Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The April 2011 A - Z Blogging Challenge - J is for Jaws!

The Video Vault of Mora Tau! 4/12/11

As The April 2011 A - Z Blogging Challenge rolls along, it's time to visit another of our semi-regular departments, and find a video clip or three lurking in the depths of the Video Vault of Mora Tau. Let's see - something biting - maybe something starring the most famous Carcharodon carcharias of all...you know that must mean...

J is for Jaws!

I was nuts for this movie when it came out - my mom took me to see it and it was scary and marvelous - and it kind of started the whole Summer Movie thing that's still going on 35 years later...and of course it pervaded pop culture in a big way - and it's still inspiring new creativity - like this clip - let's take a look with a quick SPOILER ALERT:

That's awesome! There's also a 30 second version of the movie with everyone played by cartoon bunnies - it's cute - but I don't want this post to run longer than Berlin Alexanderplatz, so I'll leave that one for you to find on your own...

Universal Studios obviously enjoyed the profits the first movie brought in, and they went right in to the sequel biz (though on a bit more of a delay than is usual for a success like this - part two was three years later in 1978, part three didn't show up until 1983, and unfortunately, part four escaped onto movie screens in 1987) but Universal also geared up another Jaws - the one that took place on their studio tram tour - here's a pretty good video of what a Jaws fan got when they put their tushie into a tram seat...this time in Florida...

Another really cool offshoot of the first movie was a parody song compilation that hit the radio in 1975. Dickie Goodman put the piece together, an interview between reporter Goodman and the shark, with the shark's answers to Goodman's questions being little snippets of popular songs from that year. How they got away with that I will never know - you certainly couldn't do it these days - the rights to each song would be astronomical if the artists even all agreed to let you use their songs.

Now, some clever soul has taken Mr. Jaws and paired it up with footage from the movie - so check this one out!

This thing was so popular in Southern Illinois in 1975 that local station WCIL was actually playing it every hour on the hour for several days in order to keep up with the phone requests - and I was so inspired that at 8 years old I sat down with a tape recorder/radio, and put together my own song compilation parody - "An Evening with Howard Hughes" - topical due to Hughes' recent passing. I sat for about a week, listening to the radio, and with each song played tried to come up with a little vignette which would pay off with the song's refrain - then I'd quickly get my vignette part onto the tape, and then hit record to catch the little piece of the song I needed. Did the whole thing "live" like that.  I did probably 12 or 15 little bits, a few more than Mr. Jaws. It was silly, but my family praised it. I wonder if that tape's still around here anywhere?

Need I say it?

But I digress.

I also had the tabletop Jaws game, which was pretty cool. Here's what it looked like:

Jaws', er, jaws were spring loaded, you put all the junk in his mouth, which weighted it down and held it open. Then using the hook pole thing at the bottom, each player would take a turn pulling an item out of the shark's mouth. Eventually the jaws would spring shut on someone, and the game ended. Winner had more junk in their pile. A silly game, but fun. I also later used my Jaws as the centerpiece of my first Halloween party. He sat on the kitchen table surrounded by food, and in his mouth was Luke Skywalker, and I had squirted that jelly-like "Vampire Blood" from the tube all over - lovely centerpiece!
I was just thinking I might like to have one of these in my display collection - so I went online to look for them. Guess what? Turns out losing the license to a media property does not mean you have to stop making the toy. And if you're clever in your box copy you can even tweak the original license holder a bit. Take a look:

Yeah, get that movie title in there twice! Nice! This toy was available as recently as this past Christmas, so there you go!

There is one collectible from the movie I really would like to have in my collection. It's from McFarlane toys - here's what it looks like:

It's on Amazon at a no-longer-retail-let's-gouge-the-collector's price of $200+ So, if anyone out there has a spare one of these lying around, I can promise it a good home.
And I think that will do it. Til next time, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. I thought I might find Jaws here today--but I was looking for the silver-toothed species that pursued James Bond.

    The shark never crossed my mind.

    I probably haven't thought about the toy Jaws since it was on the market. I remember seeing it and thinking how much fun it would be.

    Never mind that I hadn't seen the movie at that point.

    I was still stuck square in Disney G movie land then. Now I spend a lot of time there by choice.

    Thanks for another entertaining post!

    j: Jumpers

  2. My "J" word was "Jaws" too! Great post, as always.

  3. Truly fantastic post! I'm glad that one of my fellow movie blogger friends decided to properly honor Jaws, as I chose Jurassic Park. In some respects, I feel less guilty about my decision. So thank you for the psychological boost.

    First off, that "Jaws in 60" video was hilarious! The "drunken singing" bit was awesome. Pretty much every second of it was thrilling in a simplistic, but LOL way! Great find!

    Also, I enjoyed your little anecdotes!

    Like you said, Jaws was the birth of the Summer Blockbuster. But more than that, it was an excellent mix of terrorizing suspense, some pretty cool effects, great characters, and great setting. It will remain a dear film for me!

  4. Joe - Richard Kiel's iconic character certainly crossed my mind for today's post, but I decided to curb my Bond-mindedness again - besides, there is a 007 post coming up later this week! ;)

    Luana - I'm looking forward to reading it - I had trouble finding your blog initially - I explain all in a comment on your A post - but I'll catch up soon!

    Matthew - Yep, I think we both hit it out of the park today - which would be a great analogy, except Spielberg never made a baseball movie! D'oh!