Jaws movie poster

Monstervision Host Segments for

"Jaws" (1975)

A swimmer in the water is worth 2 on the beach - Gary Larson

The Doctor needs help

"Jaws" Intro

Joe Bob Briggs here, and I know you've all seen Jaws, in fact, you may've even seen it the other DAY, since TNT didn't bother to give "MonsterVision" the premiere of it. But let me tell you, we have got all the inside poop here tonight, so I highly suggest you watch it again. And then later we've got the excellent documentary on the Kennedy assassination, "Four Days In November," and we'll be joined by the director, Mel Stuart.

Do you ever get put on hold by somebody who's calling you but hasn't talked to you yet? The phone rings. You pick it up. You say hello. A voice says, "Mr. Briggs?" "Yeah." "Hold for Mr. Woods."

How could I be holding for Mr. Woods? I didn't call Mr. Woods. I wasn't trying to talk to Mr. Woods. I was eating my Fudgsicle in peace. But here I am, listening to the Walt Disney Studios "on hold" line, which is playing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins, which is making me grind my teeth, and I'm thinking to myself: "How could I be on hold? I didn't CALL ANYBODY!"

Is this just an El Lay thing or is it everywhere? Because it seems to be happening all the time. Somebody wants to talk to you, but they don't call you. They have SOMEBODY ELSE call you. And then when THAT person, who has nothing to say to you, gets you on the line, you're put on hold and the Fake Calling Person goes in search of the Real Calling Person, and after a little while a voice comes on.

"Joe Bob, how the hell are you?"

"Well, I would be okay, but I'VE BEEN ON HOLD FOR TWO MINUTES."

All right, I'm gonna remain calm. I'm gonna try to figure this out. This is a Big Shot that's calling, right? This is a person who has an assistant. (Everybody has "assistants." Nobody has a secretary. There is no longer any such job as secretary. It doesn't exist. Or is that an El Lay thing, too?)

So my question is: How does it save any time for the Big Shot to have the assistant make the call? Just exactly what task does the Big Shot expect to perform during the THREE SECONDS it takes the assistant to dial my number? Here's Mr. Big Shot sitting at his desk. He has a LOT of calls to make, so let's get started. "Brenda, get Joe Bob on the phone." While she's doing that, he has a little extra time to . . . uh . . . I don't know . . . maybe make another call? Is that what's happening? He figures he'll make ANOTHER call, then when I come on the line, I'll have to wait two minutes while he finishes that call, but then I'll be raring to go. He won't lose that valuable three seconds BETWEEN the two phone calls. And what if Mr. Big Shot is calling ANOTHER Mr. Big Shot? "Brenda, get Wilson on the line." So Brenda calls Wilson, but Wilson doesn't pick up. Instead, Wanda picks up. Wanda is the assistant for Wilson. So Brenda says, "Mr. Big Shot calling for Mr. Wilson." And then Wanda says, "Hold for Mr. Wilson." And then what's Brenda supposed to do? Does she hand the phone to Mr. Big Shot or hold for Mr. Wilson herself? If Brenda and Wanda were BOTH determined to stay on the line until the OTHER Big Shot came on, you could have a Mexican Assistant Standoff, with such scintillating conversation as "Please hold," and "I'm already holding, but I want Mr. Wilson to hold," and "Mr. Wilson won't hold until Mr. Big Shot holds" and "Maybe we can make the switch at the same moment." I'd like to see that.

Speaking of Big Shots, that's exactly what we have tonight in "Jaws," and I don't mean Steven Spielberg, I mean the shark. Bruce, they named it, after Spielberg's lawyer. Do I have even have to describe the plot for this one? Big shark terrorizes tourist trap, makes water too bloody for swimming. Three drunk guys go a-hunting. Spielberg bought a house in Malibu after he made it, and it even took HIM years to go back in the water, that's how convincing it was. Here are those drive-in totals:

Five dead bodies.
Two dead sharks.
One dead dog.
Boat chomping.
Raft chomping.
Skinny-dipper chomping.
Corpse-eating crabs.
Bloody fish dumping.
Beer chugging.
Radio bashing.
Exploding seafood.
38 gallons of blood.

