the move, Jaws. The idea such a creature exists. Its a move about a huge fish, a monster, which eats people and lives, essentially, in another world.

Lets face it, when youre in the water, youre out of your element, and youre in its. This is not a good situation, when youre fighting for your life!

It was also the first major hit movie for Steven Spielberg. The cast was great and the script was terrific. To wit: This was not a boating accident!, Were going to need a bigger boat. Jaws filmed in a picturesque location, too.

Marthas Vineyard was the prime location for Jaws. I still remember that summer. By the time my Mom and I had arrived, on the Island, a lot of the principle photography had completed. Theyd filmed many early scenes in the spring, including most of the beach scenes.

Now, I dont know how well you know the Island. Its off the east coast of Massachusetts. Ergo, its in New England, its up north.

The first time I went swimming, in the Gulf of Mexico, down south, I nearly died. I almost boiled alive! It was like swimming in a hot bathtub.

Growing up in New England, I was used to Island water temperatures that tend to the cool side. The Island beaches are not what you might call comfy, until well into August. The movie filmed in the spring.

If you watch the scenes that takes place at the beach at the little changing rooms, snack bar etc (all built for the movie, mind you) and you look off down the beach, youll see that no one else is there. Theres a reason for that the water was bloody cold! In the scenes where the people come running out of the water, they werent acting they truly wanted to get out of there, fast.

For my friends and me, we didnt get to see any of the stars or any filming take place at buildings or locations around the Island. That was over, by the summer months. Still, we did get to see some parts, and part of the big finale.

In the finale, when Quint, Hooper and Sheriff Brody were on the Orca, Quints boat. They were, supposedly, miles from shore, fighting the shark and desperate for help. They, in fact, were a few hundred feet offshore of State Beach.

When they filmed the sinking, of the Orca, the boat was between two barges. We watched as the Orca went up and down, up and down, up and down. There were many takes.

No, we didnt see the big explosion at the end. The ending was filmed somewhere else. Maybe the end filmed in Hollywood.

My friend Reed and I saw the shark, called Bruce, up close one day. We were out in our dinghy, rowing around Oak Bluffs harbour. W rowed passed the little barge, where Bruce rested, on a barge, tucked off in a corner, of the harbour.

My sister-in-law, Susan, got a job helping, with the shark. Her son, my nephew, Nick, almost got a part in the movie. He tried out for the role of Brodys younger son, but looked too old to be a four-year-old; a has-been at the age of six. As I recall, the part went to one of his classmates.

When the movie came out, we all just had to see it, of course, despite us being rather young. It was fun seeing the Amity billboard, out at Gay Head; Quints shack, in Menemsha; the Islander Ferry, coming in at Vineyard Haven, and the people at State Beach. Of course, some things didnt make sense to us.

Why did Brody leave his house on East Chop, drive to Gay Head, passing the billboard, and on to Edgartown? That was a very roundabout trip. Then, when he went to get the supplies to make the signs and his deputy drove up, he was going the wrong way on Main Street in Edgartown; its a one-way street, going the other way!

The kicker of all happened next. Brody is supposed to be driving to the far end of the Island, to warn the boy scouts who are swimming for their merit badge. He zips off and we next see him on the little ferry, the On Time Ferry, which goes to Chappaquiddick. Well, that ferry is literally around the corner from where hed just left. How could it be on the far end of the Island?

This didnt make sense to us, naturally. It fell to my Dad to explain how things work in a movie. Though the movie filmed in an actual place, our Island, Amity was a fictitious place. They could move houses and streets around or change the locations.

After that, we got it, sort of, but, in our opinion, the filmmakers should have handed out maps of Amity Island when you entered the theater. After all, how are you going to figure out where everything is, if they can mix things up, as they please? Such is the power of moviemakers. What a great job!

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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