Celebrity Sightings: Farrah Fawcett – 1947 to 2009 – Life Uncovered – Part 1

Farrah Fawcett was the first female actress/model/celebrity I ever fell in love with. Later in life as Farrah aged, I was horribly unfaithful to my idol with super model Alessandra Ambrosio.

But Farrah with always be, First, Last and Always.

I loved Farrah so much I decided to write a little series in her honor. I hope you enjoy it.

Ivan Goff and Ben Roberts came up with the idea for a series about three beautiful female private investigators as a breakthrough but also escapist television series. Producers Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg first considered actress Kate Jackson during the early pre-production stages of the series. She had proven popular with viewers in another police television drama, The Rookies. Jackson was initially cast as Kelly Garrett, but was more attracted to the role of Sabrina Duncan, and her request to switch roles was granted. Farrah Fawcett was next cast as Jill Munroe, but much like Jackson, did not audition for a role. She was offered a part by Spelling after he had viewed her performance in the science-fiction film Logan’s Run (1976). Jaclyn Smith was among the hundreds of actresses who auditioned for the role of Kelly Garrett. Despite liking Smith, Spelling and Goldberg were wary about hiring her because their initial concept concerned a brunette, blonde, and red-headed woman. Smith was the only brunette that auditioned for the role and was cast only after producers liked the on-screen chemistry she shared with Jackson and Fawcett.

In 1976 I was 13 years old. Yea…puberty explosion! Charlie’s Angels comes on and of course I start watching it. I think it was the 2nd episode, it was called, Angels in Chains. That title stuck with me. The premise of that episode was that the Angels would have to go undercover and pose as inmates at a prison. I remember two scenes in particular. The first one was where all three girls are standing wrapped only in skimpy towels. The other being them trying to escape chained together. What I found most remarkable about Farrah was that it appeared she had nipples the size of pretzel bites and never wore a bra. So you had these three hot girls running around and wearing hot outfits and braless breasts were pouting and jiggling.

Who cares what the show is about. I’m 13 years old. All I want to do is watch the show by myself in a locked room, with a large box of tissues.

The show became known as “Jiggle TV” and “T&A TV” (or “Tits & Ass Television”) by critics who believed that the show had no intelligence or substance. These characterizations stemmed from the fact that the lead actresses frequently dressed scantily or provocatively as part of their undercover characters (including roller derby girl, beauty pageant contestant, maid, female prisoner, or just bikini-clad), and the belief that their clothing was a means of attracting viewers. Farrah Fawcett once attributed the show’s success to this fact: “When the show was number three, I figured it was our acting. When it got to be number one, I decided it could only be because none of us wears a bra.”

Reflecting on the 1970’s female-driven drama, Cheryl Ladd believes the series was “inspirational” to women despite the critics calling it a “jiggle show.” She notes, “there hadn’t been a show like this on the air [with] three powerful women who had the latest hairdos, wore the coolest clothes and could walk around in a bikini. We were very inspirational to a lot of young women. Young women would write us and say, ‘I want to be like you. I want to be a cop when I grow up and taking chances to be something else other than the acceptable school teacher or secretary’. Charlie’s Angels was called “Jiggle TV”, she adds, “which made me laugh, I never went braless, and I was married and the mother of a 2-year-old. The ‘Angels’ were grown-up Girl Scouts. We never slept with anyone; my most “Aaron Spelling” moment was wrestling an alligator. With the feminist movement, we were kind of half-heroes, half-goats”.

Time magazine called Charlie’s Angels an “aesthetically ridiculous, commercially brilliant brainstorm surfing blithely atop the Zeitgeist’s seventh wave”.

Camille Paglia, an American academic and social critic, said that Charlie’s Angels was an “effervescent action-adventure showing smart, bold women working side by side in fruitful collaboration.”

So there’s two sides of what Charlie’s Angels was. I loved it. If I had the opportunity I would have watched it with the volume at zero and my stereo cranking Aerosmith. I’d ejaculate twice as fast!