Four stars.

Check it out--it'll still scare the living daylights outta you. [fading] What would happen if the next time the phone rang and somebody said: "Joe Bob Briggs? Hold for Mr. Woods," I just said: "No. I want Mr. Woods to hold for ME." What would happen? What exactly would Brenda do? What if I said, "Tell him I'm putting this line on hold, but I'll pick it up again in two minutes"? Cause if I'm holdin, these El Lay guys are gonna start holdin, too, you know what I mean?"

"Jaws" Commercial Break #1

"Jaws," the movie that made midnight skinny-dipping a thing of the past, from Maui to Myrtle Beach. That was a stuntwoman playing the part of first victim, cause they didn't think an actor could handle being tugged under the water like that. And yes, she WAS nekkid. When they looked at the dailies of what they'd shot from the shark's point of view, everybody was really embarrassed cause it was like twenty minutes of her himminahommina, and Spielberg had to sit there and swear the shots would get darker. Which, unfortunately, they did.

Okay, the Academy Award-winning score by John Williams--probly one of the few film composers who've become household words--has already come into play. When you hear that sound, the shark's around. How many times do you guys think John Williams has been nominated for an Oscar? Well, I'll tell you. 33. And he's won five times. I'm sorry, but I'm impressed. All right, let's get back to the flick. Roll it.

[fading] Everybody always says John Williams stole the "Jaws" riff. But nobody knows exactly from where. Some say it's from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. Some say it's from Dominic Frontiere's score to the TV movie "Fer-de-lance." But my favorite claim is that he stole it from Russ Meyer's film "Vixen," which was basically about women with fabulously large garbonzas. I may have to watch that film again to check on that. I may have to watch it twice."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #2

"Jaws" sneak-previewed right here in Dallas on March 26, 1975 at the Medallion Theater. Steven Spielberg was so nervous that he stood in the back instead of taking his seat. So he's standing back there, and when the boy on the raft gets eaten by the shark, this guy in the audience gets up and RUNS for the door. So Spielberg thinks his career is over, that people are RUNNING out of the theater. But instead of leaving, the guy THROWS UP in the lobby, goes to the bathroom, and goes back to his seat. And I believe it, cause I just felt a little queasy as I was watching that scene--all that blood gushing everywhere, and frothing up onto the shore. Yay-uh. Anyhow, that's when Spielberg knew they had a hit. And he was right--"Jaws" has made 470 million big ones since it opened.

All right, this movie was so riddled with production problems that they nicknamed it "Flaws," but we'll talk about that in a little while. Right now, let's get back to it. Go.

[fading] The movie studio delayed the release of "Jaws" till the beginning of beach season. How mean is that? We need to get some of those folks working on THIS show."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #3

"All right, since we didn't have any dead bodies in that last part, let's talk about the Hell everyone went through to make this movie. The guy who wrote the book, Peter Benchley, had written a film script, but Spielberg didn't like it much. And he didn't like any of the other rewrites. And he thought he could just hire a shark wrangler to make a great white do a few pirouettes in the water, but then he realized he had to BUILD a shark. Which he and George Lucas managed to BREAK the first time they went to look at it. Before they even started shooting, Spielberg was trying to figure out how to get himself off the picture short of dying. But he went ahead, and started out with a budget of 3.5 million and a shooting schedule of 55 days up in Martha's Vineyard. When Bruce made his ocean debut--remember, that's the shark--he sank. During his second test in the water, his hydraulic system exploded. Then the jaws wouldn't close right. Then the tail would move to the left and just stay there, and the shark would be dragged like a 26-foot turd thought the water. Then they'd look at the dailies the next day, and the shark's eyes would be crossed. The current kept changing. The generator was stolen off the set. They'd chosen the location in the middle of winter, when no one was there, but when they shot the film in July, all these boats kept sailing right up to the camera to see what all the fuss was about. Universal wanted to write the boats into the movie, but Spielberg said what kinda menace is there gonna be if there's a family of four right there having a picnic on their sailboat? Then there was the problem of the ocean and the sky constantly changing. But he and the editor, Verna Fields, figured no one would be detached enough to notice that. And you know what? He was right again. I'd have to watch REAL close to tell you which shots have clouds in em and which don't. Spielberg planned to show the shark three times as much, but all the problems with the mechanics made him go more Hitchcock the-less-you-see-the-more-you-get instead of Japanese Saturday matinee horror flick. Okay, have I talked enough? Roll the film--Spielberg moment coming up.

