It was the summer of 1976. The bicentennial celebration was in full swing. However, around the country and around the world, beaches were vacant. In fact, they had been vacant ever since the June 1975 release of the movie "Jaws". It seems the film had sufficiently scared potential beach-goers shitless. They were staying away in droves. Resorts and hotels were reeling. Zinc Oxide manufacturers were going belly-up on a daily basis. Something had to be done.
Thanks to documents recently obtained through the Freedom Of Information Act, it has come to light that our government approached William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and tasked them with changing people's perception of sharks. This was based on a previous propaganda campaign in which Hanna and Barbera were able to allay rampant public fear of "Space Ghosts".
After a lot of trial and error, "Jabberjaw" was born. His impact was immediate. No longer did people feel the need to be nervous about venturing into the ocean. A cross between the Three Stooge's Curly Howard and Rodney Dangerfield, Jabberjaw portrayed sharks as they truly are - docile creatures that are more interested in playing drums in a rock band than they are in attacking innocent swimmers.
Thanks to the efforts of Jabberjaw, beachside communities began to reemerge and once again thrive. Zinc Oxide was flowing like rain. Sure, there were a few subsequent "Jaws" sequels with terrifying shark sequences, but none could supplant the image people now had of sharks as goofy, good-natured, slightly squeamish rock musicians.
Interesting note: Jabberjaw was launched on September 11th, 1976. The plot thickens...