I joined Farrah’s Official Fan Club. And over the years I collected posters and pictures of her. I dug out this old photo of me from back in 1982 in my apartment in L.A. That whole wall is Farrah. I even had buttons pinned to my guitar strap that were pictures of Farrah! Fanboy or a shrine to my queen? You be the judge!

(Now that I look at this pic, it may be the very first “Selfie” I have ever taken!)

With an old Kodak instamatic flash camera!

I think my parents were just happy I didn’t turn out gay. (Which they thought I was for years!)

 

 

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Dating and Relationship Advice – Mystery Date

Want to add some spice to your existing relationship, then go on a mystery date and get ready to reap the benefits. Women love surprises, they like mystery, and they like it when their man cares enough to plan a day dedicated to them. Now I am like you, I am lazy, and after I have been in an established relationship with a girl and I already know the sex is there when I want it, why do I need to go to the trouble of having a mystery date? You do this to keep her interested in you and make her fall in love with you all over again. Why am I talking like you need to already be in an established relationship to have a mystery date? Well you don’t have to be, but it’s a little more difficult to pull off on the first date or two then it is after a few months.

Let’s explain what a mystery date is.  It consists of a date where you say, “Babe, I’m taking you out friday.”  She may ask, “Where are we going?” To which you respond, “Not telling, this is a mystery date.”  And this is about all the details you will give her.  You plan out the evening and she spends the rest of the week dreaming up what you possibly have in store for her.  Too easy.

Now there are 2 levels of mystery dates you can take your girl on, let’s examine each one.  You will soon see why you won’t do a mystery date at the beginning of a relationship.

Beginners Level

This is the only time you can get away with a mystery date on a first, second, or third date. It’s simple, “Hey I’m taking you out on Friday,” she gets excited because you don’t tell her anything else, you plan the evening, it can be dinner, trip to the zoo, picnic at the lake. Any basic date. The only thing about this is you don’t tell her.  Maybe mention what kind of clothes she should wear, but you could leave it up to her and then pack a sweatshirt if your plan is to have dinner under the stars.

Advanced Level

This level of mystery date involves a bit more planning, but it will be a lot more fun for your girl. This has you planning out every detail of your date and usually involves two or more places of interest. Start off by telling her to block off an entire day, such as Saturday. It’s best to come up with a location that is a little out-of-the-way, so you can build up the suspense of the drive. Tell her nothing, in fact if you have access to her clothes, pick out the clothes for her to wear. Everything from casual wear for if you are going to hang out down town or at the zoo, something fancy if your date will take the two of you out at night, or even some sexy lingerie if you plan on staying the night together.  The point is to have everything ready for her, so that she will feel comfortable with letting you take charge. This is where the details are important. Say you plan on taking her to the city, going to the local zoo, then to the hotel to change and go out on the town.  If you pack her bags for her and she forgets her hair straightener, she will not feel sexy when going out because her hair, “Isn’t perfect.”  And it can really bring down the evening. The point of all of this is to show that you care because you dedicated your time and effort to plan a day just for her. It really does not matter what you do or the amount you spend, just that you took the time for her.

Execution

Like any good plan, the success of a mystery date lies in the execution.  It all starts with planning.  You must decide where and when you’re going.  You must call ahead to get tickets and reservations.  If you need access to her clothing, you need to plan ahead to either have her roommate let you rummage through her items before your date, or steal a piece of clothing or two from her each time she sleeps over.  This is not something you should plan the night before.

Building Suspense

All your planning would be for not if she is not excited by your idea of the mystery date, so we are going to make it fun for her and make it feel as though she is in control.  We can create the element of surprise through predetermined courses of action and a little simple magic. Let’s say you have decided that you will be taking your girl to the local concert at 1 pm. At 4 pm you will take her back to the hotel room where you will shower and change, out to dinner at 6pm, and then night life and dancing, before heading back to the room to end the night.

To spice things up, we are going to create three scenarios for your girl to choose from.  Have her pick from three envelopes, inside each envelope have, “City Date” written inside of each. City date refers to your plans to go downtown.  Just make sure she does not see the other envelope.  What you have done is create an idea that you have planned three separate dates for her, building her interest in you, when really you just had the one date planned.

