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We visit Jaws Shark Attack Island

By DMO Affiliate
On the wall in a hallway between terminal B and C at Bostons Logan Airport is a wall of fame for films shot in the Boston area. It goes in chronological order beginning with 1968s The Thomas Crown Affair and concludes with, uh, Here Comes The Boom. (What, too good for Thats My Boy?) It may also be the repository for the only surviving poster for Ghosts Of Girlfriends Past. Next to The Thomas Crown Affair, and casting a long shadow over everything that follows, is the poster for Jaws, a famously troubled production that shot on Marthas Vineyard during the summer of 1974. The problems faced by a young Steven Spielberg while making the filma mechanical shark that didnt work, inclement weather, script problems, tension among the cast and creware Hollywood legend at this point, but making more than $100 million at the box office, as Jaws was the first film to do, has a way of making those trials seem worth it. As our guest for this episode, Mike Currid of the Edgartown Tour Company, likes to say, Marthas Vineyard is the size of Manhattan, and its home to several towns. Much of Jaws was shot in Edgartown, which hasnt changed much in the nearly 40 years since Spielberg shot there. The downtown more or less looks the same, as do the docks where the fishermen rig up the shark they caught, the hillside where Brody (Roy Scheider) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) confront Mayor Vaughn (Murray Hamilton). In the Edgartown Deli downtown hangs a wooden sign for the Amity Delicatessen, which was created for a scene that didnt end up getting shot. Chief Brodys house looks completely different, the bridge has been rebuilt, and Quints shack was a set that had to be torn down after filming. But much of what was there in 1974 remains today. (A few of the locations appeared in the Larry David HBO movie Clear History.)  Although it may seem like a bad idea for a beach community that depends on tourists to host a film about shark attacks, at the time, Edgartown really needed the money from the production. As Currid told us, tourism was down and businesses were suffering. The Jaws production looked like a perfect savior: Itd book all the hotels and pump a ton of money into the local economy, and production would wrap up before tourist season really kicked in after Independence Day. The reality wasnt quite the sameturns out the production would stick around until September, when Jaws finally wrapped, overtime and over budget.  Jaws ended up bringing people to Marthas Vineyard instead of repelling them, and it still does: Currids tours of Jaws locations are the most popular ones the Edgartown Tour Company offers. No one will be looking for locations from Here Comes The Boom in 40 years.
We visit Jaws Shark Attack Island

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