"Martin, it's all psychological. You yell barracuda, everybody says, "Huh? What?" You yell shark, we've got a panic on our hands on the Fourth of July,” says the mayor to Chief Brody in one of the many iconic scenes of Jaws (1975), the original summer blockbuster.
Martha’s Vineyard, the white-picket idyll which became “Amity” through Tinseltown transfusion, is as much the star as the Hollywood celebrities (or shark). Shooting took three months longer than expected, and the film more than doubled its budget. Director Steven Spielberg has called it the hardest shoot of his career, but as the crew began filming in the spring of 1974, Jaws changed people’s lives.
Spielberg hired a lot of locals including Al Wilde (Harry in the swimming hat), estuary artist Carla Hogendyk (“Shark in the pond!”), Peggy Scott (Brody’s secretary) and the grieving Mrs Kintner (Lee Fierro) along with scores of extras. My heart always breaks when a young man (Stephen Potter) calls out for his dog “Pipet! Pipet!” the only sign of which is the animal’s stick, bobbing in the waves. Little did they know then that Pipet of Chappaquiddick would doggy-paddle her way into the annals of movie history.