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In 1974 Peter Benchley’s “Jaws” was Published

A Doubleday editor saw some of Benchley’s articles and invited him to lunch to discuss some ideas for books. The editor was not impressed by Benchley’s proposals for non-fiction but was interested in his idea of a novel about a great white shark terrorizing a beach resort. The idea was inspired by the several great white sharks caught in the 1960s off Long Island and Block. Benchley was offered an advance of $1,000 leading to the novelist submitting the first 100 pages. Much of the work had to be rewritten as the publisher was not happy with the initial tone Jaws was published and became a great success, staying on the bestseller list for some 44 weeks. A year and a half later, Steven Spielberg directed the film based on his book. Spielberg said that he initially found many of the characters unsympathetic and wanted the shark to win. “Jaws” the film was well received by critics and became the highest-grossing film in history at the time until “Star Wars” came along.