This is a shark. Not Chris Sasser.
Remember when you saw Jaws you thought it was pretty cool, but totally terrifying? Maybe you had a tough time sleeping that night, or maybe your big brother kept telling you he saw a fin in the water and chased you around the beach making that awful “duh-dump” sound over and over and…
Well anyway, some folks didn’t have despicably evil siblings and had a much more positive experience with the movie. Philly’s Chris Sasser is one of those folks, and like any good subject matter expert he created a Tumblr to share his passion. I had the chance to chat with Chris about Shark City, his tumblog devoted to all things Jaws.
So, Shark City. How does one end up running a Tumblr about Jaws? Traumatic experience with sharks when you were younger? Just a big Jaws fan? What’s the story?
I would love to tell you all about how the girl of my dreams– my high school sweetheart– and I eloped just after our first year of college to a small island to get married. Our honeymoon turned into a horrormoon while swimming off the shore. A large Tiger Shark attacked my girl… clamping down on her legs and dragging her out to sea right out of my very grasp. I became obsessed with finding and killing this bastard shark… and I realized that I mirrored Robert Shaw in Jaws in many ways.
Again, I would love to relate that tale… but it would be pure fabrication.
In truth, I was five when Jaws hit. It was a phenomenon of course, and everyone was talking about it. The iconic artwork by Roger Kastel really captured my imagination. That monster fish. Those sharp teeth. The naked blonde… it all clicked. The more I heard about it, the more I wanted to see it. Every time we passed by a movie marquee, I would read the letters off: J-A-W-S…. finally my parents relented and took my to see it at a drive-in screening. It did NOT disappoint. I was hooked.
I saw it again when it was re-released in ’78 and it was the first time I was allowed to go to a theatre with a friend on our own. It was packed, and the movie really played. People laughed, screamed and jumped. And at the end, everyone cheered and applauded when Brody blew up the shark. This was for me!
You’ve got a great collection of magazine covers, production stills, and pics of other Jaws related memorabilia. What’s your favorite feature so far?
I like the early trading cards I created a whole lot. That’s where the blog all started. But I believe the most unique and satisfying thing is the pages of the Jaws Fotonovel I designed. I think that’s a lot of fun.
Until I checked out your Top 10 Supporting Characters feature, I had no idea so much local color made it into the Jaws franchise. Any other cool facts you’ve uncovered?
Most of the making of Jaws has been covered pretty well in Carl Gottlieb’s Jaws Log, Edith Blake’s The Making of Jaws and most recently in Matt Taylor’s Martha’s Vineyard Remembers. One of my favorite tales would have to be about Murray Hamilton: After a few drinks one night he mistook a skunk for a kitty cat… and trying to pick it up and pet it. Needless to say, it didn’t end well.
What’s the plan for Shark City?
Good question. I’ve been making it up as I go. I hope to continue to provide interesting images and ideas concerning everything Jaws. And I hope more fans discover it and enjoy it.
Finally, who would win in a fight, Jaws or Sharktopus?
Jaws, no contest. He’s the read deal.
Big thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer my questions. Be sure to show him some love over at Shark City, and keep your eyes on the water next time you’re at the shore.