It’s time for another trip down Memory Lane with Mr. Nostalgia in “We’re going to need a bigger toy box!”
When my brother, sister and I were kids, one of our favorite movies was, and still is, Jaws. While my brother and sister like the entire franchise, I remain a purist and prefer just the first one. Let’s face it, the movie had it all, great acting by Roy Schedier, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss, a great theme, and enough scares to this day to still make me think of sharks every time I visit the beach.
We didn’t see the movie when it first came out in the theatre, the film came out in 1975 and I was just born. I figure it had to be a few years later on cable when it came out that we finally saw it and were hooked. We had the soundtrack on record as kids, and my brother would play the Jaws theme over and over which scared the crap out of me. It got to the point where I would sit on the backyard steps, the door shut, and the music coming muffled through the door. When I finally told my mother the music was scaring me, she told him to stop and his reply was, “It’s not like the shark is swimming underneath the rug,”. This thought scared me even more!
In 1975 Ideal toys put out a Jaws game which we had. It was made for 2 to 4 players ages 6 and up. It was basically a shark, about a foot long, that came with the following items: a camera, gas can, tire, skull, glove, anchor, cb, half a tire, a bone, a gun, a fish skeleton, a lantern and a boot. Each item had a loop on it to be removed by the gaff hook, basically a long stick with a hook at the end. The game was simple to put together, the sharks side fins get attached, the bottom jaw gets attached, and a rubber band on each end gets hooked on the fin that was inserted into the shark and the bottom jaw. This acted as a pulley system to open and close the mouth. You would put the pieces on the sharks bottom jaw weighing it down, and you’d take turns taking pieces out of the mouth with the gaff hook. The first person to remove 4 pieces without the mouth closing wins.
We had this game for years and I remember playing it a bunch of times. But somewhere as we grew up, the game either broke, was thrown away or sold at a garage sale. I forgot all about the game until Ebay came around. I found the game, box and all, for the low price of ten dollars. I couldn’t believe it. The seller shipped it over and when it came the box had some shelf wear, but the toy was still in good condition. I put it all together and tested it out and it still worked even with old rubber bands.
The jaws game by todays standards is quite simple in design and play. If it was made today who knows what kind of game they would have made. Perhaps they would have made the shark have rough shark skin instead of the smooth plastic it has, maybe an electronic chomping sound as the jaws shut, maybe even the jaws theme playing while you played the game. But I think that for 3 kids playing the game back in 1980’s, simple was what made the game work. All we needed was our imagination, and every so often my brother to play the jaws record to remind me how scary the film was.