A beautiful photo from Destin, FL

Celebrating Shark Week with a Jaws 2 Flashback

With all the talk about it being Shark Week, I thought it would be fun to flashback to the time when the second most famous shark movie was filmed in our area of Florida.

Principal photography for the Jaws 2 movie ended just before Christmas in 1977 on history-5Choctawhatchee Bay near Destin.  The majority of the film was shot on Navarre Beach.  In addition, the teen hangout scenes were filmed at the original Hog’s Breath Saloon on Okaloosa Island.  Hog’s Breath has since relocated and is now one of our popular restaurants in Destin.

I remember several of my high school classmates answering the casting call to be extras on the beach movie set.  One of those, Toni Bobo-Blackman, says several family members, including her dad, Lee Bobo, and her sisters Patrice Bobo-Miles and Angie Bobo Onianwa, were cast as extras in the movie.  

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I will never forget watching the movie at our local cinema and seeing Toni appear on the big screen in a pivotal scene. She is giving the lead actor, Roy Scheider who is playing Chief Martin Brody, a look of disdain. He has panicked the beach-goers and wrongfully fired his gun at a school of bluefish, not sharks. Her sisters still kid her about that “look.”

Toni recalls her experience on set as quite memorable,  “I was in the 10th grade. We missed two weeks of school.  We were on the beach for almost 12 hours every day. Most of the time they told us they were setting up camera shots and to just enjoy the beach, playing volleyball and eating hamburgers.  They were actually filming the entire time.  For the longest time, I held on to my Universal Studios check stubs –  we made around $6 an hour. I remember we had to go back in November and re-shoot a scene. The water was so cold, but we had to get in anyway…”

jaws-2-posterToni, who now works as a professional business consultant, says they were pleasantly surprised to make it into the movie,  “We didn’t know if we would be seen in the movie. It was released in larger cities before Ft. Walton Beach.  When the movie was released here, I remember how much fun it was hearing people say, ‘There’s Toni Bobo! There’s Angie Bobo! There’s so and so!’  It was so much fun. People still mention it every time the movie comes on TV.”

Additional Jaws 2 interesting tidbits:

  • The sharks for Jaws 2 were known as Bruce Two since the sharks for the original film had been nicknamed “Bruce”, after Steven Spielberg’s lawyer.  On set,  they were called “Fidel” and “Harold”, the latter after another Beverly Hills attorney.
  • The filming was a boon to the local economy.  Navarre’s Holiday Inn “Holidome” was used as the film’s headquarters, with the ground floor converted into production offices and 100 rooms rented out for cast and crew.  Jaws 2 cost $30 million to produce, three times more than the original film.
  • Real hammerhead sharks circled the teen actors during the filming of one scene.  Because their characters were meant to be in distress, the crew, filming from a distance, did not realize that the actors were genuinely calling for help.

With that said, remember this…just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water – it really is ok…the chances of being bitten by a shark are 1 in 11.5 million.

Happy Shark Week!

Kendra Veach

 

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