If you're a big fan of Jaws, you probably remember little Alex Kitner. Although he's only in the movie for around a minute, the iconic anything-can-happen shock of seeing a child gorily guzzled by a shark has stuck with moviegoers since 1975.
Here's that scene again, starring 12-year-old Jeffrey Voorhees:
Voorhees, who never appeared in another movie after Jaws, still lives on Martha's Vineyard, the Massachusetts island where the movie was filmed in 1975. He runs a bar and cafe in the area, and still gets visits from 'Jaws fanatics,' telling TND:
This one fanatic came in this year and said ‘I know this is odd but I’ve got to show you something’ and he rolled up his sleeve and there was this big Jaws tattoo with my name and Steven Spielberg’s on it!
I couldn’t believe it. I’m only in the film for one minute.
After all this time, it's amazing to hear Jeffrey Voorhees' behind-the-scenes stories from his Jaws days, a 12-year-old earning $140 a day (although he still receives royalties from screenings of the movie):
It wasn’t scary filming the scene because the shark was just a big machine. Spielberg said to me ‘Okay, you are going to swim out on this raft and then we will say cut!’. The water was freezing cold during the shoot.
I was then told that they were going to put half of my raft on top of the mechanical device and then blow it up with all this fake blood going up in the air.
They tried it for the first time and it blew up and I went underwater and they yelled ‘Cut! Your arm was sticking out of the water Jeff, we are going to have to try it again’.
It took six attempts to get the scene shot to Spielberg's satisfaction:
It took 5-6 hours for all the blood to clear out of the water before we could do the shot again, so I waited in my nice warm dressing room that I was entitled to because I had a speaking part.
They got two guys in wet suits with oxygen tanks to pull me down and give me air whilst I was underwater. That’s the take that made it into the film.
Let's hope that Jeffrey Voorhees is luckier with oversized vicious sharks than his on-screen alter-ego...
Do you think that Jaws is the best monster movie of all time?