Final month of ‘JAWS’ museum exhibition

The Catalina Island Museum’s “JAWS” exhibition will close at 5 p.m., Sept. 16. Courtesy photo

Stephen Spielberg’s classic thriller “JAWS” has stood the test of time and now enjoys an almost cult-like following.

Despite its popularity, the making of this film had never been explored in an exhibition, until the Catalina Island Museum opened “JAWS: The Art of Fear in Filmmaking” earlier this year.

Now in its final month, the exhibition reveals the behind-the-scenes artistic production of “JAWS.”

Never exhibited original movie ephemera and rarely seen artworks show the creative approach that instills fear into the film and into the psyche of film audiences.

“JAWS” the movie is based on the bestselling novel by Peter Benchley of the same name.

The story follows a killer great white shark that is terrorizing a small New England beach town during the height of its tourist season.

Released in 1975, the movie was an immediate blockbuster hit that influenced the film industry’s approach to how and when certain movies would be released.

It was the first film in the United States to earn more than $100 million dollars at the box office.

Working from the personal archive of Joe Alves, the film’s production designer, “JAWS: The Art of Fear in Filmmaking” is the first-ever museum exhibition providing a glimpse into the creative processes and challenges that shaped the making of the film.

The exhibition gives audiences the rare opportunity to view early notes on potential filming locations, scouting photographs of film location sites, correspondence with an ichthyologist who could inform on great white shark behavior, original concept drawings for framing shots, production stills and mechanical drawings of the model shark used in the film.

Original movie props from the collection of “JAWS” film expert Chris Kiszka among others, depict a dented diver’s shark cage and yellow location barrels used in the film to indicate the shark’s underwater movements and location.

A selection of never before exhibited original storyboard drawings, blueprints and original movie promotion paintings are also included.

And, from the Director/Special Effects Artist Greg Nicotero, is a hyper-realistic display made by Nicotero’s studio KNB EFX Group of the movie’s main characters as they hunt the killer shark from the stern of the ORCA. A 16-foot great white shark model and a 1:1 scale model of the “JAWS” shark head are also featured.

A commemorative book, “Joe Alves on Designing JAWS,” written and compiled by Dennis Prince shares Alves’ personal collection of conceptual drawings, sketches, notes, storyboards, and more.

Much of this artwork is featured in the museum’s exhibition. Acting as the official companion booklet for the exhibition, this book is available exclusively at the Catalina Island Museum Store or online at

It is a must have for any and all “JAWS” fans. “JAWS: The Art of Fear in Filmmaking” will close at 5 p.m. on Sept. 16. Admission to the museum is free for its members, $17 for adults, $15 for seniors, military and students with a valid I.D.

Children, ages 15 and under, are free every day with a paid adult admission.

The Catalina Island Museum offers the best in art and history exhibitions, music and performances, lectures by guest speakers from all over the world, and the finest in silent, documentary and international film.

Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except New Year’s Day, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day. The museum is located in the new Ada Blanche Wrigley Schreiner Building, which is located in the heart of Avalon at 217 Metropole Ave.

For more information, call the museum at 310-510-2414 or visit


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