Like the kid in the opening sequence of the 90’s HBO show “Dream On” starring Brian Benben, I spent much of my time as a kid - like many I suppose - in front of the TV. I watched “Who’s the Boss”, “Saved by the Bell”, “Jaws”, “Airport 1975”, etc. I have an exhaustive knowledge of actor names and movies; I used to read Roger Ebert’s movie encyclopedia for fun. My love of movies and TV shows can be attributed almost exclusively to Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and the Zucker brothers. That’s how commercially and low-browedly inclined I am (and apparently how inclined I am to make up adverbs - my mother should have named me Webster). And speaking of words: Notice how I didn’t use the word ‘films.’ No - these were movies I was watching. The things you go to Blockbuster for - except when I was a kid Blockbuster didn’t even exist yet.
There were two things that mattered when I was 12: “Jesus Christ Superstar” and “Jaws”. The previous I needn’t go into too much detail about other than to say that somewhere in my parents house there is an unlabeled VHS videotape that shows me shrieking the song “Gethsemane” into a tube of toothpaste - pride has never appeared to be more lacking; the sound resembled something like lemon juice in the knife wound of a baby Lemur. ”Jaws” also inspired some kind of shrieking in me; however, this time I involved my cousins and an inflatable shark. As if “Jaws 2”, “Jaws 3-D”, and “Jaws: The Revenge” didn’t already make you lose faith in humanity (and in Michael Caine), I felt the need to continue the series and the “Michael Brody” lead character a bit longer. I would make three of my own “Jaws” movies with my cousins - the last of which I maintain is quite the coherent portrayal.
For the final action sequence of the last movie, which was entitled “Jaws 7: A New Breed,” by the way, I wanted to add music and make it slow motion. I had NO IDEA how to do this - until one day. Our VCR at home had a remote control with a round dial that could be used to manually scrub forward or backward frame-by-frame on the VHS; If I had a steady enough thumb, I could spin the dial at a fast and smooth enough rate that the video would move forward in slow motion with little jump or tick. Now all I needed was a way to get what was on my TV screen onto a tape. Then it occurred to me I could simply video tape the TV screen as the movie played and when the moment came I could manually scrub the tape with the dial on the remote while simultaneously playing the “Jaws” soundtrack tape on my boombox. I’m pretty sure that the evolution of opposable thumbs was built for this moment.