Is it safe to go back in the water?

When I read in the newspaper that Jaws would be shown at a local pool, I had to go. The last time I saw it in its entirety was in a Madison, Wisconsin theater in 1975. When a bloated dead guy floated out of a capsized boat’s window, I kicked the seat ahead of me so hard, I bruised my leg. I didn’t want to take a bath for a week.

The idea of allowing people to swim while watching a film that terrified me forty years ago was too much. This was an adventure I didn’t want to miss.

When we arrived, we staked out our turf across the pool from the big screen. The showing was free so I expected a mob. A surfing music band played poolside to get us in the mood.

photo 2 (5)

There were about as many people in the water as out of the water.

I thought swimmers would flee the pool and join the other half watching from the safety of the grassy slope after the 4th of July shark attack. Da Dum. Da Dum. Da Dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum… We all knew what was coming. Many brave souls bobbed on the water and continued to watch. Jaws at the pool

I had forgotten about the humor. In the beginning of the movie, Brody (Roy Scheider), freaks himself out after studying a shark book complete with photographs of attack victims. He orders his sons to climb out of their moored boat. His wife (Lorraine Gary), thinks he’s overreacting. She glances at the book then screams for them to “Get out of the boat!”

Later, Quint (Robert Shaw) and Hooper (Richard Dreyfus), compare scars on their arms and legs. Hooper says he has the old curmudgeon beat. He points to his heart and says, it was broken by a girl long ago.

The one-liners, “That’s one bad hat, Harry,” and,  “We’re going to need a bigger boat,” by Brody, tempered the horror. The slower pacing subdued the tension. We needed the downtime to slow our beating hearts. “Here’s to swimmin’ with bowlegged women.” Quint cracked me up.

As Jaws ramped up with violence, the pool emptied. Could you blame them?

Jaws in Boulder

I had expected the film to be grainy, the sound to be garbled and the crowd to talk through the whole movie. It was like watching at home, if I had a giant movie screen and a pool. There was something about seeing the screen reflected in the water that added an extra chill.

I found Movies in the Park’s Facebook page and suggested they make this an annual event. I don’t think it would be the same if they played, “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Will I take a bath this week? I think I’ll play it safe and stick to showers. Da dum. Da dum. Da dum. Da dum da dum da dum da dum da dum…

This is a response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge half and half.

Have you seen Jaws? How long has it been? Could you swim with sharks?

84 thoughts on “Is it safe to go back in the water?

  1. That scene with the two guys on the dock and one going in the water and then trying to out swim the shark was one of my favorites. The quiet before race for life was what made the scene. In fact, the quiet was the secret to many of the shock scenes, like the opening one. And then after the attack in the opening, no background music, just the clanging of the buoy bell. Masterful!

    P.S. This take-off on SNL was also a masterpiece. http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/landshark/2832305

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    • Thanks for sharing Land Shark. One of my SNL faves!
      That scene was so intense. I thought for sure the guy would be munched. You’re right about the quiet. The shark attacked from behind the cage when Hooper was in the water. I jumped a mile!

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  2. I own the DVD and watch it regularly – have loved that movie since it came out all those years ago because to me, it wasn’t scary. I didn’t live near any oceans so what was there to be afraid of :-). I enjoyed it though – it remains one of my go to classics along with The Birds, and other “animals killing humans” type movies. As for the swimming with sharks – I’d love to do a cage dive. Just one mind you, lol. To see a great white or even a Whale shark in the wild would be a major thrill. Now mind you, once seen, I’d be quick about getting out of the water, no need in taking any chances on becoming part of the food chain ;-).

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  3. Oh, I remember the first time I saw “Jaws,” too! And you had me when you mentioned the bloated body floating in the boat window – that comment took me to the exact moment I saw that for the first time. It’s a classic movie, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is! Now that I’m screenwriting, I appreciate the complexity of this film. The way they set up tension with two notes and other times when Jaws surprise attacks is brilliant! You never know what’s coming! It was better the second time.

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  4. You do the coolest things, Susie. I watched Jaws just the other day too. I thought it was about time my son watched it. I was nowhere near as scared as when I was a kid and the fun part was I had forgotten what happened next so I enjoyed it too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Catherine!
      I tried watching it at home in April, but with commercials and interruptions, I gave up. Good thing since this was like seeing it in a theater.
      What did your son think of it?

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    • When I first read about it, I was committed to book club, but it was cancelled! I really wanted to go.
      I was tempted to bring my swimsuit. It was in the mid 80’s when we arrived, but the temperature dropped. I bet they were warmer in the water! My imagination would have freaked me out and I would have been out of the water so fast! Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Susie – what a great idea! I didn’t see the movie in a theater that summer. I had other things going on. But, I read the book which was creepy enough. We lived on a lake and I was very cautious when we went swimming. I saw it the movie on TV and squirmed when the shark appeared knowing what was going to happen. Movie making has changed in 40 years and it is fun to watch some of the old movies. I took my daughter to watch Finding Nemo at the pool a few years ago, but Jaws is a showstopper!

