Hollywood’s Close Encounters of the Island Kind by Peter Brannen:
“My concern was the audiences might laugh at the shark,” he said in a telephone conversation from his Hollywood home on Tuesday.
During production the crew would alternately cringe and chuckle during Bruce the Shark’s climactic appearances off State Beach, accompanied as they were by a racket of valves and hydraulic rams. Without the benefit of sound editing and John Williams’s driving, satanic score, the mechanical beast proved rather unintimidating. But with a little movie magic, that all changed.
John Alley, cast as not-too-bright fisherman, quit film. “At the first screening we had, the audiences didn’t laugh at all,” he said. “They screamed.”