[fading] By the way, the final budget ended up being ten million dollars, which is nothing by today's standards, but it was WAY over the 3.5 mil they started out with. And they went from a 55-day schedule to 159 days--five and half MONTHS of the shark flipping upside-down while Canadian tourists pointed and laughed. Okay, now I'm done."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #4

 I KNOW it's coming, I'm READY for it, and I STILL jump outta my seat "Oh, man, that head in the bottom of the boat gets me every time. I KNOW it's coming, I'm READY for it, and I STILL jump outta my seat when it pops into the frame like that. When they previewed "Jaws" before it came out, the audiences screamed when they saw that, but Spielberg re-shot the scene in the editor's swimming pool cause he wanted em to SCREAM LOUDER.

Okay, everybody knows Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw, more or less--maybe we'll talk a little bit about them later--but I do wanna point out that the woman playing Roy Scheider's wife is Lorraine Gary, also known as Mrs. Sidney Sheinberg. Sidney Sheinberg is the guy who gave Steven Spielberg his first job. But Steven ended up in a pinch when one of the guys who'd given him THIS job, Richard Zanuck, told HIS wife she had a good shot at the same role. Anyway, for whatever reason, Lorraine Gary won out, and I like her a lot. She's kinda saucy, you know? Okay, let's get back to the flick.

[fading] What does she say earlier? "Wanna get drunk and fool around?" You don't hear that too often anymore, do you? Now it's more like, "Wanna get a mango iced tea and go have a blood test?" I don't know, something's just been kinda LOST."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #5

"There was a gruesome scene shot for "Jaws" that never made it into the movie. When Roy Scheider's son escapes the shark in that pond thingie, the shark originally comes after the kid with the other guy still in his mouth, and the guy, who's barely alive, pushes the kid out of the shark's way, heroically saving him. And either it looked too real, or the shark's skin was peeling off, which it was prone to do in the salt water. We'll never know. Okay, speaking of peeling off, it's time for "Joe Bob's Advice to the Hopeless" [enters] and I'd like to peel something off the TNT Mail Girl, if you know what I mean and I think you do.

MAIL GIRL: You're just a master of the segway, aren't you, Joe Bob?

I'm a master of all kinds of things. Why don't we go away next weekend and I'll show you?

MAIL GIRL: Do you know how to put up a tent?

We masters call it "pitching a tent."

MAIL GIRL: Do you know how to hunt?

Best shot in the Eagle Scouts.

MAIL GIRL: Do you know how to fish?

And fry it up in a pan.

MAIL GIRL: Good. So you won't have to worry about being bored all by yourself next weekend. Here's a letter from Brian and Cris at Bellarmine High in San Jose, California.

"Joe Bob,

"My best friend, Cris, and I were recently abducted by aliens while watching your show. They interrogated us for hours on end because they were researching why earthlings watch your show on a regular basis. They became extremely agitated when we simply explained to them we were sci-fi freaks and our sole purpose in life is to worship you, the Great JBB and Reno (hubba,hubba!)."

Are you happy these guys didn't mention YOU, Rusty?

MAIL GIRL: We Mail Girls take all compliments collectively.

"After hours of grueling interrogation, the alien leader dissected our brains. After finding nothing, they replaced them. However, I think they switched our brains around. I say this because when my parents call me, I ignore them. My friend Cris is also doing my homework and chores. Is this weird or what? We may need some intensive therapy from Reno. Any advice?

"Fans to the end,
"Brian and Cris (or is it Cris and Brian)
"Sophomores at Bellarmine, San Jose, California."

Well, first of all, Cris and/or Brian, you actually paid attention to your parents BEFORE you were abducted? What kind of teenagers are you? And what's this about homework and chores? I've heard of homework, and I've heard of chores, but I've never heard of homework AND chores. I can buy the whole alien thing, but you guys sound like you were weird to BEGIN with. You escaped the anal probe, so count yourselves lucky. Okay, speaking of lucky--I'm not gettin it, am I?

