Sunday, August 07, 2016

At Flashbak: The Game of Jaws (Ideal; 1975)

This week at Flashbak, I remembered Ideal’s game of Jaws.

“It was the year 1975, and the apex of Jaws Mania. 

By some reckonings, Steven Spielberg’s scary movie is the first modern summer blockbuster, and before long, there was merchandise available to support that thesis, including Jaws joke books, and even a Jaws Halloween costume.

I was five years old, and thus too young to see Jaws, at least by my parents’ reckoning.

As a consolation prize, I received as a gift Ideal’s “The Game of Jaws” instead.

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the toy store…

Designed for 2 to 4 players (ages 6 and up), the Ideal game box noted: "It's you against the great white shark...One wrong move, and the JAWS go snap!"

The game’s goal was to utilize a long blue probe to fish the contents out of the great white shark's stomach, without those fierce teeth closing on your hand.

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 instead.

Jaws' snapping mouth was held together by two rubber bands, and alas, those are often the only part of this game that have not survived the passing four decades.

Still, you may wonder why Jaws toys were being marketed to kids at all. An answer comes from the MPAA rating itself. The Spielberg film was rated PG, and so plenty of children of the disco decade got to see it in theaters, even though I missed out. Ostensibly, they would want to recreate the cinematic experience with toys, at home.”

Please continue reading at Flashbak.

1 comment:

  1. Steven Spielberg's JAWS was a fun part of my '70s boyhood. It was filmed in 1974 on Martha's Vineyard island here at Massachusetts. The Summer of '75 made all bodies of water a place to fear what was below the water line. As a boy, that included the coastline of Atlantic Ocean of my town, all ponds in my town and even the swimming pool in my backyard(ha ha). We got the Ideal’s game of Jaws that Christmas of '75.