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    • Hey Clay! Great to see you.
      With the screen reflected in the pool with viewers bobbing around, it was surreal! I tried to watch it on TV a few months ago, but lost interest with all the commercials. I remember hearing stories of gar attacks, so there was always some fear in swimming in Lake Mendota! Finding Nemo is cute for a pool viewing too, but you’re right about Jaws. Unedited and without commercials or people talking, it was a spectacular event!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I went swimming in an enclosure with nurse sharks and stingrays once in the Dominican as a part of a tour. The guide said that these sharks have no teeth so they won’t bite, but warned to not touch or get too close, since they are easily 8-10 feet long and can easily knock you out with their tail.
    Well, the sharks were pretty docile, so it was a pretty cool experience, but I looked up these sharks later, and apparently, they don’t really bite, but suck out the flesh of their victims, usually stingrays – and the “nurse” name comes from that sucking sound.
    Honestly, I don’t feel retroactively scared for being with those sharks in the water as bad as I feel for these stingrays that were swimming in the same enclosure.

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  7. Love the movie Jaws,Susie, but like you I couldn’t even take a bath after I had seen it the first time without hearing that ominous theme. LOL It’s the perfect summer movie and I have to say the opening scene with the beautiful blonde girl still sends chills up my spine. Inion was very young when she first saw it and my little beach bum refused to go into the water without her Poppa by her side. Decades later, my son (Vincent) was introduced to it and fell in love. It’s been a while since we all sat down and watched it but I’m seeing a tv party in the Perrone household’s future…. and less trips to the beach. 😉

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    • Those are great memories and it sounds like you’ll be making another! A Jaws party would be fantastic. Just think of the fun you could have with food and decorations. Set up a wading pool and watch it in the backyard! Ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is so cool that they did this by the pool. Such a great setting. I have never been a fan of swimming in the ocean to begin with. Now, with all the shark attacks lately I’ll definitely be happy to lounge around a pool with a cold cocktail!

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    • Considering how many sharks are in the ocean, there aren’t that many, but I get the heebie jeebies when I’m in too deep. That sounds like a great alternative, Phil. It really was a fun time and no shark bites!!!

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  9. That’s “How to TRAIN Your Dragon”. *giggle* (I’m fond of saying, “That’s some bad hat, Harry!” and didn’t know it came from Jaws…Bad Hat Harry Productions did “House”, so that’s where I get it from!)

    This freshwater fish will stay in her Great Lakes, thank you…no sharks or jellyfish there!

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  10. What a fun way to watch such a classic movie! The opening scene is the one that still gets me to this day! That girl out for a lovely evening swim..OY! I would most definitely sitting in my lawn chair watching, rather the pool. Knowing my husband, he would have grabbed my leg & pulled me under at just the appropriate moment!

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    • My husband would have done the same thing or maybe I would have pulled his leg. What a dirty trick that would be! The opening scene is so eerie. It was dusk so it was harder to see, thank God! 🙂

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    • Thanks Renee! It was a fun time, but it still got me jumping out of my chair.
      I always forget about jellyfish. They are pretty stealth in their slimy transparent ways.
      Have a fabulous weekend too!

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  11. Wow, what a great idea Susie! To tell you the truth I don’t think I ever watched the movie all the way through. ❤
    Diana

    p.s. I wonder if anyone peed in the pool dum dum dum dum dum 😉

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  12. I’ll be going to the Jersey shore in a few weeks. There have been shark sightings all over the east coast this summer and more than a few people have been bitten. I have no plans on changing my plans to swim. Statistics are on my side, plus as an old codger, I’ll be nowhere near as tender and delicious as thousands of nubile young folks who’ll surround me. In the event I do get bitten, I’ll have a hell of a story to tell that adventurer Susie Lindau. If I get killed, then I can stop worrying about cancer and heart disease. I’ll keep you posted.

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    • I think you have a pretty good theory. You may want to paddle on a surf board and keep your toes out of the water, just in case. As far as sharing your adventure, I hope you never have to tell the tale!

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  13. What fun! I love the idea of watching Jaws at a pool. At least the swimmers know the only danger is from a pool floatie. 🙂

    Here, we have outdoor movies in Bryant Park. It’s been years since I went and your post is a great reminder to check out the upcoming schedule.

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    • I didn’t know what to expect, but I loved the idea. It was a blast! I had forgotten so much of the movie. The pool stretched out in front of the screen with swimmers bobbing in the water added to the tension. I would definitely check out the schedule. I was amazed at how quiet everyone was.

