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'Jaws' shark model acquired by Academy Museum

By Karen Butler   |   Jan. 8, 2016 at 6:48 AM
| License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- The sole, surviving, full-scale model of the shark from Steven Spielberg's 1975 film classic Jaws has been donated to The Academy Museum in Los Angeles.

Gifted to the institution by Nathan Adlen, the Fiberglas fish is the fourth and final version made from the production's original mold.

It was created for display at Universal Studios Hollywood at the time of the film's release and remained a popular backdrop for photos until 1990 when it was banished to the yard of Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, a Sun Valley firm that regularly bought or hauled used vehicles from Universal Studios. As the business prepares to close this month, owner Adlen donated the prop to the museum.

The shark model joins a collection that also includes the underwater apparatus and fin used in Jaws and Jaws II. The piece also is the largest object to enter the museum's collection to date.

"Jaws was the original summer blockbuster -- a movie that marked a turning point in culture and society -- and Bruce is the only surviving version of its unforgettable central prop. This extraordinary addition to our collection, made possible through the generosity of Nathan Adlen, is a major contribution to the resources we will use to illuminate film history and enhance the public's understanding of the arts and sciences of motion pictures," Kerry Brougher, the museum's director, said in a statement Thursday.

The original mold yielded three latex and rubber shark casts, with 25-foot-long bodies and 5-feet-wide jaws, that were used in production and discarded when they deteriorated after shooting on the ocean thriller wrapped. The fourth cast, made of Fiberglas for promotional use, has survived for decades.

"I am delighted to be part of the new Academy Museum through the gift of this beloved, American icon," Adlen remarked. "Bruce caught the eye of my father, Sam Adlen, at first glance back in 1990, and for many years he's been like a member of the family. And the May Company building, where the museum is being created, feels like part of the family, too, since I grew up in the Miracle Mile district and shopped with my parents at the May Company, where my wife even had a part-time job. This is going to be the perfect place to share this extraordinary treasure with the world."

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