From the June 14, 1974 edition of the Vineyard Gazette by Edith Blake:

One thing that a shark must do is to be constantly on the move, or else it is in trouble — and Jaws, the shark film in the making on the Vineyard, appears to have this characteristic in common with its subject.

The production is running behind schedule, so much so that it is likely to find problems multiplied by the summer tourist invasion. At the same time, production costs are rumored to be running well ahead of the projected estimates. In fact, things have been going so badly that they have given rise to all sorts of rumors — that the movie will be called off, or that trouble-shooters have arrived to straighten things out, or that the film would be completed in Hollywood.

In any event, William Gilmore, who is Louis J. Fargo’s superior, has replaced him as production manager here, while Mr. Fargo has returned to California, reportedly to handle union disputes. It seems that the Screen Actors Guild is displeased with the large number of local extras being used in the filming here. Members of the guild, when they act as extras, are paid $20 more a day than non-guild members.

One factor that has interfered with the production schedule has been the weather, and another has been legal problems with zoning. This, of course, has had a bearing on production costs, and the cost estimates may have failed to take into account rental and other charges, high on the Vineyard and skyrocketing as the summer season arrives.

Last week, filming of offshore sequences began and — horrors — it turns out that the star, Robert Shaw, who plays Quint, gets seasick, which encourages others aboard the various boats assembled to emulate him. Smelly chum stashed aboard, ripening in the sun while waiting for the big scene, undoubtedly had some bearing on all this.

During the latter part of the week the big tug, Whitefoot, Capt. Roy Campbell, was chartered to carry the generator and act as mother ship, which should have been done long before. Island waters are bouncier than the producers of Jaws had expected, and the weather has been a good deal worse.

Along about Saturday, just when confusion wasn’t needed, the Orca, which is Quint’s boat, conked out. This performance was strictly superfluous adlibbing, but Universal seems to have a stubborn fleet of character boats, each with a mind of her own.

Meanwhile, back at Norton and Easterbrook’s boatshed on Fuller street, the replica of Orca has been completed, just in time to be sunk. At this point production officials would probably be more than delighted to sink the original Orca, but there’s always the possibility that some scenes will have to be reshot. Should the original Orca be sunk — oh well, nothing about this business is as it seems.

On Wednesday, the first of three mechanical sharks arrived and was trucked to Shark City, otherwise the East Chop Beach Club, for launching.

For some weeks Shark City has been a hive of activity as a mammoth floating thing has been constructed, which is to serve as a workshop, mother ship and tow for two floating drydocks. These latter contrivances, also built at Shark City, are seagoing shark pens. There are to be three mechanical sharks in the film; one to go left, one to go right and one to go up (normal sharks are capable of all three maneuvers). All the sharks will put to sea at the same time, and the two not in use will be stored in the pens. Since the sharks are 25 feet in length and with a beam of five feet, the pens are really large and towering, and encrusted with winches and blocks.

Bigger than the shark pens, but smaller than the floating thing, is the rig for operating the sharks. This is made of construction steel, which has been covered with rubberized ocean-bottom-green paint. It is reputed to have cost $23,000 to haul it from California, where it was made. Apparently it was severely shaken up somewhere along the 3,000-mile trek, because the hydraulic fleet wouldn’t work when it arrived.

The rig is raised and lowered by compressed air, just like a submarine, and can level itself on the bottom, 25 feet down, on its hydraulic feet. There is a winch on top which will pull the left, the right and the going up sharks.

Jaws has departed the Edgartown shore, moving to Oak Bluffs, where the shooting is done somewhere between Squash Meadow and Squash Meadow Pond. This simplifies matters, since launches can run the crew into Oak Bluffs Harbor where lunch and Dramamine are served right in the parking lot alongside the inlet, eliminating sea voyages back to Edgartown.

Meanwhile, up at Menemsha, the building that housed Quint and his mess has been dismantled and the lumber shipped to storage for auction.

“The only set we built was Quint’s shack,” producer David Brown said. “We had to build it according to the local zoning ordinances.” The citizens are tougher here, he went on, and they had been required to post a large bond to ensure that they would remove their fishing shanty.

Compiled by Hilary Wall