Another idea is to lay out three outfits for her to choose. I would lay out a casual sun dress, something she would wear when clubbing, and lingerie.  Based on what she chose, that would be the date. This way at most you would only have to plan two dates.  If she chose the lingerie you know you won’t be going anywhere that night.

The key in all of this is to plan ahead. If you have to make reservations or buy tickets then ensure you make her pick the right date, or don’t give her an option, just take her.  If you’re flexible then plan a couple different scenarios, it can turn into a mystery date for yourself as well.

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Dating and Relationship Advice – 7 Things Women Expect On A First Date

Landing yourself a first date is only the first step in securing a smooth transition into an eventful and exciting night. A first date is about an impression. A woman wants to feel that the man she’s with has not only thought about the date, but also prepared accordingly.

Let me help you decipher her unspoken expectations for the evening and what she wants you to do but would never actually say.

1- Go the extra mile… or two

If you greet her with a red rose and a smile you’re sure to get a warm response. But why not turn up the heat and offer her a less stereotypical treat? If you already know some details about this woman, use the information to your advantage. If her favorite color is purple, give her a purple flower. Otherwise, use your imagination.

If she’s the playful type, she might enjoy a bouquet of lollipops to sweeten the night. Or, if she’s of a more intellectual persuasion, perhaps offering her a copy of your favorite book might stack the odds in your favor. The key is creativity — she’ll be impressed if you’ve shown that you not only got her something, but that you thought about her while doing it.

2- Be polite, not pushy
She may not tell you that etiquette is a priority, but be sure that she’s keeping an eye on what you are, and perhaps more important, what you aren’t doing. It’s the little details that make the difference, like chewing with your mouth closed. Remember; nothing you have to say is either important or funny enough that it can’t be said after you swallow.

Do offer to open the door for her, but if she insists on doing it herself, be sure and let her. Another rule to remember: any stories that involve vomit or secretions of any sort (no matter how funny or appropriate you think they are) will generally be a complete turnoff to a woman.

3- Be complimentary
Many men forget to notice and compliment their date’s appearance. There must be something about her outfit, her hair or the way she smells that you like. You can rest assured that she’s spent a good portion of her time primping and preparing for this first date, and it’s important that you acknowledge her efforts.

Find out what you should do during dinner and how to leave her with a lasting impression…

4- Be curious about her
You’re nervous and trying to make sure that she thinks you’re better (and more original) than the last guy who showed up at her door with a red rose. The result can often be you talking about all the things you’ve accomplished while neglecting to ask her about her interests. Your intentions might be to keep the conversation flowing, but a monologue actually makes for a more uncomfortable evening than a few awkward pauses. So be sure to ask her about herself; just don’t turn it into an interview.

5- Be assertive, not aggressive
It’s important that you show her you’re confident. But, it’s also important not to blur the line between being assertive and aggressive while interacting with her, as well as those who might even prove to be allies on your first date. When dealing with your waiter, she’d prefer you be courteous than cantankerous. If what you order isn’t what you get, then by all means tell your waiter, but don’t raise your voice and demand it be taken back. A polite smile and a simple assertion that your order has been confused is the perfect time for you to show your willingness to forgive while your waiter tries to make it up to you (all the while making you look even better). Likewise, if the movie you both wanted to see is sold out, take it in good humor and most importantly…

6- Always have a backup plan
If the plans you made unravel at the last moment, relax. You can always rely on plan B to make the most of what might have been a wasted night. She’ll either be impressed by your on-the-spot creativity or glowing at the thought of you considering a “just in case” scenario for your date. It doesn’t have to be overly extravagant, just make sure you have some other ideas in the event the night doesn’t come together exactly as planned. From ice skating to salsa dancing to coffee drinking — any backup option is better than no option at all.

