Friday, August 2, 2013

Jaws: The Ride June 7, 1990- January 2, 2012


            Jaws: the ride was an opening day attraction at Universal Studios. The elaborate special effects involved constantly refused to work, resulting in the ride having to be evacuated almost daily. Universal temporarily shut down the ride after the summer season to retool the troubled scenes. Jaws had it's grand reopening in the spring of 1993. The big changes which resulted in the re-design were: the scene in which Bruce bites onto the tour boat and turns it 180-degrees was replaced with the gas dock explosion, the shark that surfaces in the boathouse with its thrashing head and snapping mouth was switched out for a less complicated animatronic, and the finale, in which the skipper shoots a grenade into the mouth of Bruce, causing him to explode in a geyser of blood was replaced by the finale in which Bruce bites the high-voltage wire.

Taking Jaws out of Universal is like taking the castle out of Disney. I was fortunate enough to ride this on its last day of operations. Not once but 15 times!! It was a surreal experience watching the Skippers ad lib lines they couldn't say before, or trying to stay in character while holding back tears, and the crowd was behind them 100%. A rowdy bunch they were too whether they were shouting out their favorite lines, or hoopin' and hollerin' for no reason at all. It really made me realize I was apart of something special. The picture I posted above of the shark biting the high voltage cable is the last time it ever came out of the water. The  animatronic didn't work for the next boat which shut the ride down for a few hours, they weren't able to get it working again and ran the rest of the day without. I think the highlight of the day for me was after the last boat unloaded a group of employees formed a circle and broke out into "Show Me the Way to Go Home". It was a fantastic and emotional day that I will never forget. If you're a fan of Jaws you need to check out a site that serves as an archive for all things concerning the Jaws ride. RIP Bruce.

A great short documentery by the skippers

Original ride featuring the exploding Bruce

Jaws 2.0

The Final Tour

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite things rides to go on. Not because of the ride itself. Because of the memories. This was my fathers favorite attraction at Universal and would ride it all the time thinking about him.