MAIL GIRL: You ARE the master of the segway, but no, you're not gettin lucky.


"Jaws" Commercial Break #6

"There's a lot of drinkin in this movie, isn't there? TNT Standards & Practices is probly spittin up their chocolate milk right about now. They HATE it when people drink on their network. Okay, the shark hunt is about to begin, so let's not hold it up.

[fading] Psychiatrists try to pinpoint why people love "Jaws" so much. Some of em theorize that people identify not with the victims but with the killer shark, as a surrogate for their own aggressions. Do we like that one? Nah. Other ones view the film as a metaphor for the "helplessness and powerlessness" ordinary folk in the US of A feel in their everyday lives. Enh. How bout this one: The shark and the sea are symbols for primal fears buried deep in the collective unconscious of all mankind. Lots of fancy lingo there, but I think it's all a bunch of hooey. How bout it's just a great movie? Now who's smarter, me or the guys with the fancy lingo who get paid a hundred and fifty bucks an hour? I think I just answered that."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #7

"You're gonna need a bigger boat." Lotta famous lines in this movie. One of the advantages of the production shutting down a bunch of times cause of all the technical problems is that the actors became this little repertory company. Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw would have dinner and improvise scenes, and Carl Gottlieb--the writer Spielberg hired to do the final draft--would write it all down. Then they'd shoot it the next day. I think you can kinda see it in the movie, that they're friends. Or maybe I'm just deluded by the power of suggestion. I don't know. Roll it.

[fading] You know that movie "All That Jazz" that Roy Scheider did a couple of years after "Jaws"? Richard Dreyfuss was up for that part. Can you imagine Richard Dreyfuss dancing around like a Broadway choreographer? Course, now that I think about it, it'd be pretty tough to imagine Roy Scheider doin that either if I hadn't seen it myself. Roy Scheider, featured in "Jaws," "Klute," "Marathon Man," "The French Connection," and, of course, his debut film and best work of all, "The Curse of the Living Corpse."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #8

"That was so fast I barely had time to shake it off. Dang. Okay, you're probly tired of talking about "Jaws," but how can we not acknowledge the great Robert Shaw USS Indianapolis story? You know how many people claim credit for writing that speech? John Milius, the guy who wrote and directed the immortal Red Dawn which we showed here a few months back, is on the list. He claims to have come up with the idea and says he dictated the speech over the phone to someone. Carl Gottlieb, the writer on the set, says Robert Shaw--who was also a novelist and a playwright--wrote it. Spielberg says a guy named Howard Sackler came up with the idea, John Milius wrote an 8-page speech, and Robert Shaw cut it down to five. But my favorite part of the story is that when they shot it, Robert Shaw asked Spielberg if he could have a drink so he could "be the scene." And then he showed up plastered and he forgot all his lines and Spielberg had to send him home. And Steve gets a call at three a.m. from Shaw saying "Can I do it again tomorrow?" And the next day--one, two takes--he does the most famous speech in the flick. All right, let's go.

[fading] Well, what do you guys WANT me to talk about? You people can handle eleven months of Monica Lewinski, but I can't talk about one of the biggest movies in history for an hour and a half? Get outta here."

"Jaws" Commercial Break #9

"Okay, the engine has burned out, the Orca is sinking, and Robert Shaw bludgeoned the radio to death an hour ago. Okay, who knows why Spielberg is the king of the world? Jim Cameron can kiss his butt. Because who do I believe more, Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, curvaceous as she is, or the three guys on the Orca? I shouldn't say anything bad about Jim Cameron, though. Maybe he's some big philanthropist, giving millions to save the hairy-bellied manatee or something. Or maybe he had a troubled childhood, and battled learning disabilities to become the success he is. Or maybe he's gonna give me my next job when TNT finally fires my butt. I love you, Jim. Okay, big, BIG conclusion to "Jaws." Roll it.

[fading] Not that I think TNT has any REASON to fire my butt. I love you, too, Ted."

