June 29: Ichthyology Numerology

A lot of things happened on both Tinian and Amity Islands on June 29. Let us help you make some sense of it.

If history is written by the victor, then we do not know whom to trust in the various official and unofficial written statements about the deaths of Chrissie Watkins and Alex Kintner.

Repeated viewings of “Jaws”—not that that is bad—reveal a tendency of the characters to get the date wrong. The movie opens with the death of Chrissie Watkins, and in Chief Brody’s official report the next day, in which the “Corner” tells him that Watkins died of a shark attack, we read that she was last seen (somewhere in “Vineyard Woods”) at 11:50 p.m. on July 1, 1974, and probably died at that time.


On July 2—soon after Brody sees Chrissie’s remains— Brody does the right thing and orders Polly to print up some No Swimming signs, but Mayor Vaughn shuts him down, ordering the beaches open for business.

Later that day, with an agitated Brody watching the beach, both Alex Kintner and the good dog, Pippet, are eaten. Amateur shark hunters from as far away as New York and New Jersey converge on Amity Island, without the benefit of the summer deputies, who are only scheduled to arrive on July 4.

This means that not only did Kintner actually die on July 2, but also that fisherman managed to drive and ferry up to Amity at an amazing speed, and that word traveled lightning fast in that pre-Internet time.

But at a town meeting we read on a poster that Mrs. Kintner, Alex’ mom, is offering a $3,000 reward for the shark that killed Alex “on Sunday, June 29.”

But June 29 fell on a Saturday in 1974 [see how I know this]. The slap-happy Mrs. Kintner was probably delirious with grief and didn’t wind her watch.

Still, the yahoos kill a tiger shark—extremely rare for these waters—and in the heady relief of the demise of the predator up comes Mrs. Kintner, in full mourning regalia.

“I just found out that a girl was killed here last week,” (emphasis added) she tells Chief Brody, “and you knew about it.” Slap! Wince! “My boy is dead,” she adds unnecessarily. “I wanted you to know that.”

(At this point Brody should have said, “Who was your boy again?“)

So, according to the poster and the police report, Alex died two days before Chrissie did.

While I had to go frame by frame, pushing up my glasses as I did so, it was easy to see both the “July 1” and the “June 29” on the written materials.

Quint is a different matter because he uttered the wrong date. Brody determined that Quint was “certifiable,” what with his destruction of the Orca’s CB radio and his ravings about kiddie scissor classes, the battle of Waterloo, and electric toothbrushes. But it was in Quint’s Indianapolis Speech that he says the Hiroshima Bomb was delivered on June 29, 1945, meaning that Brody chartered the Orca 29 years and six days later.

The problem is that Fat Man and Little Boy, the bombs that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were not delivered until late July or early August, 1945. In “All That Jaws,” therefore, we posit that Quint just likes to associate himself with maritime disasters.

It is not lost on us that two years after Alex Kintner, Chrissie Watkins, Quint, the Guy on the Rowboat, Ben Gardner, and Pippet died, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank with 29 men on board. It is whispered that when the witch of November came slashing, she was riding Pippet.

See also: “Herbie, Mate, please make me laugh.”

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