A scene-stealing kid from the film Jaws is now the police chief on the island where the film was made.
Jonathan Searle was selected this week as the police chief of Oak Bluffs, Mass., a small town on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. It was on that island, set in the fictional town of Amity, that the 1975 film was made.
“I’m clearly elated and I’m humbled and honored to have been offered the position,” he told local newspaper the Vineyard Gazette. “It’s something I’ve been working toward my whole career.”
An island native, Jonathan, 56, was a boy when Steven Spielberg’s production — starring Roy Scheider, and Richard Dreyfuss — disembarked with its mechanical shark. The film, based on the 1974 novel by Peter Benchley, centered on Amity’s police chief (Scheider) and a marine biologist (Dreyfuss) who were trying to save residents from a killer shark.
Many locals were cast in the notoriously difficult to make the film, which ran way over budget and behind in its production schedule. Jonathan and his brother Steven both played “Boy Swimmer with Cardboard Fin” — young pranksters who donned snorkels and pretended to be the shark wreaking havoc on the island. They cleared the waters, with beachgoers fleeing to the shore screaming. Their joke ended when they came up for air and had multiple boatloads of police officers with guns pointed at their faces.