Written by Ralph Grassi

June 20th of 2005 marks the thirtieth anniversary of the movie Jaws. It is hard to believe that 3 decades have passed since the crowds were lined up at the box office to be thrilled by the movie that launched the original 'summer blockbuster'.
Having grown up on the Jersey Shore I have many great memories - but nothing comes close to the summer of 1975. Jaws struck a chord nationwide but nowhere was its effect more profound than at the shore.
She was the first...
My life changed when Jaws came to the Blaker Theatre. I was 11 years old that summer and completely shark crazy - spending every day dressed in my Jaws attire. I think I had every Jaws t-shirt and sweatshirt that was available. I first became aware of Jaws the previous summer when I spotted a copy of the paperback novel by Peter Benchley at a friends house. From the moment I saw that cover art I was hooked. Little did I know that I was on the threshold of a shark frenzy that would set the tone for many summers to come.
The build up of this movie overwhelmed me. The commercials alone had me bouncing off the walls with anticipation. Finally the moment had arrived... to wait in line with Mom and Dad for what seemed like forever. The line was the longest I had ever seen for a movie and the theatre was packed to capacity. I can still remember the nervous laughter of the audience after each gruesome death - their reactions carrying well into the next scene on the screen. I walked out of the theatre that night with a new agenda. School had just let out and I had the whole summer ahead of me to fantasize about sharks at the Jersey shore.
According to Merlin Paul at the time of the showing, people began lining up at the ticket window at the Blaker two hours before the movie started. The two nightly performances at the 600 seat Blaker had sold out 28 consecutive times in its first two weeks. The photo above was taken in early July of 75' and comes from the AC Press. Pictured below is a photograph I took of the same corner in early July 2005. A far cry from what was taking place on this corner 30 years ago.
Above Brody and Hooper try to reason with the Mayor of Shark City.
Shown below are some of the ads that ran in the Wildwood Leader that summer.
After 12 weeks at the Blaker Theatre Jaws moved to the Shore Twin Two and ran through Labor Day. The above ads are taken from the Wildwood Leader.
The young man pictured to the right is Vince Sculli, who became known as "Joe Jaws" at the Blaker Theatre. Vince was featured in the Wildwood Leader that summer and at the time this photo was taken had seen the movie 28 times.
Jaws Page 2

Copyright 2005 Ralph Grassi