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Robert Archibald Shaw (9 August 1927 – 28 August 1978) was an English jack-of-all-trades whose exploits, including military, academic, athletic, and monetary successes, are renowned the world over. Despite being described as handsome, attractive, stunning, and "quite a looker", he never stayed in one place long enough to settle down through the contemporary act of marriage and/or child-rearing. Shaw's skill in many areas and his displeasure with the British government became motifs throughout his life, which would lead to both his greatest moments and his most magnificent defeats. Each time he encountered hard times, he bounced back via another career, except for the last time, in which he met his violent death.
As a child, Shaw dreamed of being a famous film actor. However, that aspiration died early, as he was thrown out of acting school at a very young age for "being such a lousy actor." He took on several jobs as a young lad in 1930s England to help support his family, but could not hold on to them for very long, as he always felt he could "be someone". His least successful venture of this time was his attempt to become a world-renowned shoe repairman, which resulted in quite a few nights coming home smelling of shoe polish to a still-hungry family.
Shaw felt he was unfairly treated by the British government, which may explain many of his actions throughout his illustrious career. In particular, he was unsatisfied by the British welfare system, whose only contribution to his family was a harsh "Get a job, you gits!" By the early 1940s, he still had not realized his dream of international fame, or his daydream of local recognition. By 1944, Shaw felt he could no longer let his family down, and also could no longer keep his displeasure with the English government to himself. He decided to move to Germany.
Shaw joined the German military shortly after arriving in the country. He had no problem passing himself off as a Nazi due to his blonde hair, blue eyes, and stylish moustache. In one short year he climbed the ranks all the way to becoming Colonel of a Panzer division, the land-based counterpart to the aerial Luftwaffle. Unfortunately for Shaw, he was too late to help Hitler's war effort, as by late 1944 the Fuhrer was holed up in a bunker looking up the word 'surrender' in a French dictionary. Further compounding Shaw's bad luck was his assignment, which was to defend the very Western Front from the invading Allied forces.
In December of 1944, the Allies began their attack, but were unprepared for the massive German counterattack. Shaw led his tank division through the dense, snowy forests of the Ardennes, driving back the Allied forces and terrifying the poor Ardennian rabbits. The battle plan involved sandwiching the four English and American armies into a delicious wedge, and then serving that wedge of anti-Nazi-ism a routing they would never forget, with cream if time permitted. The strategy proved to work flawlessly, until Shaw's units ran out of gas. At this point Hitler's back-up plan went into effect, involving horse-drawn tanks. This use of horses in cavalry had never been attempted before in the history of warfare, but it quixotically proved to be ineffective. The Germans were bombarded by Allied artillery and air fire, and a rather close call with an enemy grenade caused Shaw to tragically lose his moustache. Quickly losing control over his men, who were unwilling to follow a man with a bare upper lip, Shaw retreated behind German lines and soon deserted the army. His hate for the British not satisfied, Shaw relocated to Northern Africa and waited for another opportunity.
After several years of hiding in Morocco, Shaw was recruited as an assassin by the super-villain company SPECTRE. His innovations in the field of Evil Corporations With Global Domination Inclinations can be seen to this day. In particular, his changes in the areas of Inept Henchmen Recruitment and Unnecessarily Slow Protagonist Death were paralleled by none. His work as an assassin drew critical acclaim in the evil community, particularly for his unorthodox yet effective methods such as Guns Disguised As Everyday Items. After spending years proving himself as a capable assassin, Shaw was given his final assignment.
His mission was to eliminate English secret agent and super-hunk James Bond, who had at that time been meddling in SPECTRE's affairs for quite some time. Particularly irksome to SPECTRE executives was Bond's recent thwarting of their innocuous Mega Death Ray project. When Bond went to Turkey in attempts to obtain a secret decoding device, Shaw followed him inconspicuously. Robert Shaw was a master of disguise, and likely appeared to Bond to be a harmless elderly woman or a medium-sized potted plant. During their secret-agent-versus-super-assassin game of cat and mouse, both men used everything at their disposal, including bombs, briefcase-knives, periscopes, gorgeous women, and lethal hat-throwing Asian midgets. Eventually the two met on the Orient Express, where Shaw mercilessly killed Bond with his patented watch/strangling device. His work complete, Shaw headed for America to hide out from European authorities.
Shaw spent the better part of two decades amassing a small fortune in the Chicago area. He rose through the ranks of the American mafia, becoming a mob boss who was feared by all. Known at this time for his signature limp, goonish lackeys, and sharp dress sense, Shaw's main venture was his casino racket. His most popular gaming hall was one simulated to look like a 1930's depression-era casino, complete with bread line and maudlin hobos. Two small-time con artists by the names of Robert Redford and Paul Newman take an issue with Shaw when he has their friend killed for repeated anachronisms in his throwback 1930's casino.
The two con artists try various unsuccessful ways to trick Shaw into giving them all of his money, mostly using pyramid schemes or the newly-invented tetrahedron scheme. Eventually, they hit upon Shaw's weakness: horseracing. Using methods that to this day remain a mystery, Newman and Redford were able to learn the winners of horse races before they were announced. After convincing Shaw to place a bet of $400, they absconded with his cash. Beaten and penniless, Shaw gave up the mobster gig shortly after.
After losing his entire fortune, Shaw ended up becoming a fisherman in Massachusetts. With his trademark hat, a pot full of piping-hot alcohol, and a drunken song about Spanish prostitutes, he grew to be the most respected big-game fisherman on the American Eastern Seaboard. He won several prominent fishing competitions, even appearing on ESPN during its first national broadcast, which covered the Northeast Regional Dogfish Open. Shaw secured a sponsorship from Narragansett Beer in 1974, allowing him to upgrade his equipment and purchase his famous fishing trawler, named The Orca.
During the summer of 1975, Shaw was enlisted to help hunt and kill a man-eating Carcharodon carcharias off of Cape Cod, Massachusetts which was terrorizing an island community with its insatiable appetite and its trademark 'attack music'. He teamed up with aquaphobic island sheriff Roy Scheider and a young oceanography student with everything to prove by the name of Richard Dreyfuss. Together the three set out to take out the comically large shark before it struck another unsuspecting skinny dipper. After several uneventful days filled with sea shanties and grog, they finally encountered the shark just a few miles offshore. After circling the boat several times, the C. carcharias slipped beneath the surface and began to plan its attack.
During the night, Shaw gained the trust of Scheider and Dreyfuss with a fabrication of his service in the American Navy during World War II. Shaw actually served in the German army; see 'Military Career' section of this article. After several drinks and much more open ocean music, the shark attacked again just before dawn. The three men put up a brave fight, but the Great White ended up boarding The Orca and devouring Shaw whole. Scheider and Dreyfuss escaped with their lives, but neither lived long after the horror of that day. Dreyfuss was abducted and murdered by aliens, and Scheider was gunned down after a transfer to the New York City detective department.
- ↑ Though his name was not Jack. Perhaps a better title would be 'Robert-of-all-trades'.
- ↑ Which made him the envy of Nazis possessing less glorious moustaches throughout the Motherland.
- ↑ Hitler was further confounded by the fact that the French have 17 words for 'surrender'.
- ↑ Which, in a delicious irony, England played a featured role
- ↑ Examples include umbrellas, walking canes, pocketwatches, toupees, and various other gun-shaped objects.
- ↑ Shaw was particularly upset at the man's repeated insistence to be allowed to dance the Foxtrot, which was not introduced until 1943.
- ↑ 2009 equivalent $300 million.