One of the inspirations for Quint’s characterization in All That Jaws is the fact that Robert Shaw’s version in the movie got the date of the A-Bomb delivery wrong. So we figured that ATJ’s Quint should lay claim to being a part of every piece of recent nautical history.
According to Quint in the movie, The U.S.S. Indianapolis delivered the bomb to the South Pacific atoll of Tinian on June 29, 1945. The Indianapolis actually delivered it over a month later for its use on Hiroshima on August 6.
Here’s the text from the movie (credited to John Milius, Carl Gottlieb, and Robert Shaw):
Japanese submarine slammed two torpedoes into our side, Chief. It was comin’ back, from the island of Tinian (Delady?), just delivered the bomb. The Hiroshima bomb. Eleven hundred men went into the water. Vessel went down in twelve minutes. Didn’t see the first shark for about a half an hour. Tiger. Thirteen footer. You know, you know that when you’re in the water, Chief? You tell by lookin’ from the dorsal to the tail. Well, we didn’t know. `Cause our bomb mission had been so secret, no distress signal had been sent. Huh huh. They didn’t even list us overdue for a week. Very first light, Chief. Sharks come cruisin’. So we formed ourselves into tight groups. You know it’s… kinda like `ol squares in battle like a, you see on a calendar, like the battle of Waterloo. And the idea was, the shark would go for the nearest man and then he’d start poundin’ and hollerin’ and screamin’ and sometimes the shark would go away. Sometimes he wouldn’t go away. Sometimes that shark, he looks right into you. Right into your eyes. You know the thing about a shark, he’s got…lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be livin’. Until he bites ya and those black eyes roll over white. And then, ah then you hear that terrible high pitched screamin’ and the ocean turns red in spite of all the poundin’ and the hollerin’ they all come in and rip you to pieces.
Y’know by the end of that first dawn, lost a hundred men! I don’t know how many sharks, maybe a thousand! I don’t know how many men, they averaged six an hour. On Thursday mornin’ Chief, I bumped into a friend of mine, Herbie Robinson from Cleveland. Baseball player, boson’s mate. I thought he was asleep, reached over to wake him up. Bobbed up and down in the water, just like a kinda top. Upended. Well… he’d been bitten in half below the waist. Noon the fifth day, Mr. Hooper, a Lockheed Ventura saw us, he swung in low and he saw us. He’d a young pilot, a lot younger than Mr. Hooper, anyway he saw us and come in low. And three hours later a big fat PBY comes down and start to pick us up. You know that was the time I was most frightened? Waitin’ for my turn. I’ll never put on a life jacket again. So, eleven hundred men went in the water, three hundred and sixteen men come out, the sharks took the rest, June the 29, 1945. Anyway, we delivered the bomb.
“Show Me the Way to Indianapolis” is the most literal of all the songs in the show:
Chief, have a drink and I’ll paint ya the scene
Two torpedoes, one Jap submarine
Zero hour, we took a dive
June 29th, 1945
Just like corks we bobbed, tryin’ to keep warm
We’d just delivered Hiroshima bomb
‘leven hundred men watched her go down
In half an hour first shark come around
’twas a tiger shark some thirteen feet
Wanna know how I figured that, Chief?
You look from the dorsal to tail
With that method you’ll never fail
You’ll always hit right on the nail
Well, we knew we was all up shit’s creek
Weren’t listed overdue for a week
Our bomb mission was such a secret
No distress signal was sent!
Sharks come cruisin’ at very first light
So we formed into groups wicked tight
We’d kick and we’d holler and punch
Then come that sickening crunch
Six men an hour became lunch
Come Thursday morn I bumped into a friend
I said, “Herbie, mate, please make me laugh!”
Slap on the back and I watched him upend
He was missing his whole lower half
On the fifth day some pilot swung by
Three hours later a fat PBY
One by one plucked us out of that sea
I thought that they’d never get ‘round to me
‘leven hundred men into drink!
Three-hundred sixteen were fished out, I think
You’d have to check the amounts
But we dropped the bomb, that’s what counts
Yes, we dropped the bomb; that’s what counts