7- Leave her impressed

The evening seems to be coming to a close; time to pull that proverbial ace from up your sleeve. You want to leave her with a lasting impression about what a wonderful time she had and how lucky she was to spend it with you. Seeing her to her door will no doubt get you further than the front door. But give her the option to welcome you in by taking it one step at a time. Offering a polite end to a wonderful evening just leaves her wanting more and gives her the chance to assert herself if she’s craving more than a kiss at night’s end. Of course, if you’ve played your cards right, she’ll be wanting more than just this one date anyway…

Go get ’em

These seven effective steps are sure-fire ways to not only impress the woman you’re with, but also to exceed her expectations. Remember; being sincere and thoughtful each step of the way guarantees success. By taking care and control of the details, you will exude confidence and keep her craving more.

 

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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – Terri – First Love – Part 3

I walk down 8th street to Ocean Ave. and stroll the two blocks to the motel. I go and knock on their motel room door. I can see it in my mind exactly. I can see it’s location and its color and the length of translucent jalousies windows that are open to let air into the room.

Heart pounding. The whole family is there and they invite me in. They were super nice and that put me at ease. They didn’t make me feel like, “What are your intentions with my daughter?”

So off we went. Terri looked beautiful. She had a little white flouncy top, bare arms, and white shorts with sneakers. Cute as a button.

Even in the short time we had been chatting, (Just mornings at the motel) I felt that we had created a bond. We were walking along the boardwalk and it was still light out. The boardwalk was awash with people and sounds. Hawkers at their games of chance, the sights and smells of sweet and fried food, and the salty air from the sea. The music and the roar of the rollercoasters. The soundtrack is music coming from a nearby carousel. (Which may be the happiest music on earth)

I’m looking at her lovely profile as she walks beside me. I can’t believe we are actually out together on a date here in this seaside wonderland. I tell her there’s a bobby pin in her hair. She quickly removes it. I hope she wasn’t embarrassed but maybe she was nervous getting ready for our date just like me!

We get to the theater and I of course buy the tickets. I was all about chivalry and being a gentleman even back then. It’s who I was and how I was raised. My dad had slipped me a $20 before I left that day, just to make sure I was covered financially for the date! I had plenty of money on me anyway. (Thanks dad!) I had a week’s pay on me, ($40!) I had to be prepared for anything!

The words, Star Wars is emblazoned on the marquee over the doors of the place.

We go into the cool air conditioned theater. The smell of buttery popcorn and sweets fill the air. We feel sticky detritus under our feet as we find our seats. I sit on her right. She looks lovely. She tucks a lock of her hair behind her ear and I see she’s wearing tiny gold earrings.

The lights go down and the film begins. I can’t believe I’m actually on a date with a pretty girl who likes me and I’m seeing Star Wars again! This can’t miss!

I have an old friend that was never good at talking to girls. He’s a dear friend and grew into a great man and we’re friends today, but back then he just couldn’t get it together when it came to talking to the fairer sex. I told him to just take her to the movies! That’s two hours where you don’t have to say or do a thing and something else is entertaining her so you don’t have to.

He took all of his dates back then to movies after that. All of them. Even his future wife!

I’m loving the movie all over again. It’s making me calm down a bit because I’m focused on the wonder of the film. I don’t know when it actually happened but I started holding hands with her! I felt her soft dainty girl hand in mine. I even did the little gentle thumb rub. It was so great.

After the movie we walked home on the boardwalk again. It was dark now and the amusements, and games were all in full swing. All the sights, smells and sounds come rushing back to me now forty years later.

We get back to the motel, and she checks in with her parents to show that she has in fact not been murdered by the pool boy. We then sit in two of the chairs that are outside of an empty room. But obviously not the ones in front of her family’s room. We sat in a pair of seats all the way down at the end in front of a vacant room where we could barely be seen.

So we’re giggling and then it happens.

We kiss.

It’s innocent and beautiful.

Sweet and soft.

I can still remember the perfume she was wearing. It was called Babe. A perfect scent for such a sweet girl. My heart was melting like a pad of butter in a pan of love.

