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There’s no such thing as bad publicity. However, this might not ring true when a great white shark has taken up residence just before the biggest beach day of the year.
Amity Island’s 50th annual Fourth of July Regatta is not going to get ruined by the potential threat of a big fish. Or at least this is what Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) insists when Chief Brody (Roy Scheider) suggests they close the beaches to the public until this issue has been resolved.
Unfortunately for the Jaws mayor, keeping this whole shark incident secret is going to be hard now that someone has plastered it all over the “Welcome” billboard.No longer is the blonde bikini-clad babe enticing visitors on her inflatable. Instead, her eyes and mouth are open wide in cartoon horror. A “HELP!!! SHARK" speech bubble spells out the horror that awaits. If your bikini body doesn't include googly eyes and a gaping mouth, are you even bikini-ready?
Mayor Vaughn is more angry about this “sick vandalism” by the “paint-happy bastards” than the potential threat. Meanwhile, shark expert bae Hopper (Richard Dreyfuss) is aghast at the mayor’s misplaced anger. He points out that the proportions of the painted dorsal fin are correct, which leads me to think he is the one who altered this sign. If talking isn’t going to do anything then this is the next logical step. One thing the mayor understands is branding. Why else would he be wearing an anchor-emblazoned sports coat?
Hopper treats this billboard like a PSA. Sure, it could be a coincidence that someone else got lucky in painting an accurate fin size, but Hopper definitely has it in him to go the extra distance in order to protect the public. It doesn’t work, of course. Instead, Mayor Vaughn is left with the ultimate “you played yourself” reminder of the mess that happens the following day. Happy Fourth of July!