"Jaws" Outro

"I cannot BELIEVE what TNT just did! They cut out 90 percent of Robert Shaw getting gobbled by the shark! There's at least a couple of minutes of his legs getting chomped, and him screaming, and then the shark chomps right on his stomach and all this blood comes GUSHING out of his mouth. They cut it down to, like, two seconds. I am NOT happy about this.

Okay, well, I'm gonna have to bring it down a little and get serious anyway, cause next we have the excellent 1965 documentary, "Four Days in November," but first I wanna remind you that next week, we have the yummy Christina Applegate in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, followed by "MonsterVision" classic Deadly Friend.

I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and it's now officially November 22nd, so we have a special presentation marking the 35th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Since I've spent much of my life in Dallas, and even worked as a journalist in Dallas, I can't ever remember a November the 22nd going by without all kinds of hoopla--articles, and reminiscences, and lame conspiracy theories, and memorial services, and umpteen jillion newspaper columns--and one of the things that has endured over the years is the documentary we're gonna watch now. This is actually one of the few documentaries in history that was released in theaters. It was put together quickly--it came out less than a year after the assassination, and in most cities it was used to commemorate the one-year anniversary of JFK's death. It's called "Four Days in November." And the curious thing about it is that almost every American has already seen at least 50 per cent of the footage in it, and yet it still has an incredible power, when you see it all in one place. The producer and director of the film, Mel Stuart, is gonna join me at the first break--so we'll be able to learn a little more than your average bear about how the film was put together. And then later on in the presentation tonight, we'll also be joined by an old buddy of mine, Bob Porter, who's been a reporter in Dallas for 35 years--he was part of the team at the Dallas Times Herald that put together the first edition that hit the streets after the assassination, he knew Jack Ruby very well, and he's spent the past few years putting together an oral history project about the assassination. At any rate, this is a powerful film--much more powerful than "JFK," to use a ridiculous example, and really the place you have to start if you're ever gonna understand what the assassination did to the country. Many people think the world was never quite the same after the events of November 22, 1963, and after watching "Four Days in November" you're liable to agree with em. Let's run the film, and at the first break we'll meet Mel Stuart, the filmmaker, and you guys at the frat houses--easy on the brewskis from here on out, okay? You just might LEARN somethin. You guys! Okay, go ahead and roll the film.

[fading] Ted made a special request--no jokes about the Kennedy assassination. We have this wonderful solemn historical film, and THEY DON'T TRUST ME to treat it with respect. My OWN network. My OWN family. It hurts, you know?"
Is it real or is it Photoshop?
"Jaws" reviewed by a guy stuck in space with 2 robots

Back to Monstervision
See how many people Bruce the Shark chomps in
MonsterVision review & host segments for Jaws 2
See what Joe Bob has to say about the 4th one, Jaws: The Revenge

"Jaws" was named one of "TV Guide's 50 DVD's You Must Have" in the November 30, 2002 issue

Fun Fact
Two weeks after airplanes flew into the World Trade Center towers in New York, Peter Hessler says in New Yorker magazine that the Chinese Communist government-run Xinhua publishing house in Beijing issued a DVD "The Century's Great Catastrophe" containing pirated footage from ABC News and even American movies: the theme from "Jaws" is heard as the north tower collapses in slow motion. The Chinese government officially expressed solidarity against terrorists though, and city air-raid sirens were tested for the first time since a past tense period with Taiwan - an Islamic minority near the Afghan border in China has been increasingly violent in recent years and could get ideas...

"Why be boring? Have some fun. Rock shows should be like movies: I don't go to a movie hoping it'll change my life. When I saw 'Jaws 3' (1983), it wasn't a great movie, but it was worth the seven bucks to see the shark eat the helicopter. It was a wonderful waste of time."

Alice Cooper

The quote at the top of this page was the punchline of a rejected "Farside" cartoon. I don't know why it was rejected. Who could possibly be offended by that? Well, maybe someone who lost half a boyfriend to a shark attack. But as the Cryptkeeper once said, "Half a boyfriend is better than none!"

Host segment transcript for 11/21/98 broadcast 1998 Turner Network Television. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved

If you thought Jaws was scary, Joe Bob says the Jaws.org website is even more scary!