But my curfew was approaching, and I told her I would run home and ask if I could stay out a little longer with her. But if I didn’t come back I would see her tomorrow. (No such thing as the internet or cell phones back then.) So I RUN the two blocks back to my house and tell my dad my dilemma. He sends me back out and gives me another hour.

Magic! (Thank you, dad!)

My father spent his summers in Wildwood as a youth so he knew that this was a critical moment in a boy’s life.

So I get back to Terri in under 5 minutes round trip. We’re sitting there and chatting and talking about music and stuff. There is some more smooching and hand holding. It’s a lovely gentle moment in my young life.

The euphoria of the night with her was all like a dream. I remember her softly singing these lyrics:

“If I leave here tomorrow, will you still remember me…”

Time flies when you’re having fun and the hour blazes by like a New York minute. I bid my sweet “Juliet” adieu and I’m off like a Montague.

 

 

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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1977 – Terri – First Love – Part 1

I was working at the motel one morning, and I noticed this cute girl sitting outside of her room in one of the chairs out front. I said hello to her. I really couldn’t chat with her because I was too busy working. (See: Wildwood Daze – El Morro Motel)

The next morning she was there again. We were the only people outside of the motel at that hour. We chatted a little bit and got acquainted. She was a really nice, sweet girl from Pittsburgh. I couldn’t believe it took 6 hours for them to get to Wildwood. That sounded like forever in a car to me at the time. She was down with her parents and her two brothers. She was 13 and I was 14. I noticed immediately that people from non metropolitan areas that are hard like Philly and NY, are just generally nicer people.

By the third day she would come out to the pool and chat with me. It was great. Terri wasn’t like any girls I knew back home. (Not that I knew many because I was such a loser) She was so nice. I asked her what her family had done and seen while on vacation. She told me and said they were doing amusements on the boardwalk tomorrow and Cape May the next night.

I was scrubbing the tiles in the baby pool, and I asked what about the day after that?

She said that they were probably just going to hang at the motel or in the neighborhood.

“Why do you ask?”

“Because I want to take you out to see Star Wars.”

“Really? I’d love to go. Let me ask my parents.”

My heart was a flutter. My life had been absolute garbage up until this summer. I couldn’t believe a cute girl actually talked to me let alone wants to go out on a date with me. This was a watershed moment in my life where things could actually improve for me. My anxiety was running high but I was feeling like the wheel was beginning to turn.

Let’s see if it happens in tomorrow’s post!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day a 8am & 12pm EST.

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My Young Life: Star Wars – 1977

I remember seeing the trailer for it on TV and my friends and I getting really excited about how cool it looked. I was 14 years old and my dad said he would take me to see it. He was working at a bank down the shore back then and my sisters and I lived in Philly with Mom.

When I look back on it now it’s like they got separated but wouldn’t get divorced. According to my mother she didn’t want her kids ending up a statistic. Mom could chill in Philly and dad would live at the shore house in North Wildwood, NJ. Then he could carry on his affairs and go fishing with his buddies.

The good thing about that arrangement was life was more peaceful at home. I didn’t have to deal with the tension of having dad around all the time and it was greatest hits on the weekends.

Ninth grade in middle school was up to that point, the worst year of my life. I’ve faced far worse years in my adult life but up to that year 1976 – 1977 was by far the worst. I’ll just give you the quick and dirty:

Puberty, Glasses, pimples all over my face, chest and back, terrible student, picked on by kids at school in school, on the way home from school, and after school. It was like I was walking around wearing a target. I loved girls but they all hated me, but when you think of all the shit that happened and was done to me, it’s wrong, but I brought nothing to the table. All I had was a few friends, my music, my art and my comic books. Life sucked.

I remember seeing the previews for the a new movie coming out called Star Wars one day on TV and went buck wild. I had to see that movie. All of the boys in the neighborhood were talking about it. It looked super cool.

I talked to my dad about it and he said he would take me. A little father and son time. Even though I was afraid of him back then I probably still loved him.  I believe it was opening weekend for the film.