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  14. I saw “Jaws” 40 years ago, too, Susie. It was at the Serra theater in Daly City. It was a dump of a theater, but I had a great time. It is one of the few Steven Spielberg films I thoroughly enjoy. Much of his work I find too schmaltzy, but I did like “Lincoln”. I bought the sound track and about eight years later, when I was living in NYC, I used the opening bars of the iconic John Williams’ theme song on my answering machine (remember those?) before the “beep”. I used to work freelance back then. One of my employers complained about it. In response to that criticism, I got a sound effects record and used a horrific crash before the “beep”. Of course, that elicited even more complaints including one from my mother. Then, I changed the recording to my voice saying, “Hello!” in a normal, conversational tone. I’d pause, long enough for whoever was calling to start talking, and then, “beep”! It’s amazing that anyone hired me, much less that I worked freelance for almost ten years. Back to “Jaws”, no, I’ve never gone swimming with sharks. I can’t swim. But, I have eaten shark. It tasted like fishy-flavored chicken. I agree with you, “Jaws” should be screened annually in summer at that pool.

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    • I still have an answering machine! You must have amused and pissed off a lot people. I had a friend who said, “Hello?” It got me every time.
      Jaws is a classic. Most horror movies don’t come close. They rely on graphic scenes instead of building tension. The two note trick was a brilliant idea and I stiffened up every time.
      Better that you eat the shark than the other way around. You’ve lived on both coasts and don’t swim. There’s a challenge for you! I learned to swim in a lake, then refined my meager skills at an indoor high school pool. I still hate crawl stroke, but enjoy taking a few laps of breast stroke. My new boobs keep me bobbing.

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  15. Oh what a fun idea, I would definitely be up for that! I’d rather stand it the water to watch that than to watch the more recent Piranha film which disturbed me big time! Love Jaws, it’s such a classic. I was born in 1970 so I was a little too young to see it in the theatres when it first came out, but I’m pretty sure I’d seen it by the time was 9 or 10, I guess on TV or video. And I’ve seen it a few times since.

    Like others have commented, I’m not keen on swimming in the sea too deep or rather where I can’t see the bottom, that’s the issue rather than depth isn’t it, but I think I’d have been like that even if I hadn’t seen jaws.

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    • In the movie, they said most attacks happened in 3 feet of water. I wonder if that is still true. I remember an old movie Pirhana. I don’t think they would show Anaconda, since it was probably filled with bad language, but that movie doesn’t come close to Jaws either.
      I know what you mean. I get creeped out too!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The 2010 piranha film really did disturb me for some reason, I saw it on TV last year and I actually had to stop watching it half way through because I felt so traumatised by it! (What a wuss!). Not sure exactly why, it’s probably no more graphic than any other teen horror type film, but I guess something about it got to me for whatever reason, and left me for several hours with a horrible feeling inside as if something awful had happened in real. So yeah, I’d give that one a miss if it was showing at the pool, but Jaws, I’d be there!

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  16. I remember seeing Jaws in the theatre too! That brought back such memories, mostly of me being scared to death at the thought of water. We went to the shore shortly after seeing this movie and they were selling Shark Protector bracelets on the boardwalk, so I just got myself one of those babies and enjoyed my time at the beach. The bracelet was just braided white rope and EVERYONE had one. I’ll assume the genius who came up with that is safe and secure on their private beach right about now.

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  17. Here in South Africa we made international headlines when a Great White accidentally attacked the Aussie Surfer Mick Fanning in a surfing competition in Jeffreys Bay. They say that the shark is still suffering from Post Traumatic Stress… we joke a bit about it being Australia’s enemy in a lot of sports, but seriously we are glad that Mick is OK and back home safely… We do have some of the world’s best shark viewing in the world, and they do get a much worse reputation than deserved. But then.., there are also times and places that are better to avold the water…

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    • I guess we take risks with any adventure into a wild animal’s territory. Considering how many there are, the attacks seem minimal. I guess the East Coast has had quite a few this summer, so swimmer beware!

      I removed your link since it was in another language and seemed unrelated unless I didn’t drink enough coffee yet this morning. The cool thing about WordPress is people can click on your name to go to your blog. 🙂

      Do you swim in the ocean?

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  18. I grew up in So Fla and we all had a healthy respect for things that swam with us in the ocean. We were more afraid of the jellyfish than sharks. JAWS did make us gun shy of fins but they would turn out to be dolphins. JAWS is one of those movies for me that when channel surfing ya just can’t help watching it for the 101th time.

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    • Same!
      I never really knew enough about jellyfish to be afraid, but after a story about the nastiest ones in Australia, it would make me think twice. Them I’d probably go in anyway. Ha!
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  19. How fun! I haven’t seen it in MANY years because I am a big, big baby about scary/gory stuff. Can’t watch it at all without projecting whatever horror was on the screen into my daily life.

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    • So a leg floating down to the bottom of the sea might have been too much for you. 🙂 I’m the same way, but being a 40 year old film, it wasn’t anything like today’s standard of gore. I couldn’t believe the tension and the humor. That juxtaposition made the film one of the best. Go see it! Cover your eyes when you hear, Da dum. Da dum. Da dum…

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