In 1975, movie-goers flocked to the cinema to watch a great white shark terrorize the beaches of a fictional New England island town. “Jaws” opened in June on only 209 screens, but by the end of the summer, it had become the highest-grossing film of all time. It would be surpassed two years later by “Star Wars.”
The business end of the set-up was good medicine for an ornery great white shark. Photo by Michael Ives
Roy Scheider starred as police chief Martin Brody in the film—it was a role that director Steven Spielberg had originally wanted to go to Charlton Heston. Following Brody’s first encounter with the shark, he uttered the famous line, “You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”
On the hunt for the great white, Brody is joined by veteran shark hunter and World War II veteran Quint, played by Robert Shaw, who utilizes a Greener harpoon gun. The single-shot gun was based on the venerable Martini-Henry rifle used by the British military and employed a .38 Spl. blank cartridge to fire barbed harpoons. Similar arms were also used to deliver rescue lines to vessels in distress.
In Jaws, the gun was used to attach a series of floating buoys to the shark. This Greener Light Harpoon Gun not only saved the day, it saved the summer.
This gun, plus many other historic treasures, can be seen at the NRA National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Va., located on the first floor of NRA Headquarters.