JAWS’ Mechanical Shark, Bruce!

By | December 7, 2017

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Robert Shaw In A Scene From 'Jaws' American actor Richard Dreyfuss and British author and actor Robert Shaw look off the stern of Quint's fishing boat the 'Orca' (Source: Getty Photos)

Duunnn dunnn... duuuunnnn duun... duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dunnnnnnnnnnn dunnnn…  I was a kid in 1975 when Steven Spielberg’s movie Jaws was released. I vividly remember when it was released; probably because I was on summer vacation in Ocean City, Maryland! The weather was not great one day and we couldn’t go to the beach, so we decided to see a movie instead. Trust me, seeing a movie like Jaws while on a beach vacation, is not the smartest thing to do! I remember being terrified after seeing the movie and spent a lot of time close to shore on that particular vacation. If you remember, Jaws was a movie about a great white shark that attacked beach goers with a fury. It was seemingly indestructible with a personal score to settle.  

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Had I known the real story behind the menacing shark in Jaws, I would probably not have been as terrified. The shark in the movie, obviously, was not real. It was a mechanical shark designed especially for Jaws. The shark was a full-size, pneumatically powered creature. It measured approximately 25 feet long and weighed thousands of pounds. The shark was amusingly referred to as, Bruce, by the film crew.

The movie was shot on location in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and most of the filming took place in the water. Filming in the water was a challenge itself. The mechanical shark was not ready when the movie started filming and when it finally arrived, it was sadly unrealistic.