Monday, May 16, 2016

Jaws-inspired U.S.S. Indianapolis Rails/Sails custom

The latest addition to my Rails & Sails custom card line was inspired by a recent viewing of a memorable scene from the 1975 blockbuster movie Jaws.

Jaws is one of those movies that I will almost always watch at least part of when it pops up on my television's on-screen guide.

On a recent Saturday afternoon I was switching over to Jaws during commercial breaks between innings of a ballgame I was watching.

One of the Jaws scenes I tuned into was the drunken one-upsmanship between the characters of marine biologist Hooper (played by Richard Dreyfuss) and shark-hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) comparing scars in the cabin of the becalmed Orca

I was again mesmerized by Quint's telling of his experience during the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the subsequent shark frenzy that along with dehydration and madness caused by ingesting sea water took the lives of some 550 sailors and marines after the cruiser was sunk by a Japanese submarine.

The R&S card you see here is the result of being inspired by that monologue.

Subsequently I spent more than an hour on the Internet Movie Database web site reading about the movie.

I learned some interesting things about that scene . . . 
  • Much of the dialogue was written by Robert Shaw in an effort to give the crew something to film during down time created by yet another malfunction of the mechanical shark.
  • The scene was initially filmed with Shaw in a drunken state, which was not unusual for the actor during the movie's production. When the scene with the drunken Shaw proved to be totally unusable, it was re-shot the next day when Shaw had sobered up.
  • Due to on-going tax problems, Shaw never saw a dime of his earnings from the film. In fact, to keep the IRS at bay, Shaw was often flown to Canada on days he was not required for filming.
  • Quint mistakenly gives the date of the Indianapolis' sinking as June 29, 1945; in fact, the ship went down on July 30.
If you're a fan of the movie and have some time to kill, you might enjoy perusing the web site: IMDb Jaws site .

You can learn all you need to know about the Indianapois from a 1999 history by Patrick J. Finneran at the website: Indianapolis history. There's some interesting stuff on there about the ship's absence from Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. The details provide fuel for speculation among those who believe the U.S knew of the impending Japanese attack.

The back of my custom Indianapolis card provides a wink and a nod to the connection between the Indianapolis and the movie. The lighthouse that appears at lower-right is the Gay Head light on Martha's Vineyard, which stood in for the fictional resort town of Amity in the movie. The lighthouse can be seen in several of the movie's scenes.

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