We got on the train and went downtown. There was a line waiting out front to get in! He bought us hot dogs and cans of soda from a street cart and we ate them while waiting in line. This was a brilliant move, because then we wouldn’t get hung up in a concession line inside waiting for overpriced popcorn and drinks. We’d get right in and find a pair of seats. Could have been good planning on the part of my pop. He was always a great planner. That’s the good side of having high anxiety and OCD.

The movie starts and the rest is history. We loved it! It was probably the greatest movie I had ever seen in my life. Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was brilliant and is to this day still my favorite movie of all time. The special effects in 2001 set the standard for how science fiction films looked forever. But Star Wars was a fun, funny, exciting fable and adventure story. It blew my young mind.

It was an unforgettable afternoon with my pop and a landmark moment in film history. I went on to see it eight more times that summer!

But that’s another story!

 

 

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Wildwood Daze – 1974 to 1975 – Jaws

I was in Fels Junior High School.  My time at Fels was the worst time of my young life. I was entering puberty. I had greasy hair, braces, zits all over my face, glasses and weird clothes. I don’t know what my mom was thinking when she bought my wardrobe back then. I wore black dress shoes that had buckles on them. Kids would make fun of me and called them Pilgrim shoes. I was a total mess. If I had been a good student or an athlete all would have been forgiven but I was just a total loser. Low self-esteem, depression and anxiety didn’t help. But I was a smart kid. But that doesn’t help when you’re a total failure. I remember my mom later saying she wished she could have just put me to sleep and woke me up when I was 18.

The school of thought back then was you didn’t have to love your kids. I remember my mother later telling me that she didn’t love me during that time. I get it. But you don’t tell your child that. You don’t ever say those words to a little kid.

I loved to read. My father taught us all how to read before we ever went to school. He would spend time with us with books on how to sound out words and vowels and consonants. I will say when it came to educating us kids my father was amazing.

He would read us The Hobbit at night before bed.

I was a deadly reader long before my peers. I have instilled the same in my daughter growing up.  I may say no to you for another toy but I’ll never say to you if you want a book. I’ve bought plenty of both for Lorelei but she has always been an avid reader like her dad. I love that about her!

 

I was sitting in the auditorium after lunch one day doing study hall or whatever and this little Jewish ginger kid named Eric Dorfman gave me a paperback he had just finished entitled Jaws.

I loved sharks, dinosaurs, barbarians, superheroes and horror movies and everything like that so I was interested.

“You should read this. You’ll like it.”

I had never read an “adult novel” until then. I had only read science books, text books for school and most of all, comic books.

The book opens with a strong hook. Just like the opening of the film that would later premiere. I remember being drawn into the story immediately. My dad told me that the author Peter Benchley was the grandson of the author Robert Benchley.

Robert Charles Benchley was an American humorist best known for his work as a newspaper columnist and film actor. From his beginnings at the Harvard Lampoon while attending Harvard University, through his many years writing essays and articles for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker and his acclaimed short films, Benchley’s style of humor brought him respect and success during his life, from New York City and his peers at the Algonquin Round Table to contemporaries in the burgeoning film industry.

His grandson Peter Bradford Benchley was an American author and screenwriter. He is known for the bestselling novel Jaws and co-wrote its subsequent film adaptation with Carl Gottlieb. Several more of his works were also adapted for cinema, including The Deep, The Island, Beast, and White Shark.

Later in life, Benchley came to regret writing such sensationalist literature about sharks, which he felt encouraged excessive fear and unnecessary culls of such an important predator in ocean ecosystems and became an outspoken advocate for marine conservation.

By 1971, Benchley was doing various freelance jobs in his struggle to support his wife and children. During this period, when Benchley would later declare he was “making one final attempt to stay alive as a writer”, his literary agent arranged meetings with publishers. Benchley would frequently pitch two ideas, a non-fiction book about pirates, and a novel depicting a man-eating shark terrorizing a community. This idea had been developed by Benchley since he had read a news report of a fisherman catching a 4,550 pounds (2,060 kg) great white shark off the coast of Long Island in 1964. The shark novel eventually attracted Doubleday editor Thomas Congdon, who offered Benchley an advance of $1,000 leading to the novelist submitting the first 100 pages. Much of the work had to be rewritten as the publisher was not happy with the initial tone. Benchley worked by winter in his Pennington office, and in the summer in a converted chicken coop in the Wessons’ farm in Stonington. The idea was inspired by the several great white sharks caught in the 1960s off Long Island and Block Island by the Montauk charter boat captain Frank Mundus.

