Reviews of movies from my giant DVD tower, and more.
While doing some on-line research for images to include in this year’s Jaws Month posts, I stumbled across this Jaws newspaper ad from 1975, and couldn’t believe what I found displayed within the ad:
If you look at the bottom left side of the box, you’ll see that Jaws was playing at just two area theaters: the Fashion Valley 4 and the Alvarado Drive-In, both located in San Diego, California. But what makes that fact so cool is, the Fashion Valley 4 is where I saw the movie for the very first time, as a 12-year-old back in the summer of 1975!
Which means that I probably saw this same ad when the film was released, either in the San Diego Union or the Evening Tribune (or perhaps in our local paper, the Times-Advocate). There was no date attached to the image, but since the ad shows that Jaws was ‘starting today’, we can assume the date was June 20, 1975. But a quick IMDb check tells me that the neighboring movies in the ad—Mandingo and The Land That Time Forgot—were released weeks later, in late July and early August. So what gives?
Strange, too, that Jaws only opened in two downtown-area theaters (and the drive-in was actually a short drive west of downtown, in La Mesa). Now it makes sense why my parents took my brother and I to see it there, at the Fashion Valley Mall, which was about a 30-40 minute drive from where we lived in Rancho Bernardo, instead of somewhere closer to home: apparently, there was nowhere else to see it. And why did a summer blockbuster film like Jaws open at a shopping mall’s tiny four-plex, instead of one of the many large single-screen venues scattered throughout San Diego, like the Cinema 21, the Loma, the Cinerama, the Cinema Grossmont, or the Valley Circle? I guess for the same mysterious reason Return of the Jedi didn’t open at any of those big-screen theaters, either.
For me, a fun find…although it’s too bad I didn’t cut out and save this ad for myself forty years ago, as well as for the screenings I also saw with my dad at The Vineyard in Escondido and with my friend Brent at the Poway Playhouse in Poway. They would’ve made for nice keepsakes, and may have offered an answer as to when this ad originally appeared in the paper. If I can get back to San Diego sometime and check out some old newspapers on library microfilm, I’ll let you know what I find.