New book takes another bite at "Jaws" legend

Fri May 6, 2011 11:32am EDT
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By Lauren Keiper

BOSTON (Reuters Life!) - In the summer of 1974, a young Martha's Vineyard resident made a pact with his pals -- no one takes a role in the film "Jaws" unless everyone gets cast.

That year, Jeffrey Voorhees played Alex Kintner, the young boy snapped from his raft and devoured by the famous great white shark. His friends all played extras.

Off camera, some island kids tried to carve their initials into the model mechanical sharks stowed in an area of Oak Bluffs harbor dubbed "Shark City."

Vineyard marine mechanic Lynn Murphy and his wife Susan were "Shark City" regulars, rigging the towing mechanisms and running special effects for the "Jaws" star, Bruce the Shark.

Over the years, much of the story behind the shooting of "Jaws," the 1975 summer blockbuster based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel, has been well-documented.

But the anecdotes and photos from hundreds of Martha's Vineyard residents who worked behind the scenes during filming have been stashed away for decades in attics and memories across the island.

Now, a nearly 300-page book documents the impact of the film on the island and includes more than 1,000 photographs taken by local residents and interviews with islanders and key Hollywood players.

"Having grown up summers on the island and known many people involved in production, I knew there were countless stories and photos and pieces of information that had never seen the light of day," said the book's author Matt Taylor.   Continued...

<p>The mechanical shark mauls Hollywood Stuntman Ted Grossman for the estuary attack scene---September 1974. REUTERS/Edith Blake</p>