Jaws was published in 1974 and became a great success, staying on the bestseller list for 44 weeks. Steven Spielberg, (He was only 26 years old when he directed Jaws!) who would direct the film version of Jaws, has said that he initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win.  Book critics such as Michael A. Rogers of Rolling Stone shared the sentiment but the book struck a chord with readers.

Benchley co-wrote the screenplay with Carl Gottlieb (along with the uncredited Howard Sackler and John Milius, who provided the first draft of a monologue about the USS Indianapolis) for the Spielberg film released in 1975. Benchley made a cameo appearance as a news reporter on the beach. The film, starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, was released in the summer season, traditionally considered to be the graveyard season for films. However, Universal Studios decided to break tradition by releasing the film with extensive television advertising. It eventually grossed over $470 million worldwide. George Lucas used a similar strategy in 1977 for Star Wars which broke the box office records set by Jaws, and hence the summer blockbuster was born.

Benchley estimated that he earned enough from book sales, film rights and magazine/book club syndication to be able to work independently as a film writer for ten years.

I remember being terrified reading the book in my bed. I think about that now, and it seems silly. How could a monster who couldn’t leave the ocean even get me in my bed. But I was young and this was a grown up scary story. One of the things that I noticed about the book that was different from the movie was this: In the book Hooper is having an affair with Brody’s wife, and in the end he dies. In the book he’s in the shark cage and the shark smashes through it and eats him.

There was so much hype about this film when it came out. It was the summer of ’75 and we were down the shore in Wildwood. (Which is a resort/retirement community somewhat like Amity in Jaws) There were five movie theaters around the island and they all had the posters for the movie up. But another brilliant piece of marketing they had going were these other posters called “Shark Facts.” They had the Jaws logo at the bottom, and then a list of facts about sharks. My favorite one was “Most shark attacks occur in 3 feet of water.” I knew this scared the hell out of everyone.

After seeing Jaws you really never saw people just running down to the ocean and jumping in. It was more like, walk to the water’s edge, stop, peer out into the ocean and then step into the water.

One of our neighbors took his daughter Stacy to see it. (Which I thought was inappropriate, because she was too young to see a film that violent and gory. But that was just my opinion) Of course her dad Steve always did stupid stuff. The scene at night when they’re underwater investigating the wreck of a boat. Hooper sees a hole in the hull and pulls out what appears to be a Dorito chip sized shark tooth from the wood. As he does this a dead person’s head pops out. It is one of the most startling moments in the entire film. Well, Stacy jumped, the popcorn went flying and was stuck in her hair as well as her father’s hair! (They both had dark curly hair)

I remember a group of us went to see it. I’m pretty sure my sister Janice was in that group. I remember during the opening credits, which is a camera cruising underwater through the seaweed, I started having anxiety. I knew we were in for some real thrills and chills. The film is so well done. Even though the shark by today’s special effects standards looks so fake, it’s still hold up as a great movie.

While filming Jaws they had so many problems with “Bruce” the mechanical shark, that they couldn’t show him as much as they wanted to. But this worked out really well. You’re always more afraid of what you can’t see than what you can see. And that music! Brilliant score by John Williams. Probably the most iconic two notes in history.

It’s just a great story about three very different men, thrown together in a small space in a very dangerous place, up against a massive marine predator.

I’ve watched the film again recently. I watch it every summer. Last year it came on TV at my favorite bar, Square 1682, and the bartender passed out bowls of their delicious and savory truffle popcorn. It really made the moment and brought everyone together at the bar as we watched this landmark classic film.

Jaws invented the Summer Blockbuster!

 

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