Good news for Jaws fans; The Orca, the iconic boat from the movie is being rebuilt in order to aid shark conservation efforts -- which is kind of weird considering that the original boat was primarily used for hunting sharks. That's like starting a bottled water company to raise money for the Wicked Witch community. The new Orca's mission will be "researching marine life and helping people better understand the varieties of shark species in the area around Martha's Vineyard."
Which is great considering that, classic though it may be, Jaws' portrayal of great white sharks as remorseless murder-beasts led to a massive wave of shark hunting, even in the form of contests. Things got so bad that novelist Peter Benchley publicly stated that he regretted ever writing the original book that helped inspire these killings.
But whatever happened to the original Orca? That story, too, is kind of a bummer. The production built two ships; the actual working boat was shipped off to Universal Studios for use in the Jaws ride.
It was eventually destroyed either by chainsaw-wielding studio executives, or because, according to one story, it "cracked in half" while being removed for repairs. But the fiberglass stunt boat, The Orca II, was left with Lynn Murphy, a local who helped manage the boats during filming. Murphy paid the studio one whole dollar for The Orca II, which he wanted purely for the fiberglass to repurpose for a shed. After local authorities denied the building of a new shed, the fake boat just sat there ... until fans started showing up.
In an inadvertent metaphor for modern fandom, Jaws enthusiasts began popping by the Murphy's home and picking the Orca II apart as if it were George Lucas' soul. People grabbed and yanked whatever they could and eventually "picked [the boat] to death." When Murphy and his wife heard that a "Jawsfest"convention was coming to town in 2005, rather than face an onslaught of rabid fans, they decided to put the Orca II out of its misery, slicing up what was left with chainsaws. Thankfully the couple weren't also in charge of looking after Richard Dreyfuss.
Top Image: Universal