Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Sharkathalon Takes a Bite Out Of Freddy In Space!

The Sharkathalon, the horror blogging communities answer to Discovery Channel's Shark Week, kicked off this week, which would explain why you've probably been seeing so much shark related content on all of your favorite horror blogs lately. Brainchild of Bill Adcock of Radiation Scarred Reviews, The Sharkathalon is a weeklong ode to sharks in horror movies. Arriving fashionably late to the party, i've decided to get in on the fun and tell you guys a little bit about an event I attended a few years back that i've never mentioned on this blog. When you're done reading this, be sure to head over to Radiation Scarred Reviews, where Bill has a ton of shark content he's written up himself as well as daily link lists of all the Sharkathalon posts made by all the horror bloggers around the net this past week.

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I live on Long Island, New York, a place that is no stranger to the world of Jaws. Frank Mundus, the shark hunter who inspired the character of Quint from the film, was from the area as was Peter Benchley, who wrote the book, which was set on the east end. Both Roy Scheider, the film's star, and Steven Spielberg became fixtures on Long Island after the filming of the movie. So it was only natural that Long Island be the site of the first big screen showing of Jaws since its premiere, on August 24th, 2006, in East Hampton, NY. I was there. As was Steven Spielberg, Roy Scheider, and David Koepp, screenwriter of several of Spielberg's films.

As if seeing Jaws up on the big screen with an audience of fellow lovers of the film wasn't cool enough, Spielberg, Scheider, and Koepp held a Q&A afterwards. The Guild Hall, where the event was being held, got way into the event, baking up shark shaped cookies and serving up bottles of Jaws water, a bottle of which I still proudly display on my shelf to this day.

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I don't have much of a story to tell about the event other than that it was an incredibly special night, shared with my dad, that I will never forget and that I am so glad I was able to experience.

Unfortunately, less than two years later, Roy Scheider lost his long battle with cancer. That same year, Frank Mundus passed away at the age of 82. Several months before his passing, Mundus was signing autographs at an aquarium not far from my house. It was on my birthday and Jen took me there, though neither of us had any idea he was going to be there. Quite a nice little added bonus and i'm happy to say I got the opportunity to shake the man's hand.

This wasn't the most exciting read, I suppose, but it's something i've been meaning to share and now seemed like the perfect time. Viva la Sharkathalon!

6 comments:

Zach S. said...

I worked with Roy on an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent towards the decline of his health. He was always chipper and ready to work, portraying a twisted serial killer that I wish would've been offered to him in a silver screen role instead of tv. He's still missed.

Morphine said...

Sharkathalon is awesome.

Jeanetta Adkins said...

Great story, thanks for sharing the memory!

Will Errickson said...

Wow, cool story! Last year I saw JAWS on the big screen at a retro film festival. Now, I've seen it countless times since the '70s but to see it with a paying audience and looming larger than life--incredible. An adult man sitting behind me *screamed* when Ben Gardner's head popped out of the hull. And the shark was simply enormous; I practically had to close my eyes during Quint's demise. Can't imagine how it blew people's minds in 1975.

Johnny said...

Haha ya, at this event several people screamed at the head popping out scene. Always get ya!

Jay Amabile said...

I couldn't resist the chance for a shameless promotion: I have Shark Month coming up in July - but less about Jaws and more about the actual attacks that inspired Benchley to write Jaws...those that took place on The Jersey Shore. Look out for it beginning July 1st at The Sexy Armpit.