The Screen Test That Should Have Been

on June 30, 2010 by Steve Simels
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jaws.jpgA friend of mine forwarded this short comic fantasy to me yesterday, and even though it's a couple of years old, I just knew I had to share. It originally appeared on the great McSweeney's website and it was written by Robert Hornak, who's obviously a very amusing fellow. The title explains the piece's premise, obviously.

BOB HOPE AUDITIONS FOR THE ROLE OF QUINT

IN JAWS: APRIL 12, 1974

(The USS Indianopolis Monologue)

What? This scar, right here on my arm? Oh, that's just a souvenir from my trip to Tinian back in '45. Onboard the Indianapolis. You know what the Indianapolis is. That's 12 hundred men and a worn-out Betty Grable pinup.

Yeah, back on the boat, we got a big surprise. The Japs unloaded two torpedoes into our side. Boat sank in 12 minutes flat. A minute less, it would've beat the old record set by the McGovern campaign.

Over a thousand men went into the water. And it was the middle of the night. Water was 40 degrees. I tell ya, I haven't been so cold and wet since I hugged Nixon.

Well, we didn't see the first shark for a half-hour. Tiger shark, 13 feet long. You tell that by looking from the dorsal to the tail. Good thing Robinson remembered his tape measure. Course, then he was the first to get pulled under. Good kid, Robinson. Never knew he could hit an F-sharp over high C.

By then the sharks were on to us, all right. Swam right up, looked us in the eye. Funny thing about a shark, he's got lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll's eye. Like Kissinger at the press-pool snack table. I tell ya, when a shark comes at you, it doesn't seem to be living. Not, at least, till it bites you and those black eyes roll over white. I saw that and I knew it looked awfully familiar. My wife, closing time at Tiffany's.

So they didn't list us overdue for 'bout a week. That's a long time just floating in the water. My skin got so wrinkled I looked like Rose Kennedy at a Shar-Pei convention.

Hope_III.JPG

Finally, a PBY rescue came along, started picking us out of the water. It was a long, terrifying ordeal, waiting our turn while the sharks circled under our feet. I won't say the men felt doomed, but I heard one guy scalping his Dodgers season tickets. Another one tried to talk me into his watch. Said it was hand-carved, worth $400. And I thought the sharks were all under the water.

So 11 hundred men went in the water, 316 men came out. They call that another typical day over at Liberace's house.

Anyway, that's my story, made it out alive, June 29, 1945. Thanks, ladies and gentlemen, and remember, we're all supporting you out here, and believe me when I say I'm gonna do everything I can to get you boys home and with your families before next Christmas morning. If not, then look forward next year to Angie Dickinson and Raquel Welch in a tap-dance number that'll knock your socks off. Good night.

Heh. And I'd bet serious money that somewhere in the dark recesses of his soul, Hope always wished his writers would come up with something as close to crossing the line into bad taste as that. Not that he would have actually done a routine like the above, but still...

Tags: Bob Hope, Jaws, Robert Shaw
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