Designed for 2 to 4 players (ages 6 and up), the game box noted: "It's you against the great white shark...One wrong move, and the JAWS go snap!"
The goal of this game was to utilize a probe to fish out contents from the shark's stomach without those fierce jaws snapping closed. Some of those stomach contents included a human skull, a fish skeleton, a tire, a camera, a pistol, a glove, a boot, a walkie-talkie, and a wagon wheel (!). In the version of the game I own today, these delicacies are all molded in white or blue plastic, but the game box shows different colored items.
The funny thing about the book, looking back on it, is that it featured a lot of pop culture references that, at six, I couldn’t possibly have recognized. For instance, one joke included a reference to a shark game show, Tooth or Consequences, which would have been an allusion to Truth or Consequences (1950)…which I never saw.
I also remember with envy that my friend Stephen who lived on Ridgewood Avenue wore a custom-made Jaws Halloween costume to kindergarten that year. I don’t remember what I wore for Halloween in Kindergarten, but I absolutely remember every detail of that huge, canvas, toothy shark head costume to this day. Also, Collegeville released a standard plastic costume of the Shark from Jaws for those kids without the wherewithal to create their own.
Chevy Chase memorably appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit during its first season in 1975 as a “land shark,” an “urban predator” capable of “disguising its voice”(!) and striking at any time or place. On a more serious note, a 1977 episode of The Six-Million Dollar Man featured the Bionic Steve Austin (Lee Majors) tangling with sharks.
Today, I recall this spell of my youth with tremendous fondness, especially as Jaws-Mania occurred pre-Star Wars, and shared pop-culture space with Bicentennial Fever, Space: 1999, and Logan's Run.