This is a monthly newsletter for communicating information about Then Came Bronson, Michael Parks, and related items of interest, to the general public. It is not affiliated with MGM, TNT or any other company or organization.
Below is a list of short-cuts to various sections of this page. Although you may want to read the page through from top to bottom the first time, I put these in so that, if you want to find something later, you can go right to that section (by clicking on the hyperlink).
This web site will be moving sometime in the not-too-distant future (probably to www.thencamebronson.com), so if you someday find that your bookmarks don't bring up the pages or that other problems occur, use the various search engines (such as Excite, Lycos, Infoseek, Hotbot, Yahoo, Altavista) to see if you can find the new location (or try www.thencamebronson.com). Hopefully, the present location (http://www2.thecia.net/users/jonpf/tcb.htm) will have at least a redirection page with a link to the new address.
Also, the internet company that is presently hosting these pages has server computers that automatically reboot several times a day, so if you can't bring up the pages, or you get disconnected, keep trying for a while.
If you would like to see TCB released on home video, here is the MGM website page for emailing them about home video matters. Since it was MGM that originally released TCB, they may be the ones to contact for release of the show on video cassette (and maybe even DVD!): MGM email for Home Video
Then the page comes up, scroll down and:
Choose Business Affairs
Type in your comments in the box
Enter your personal info (only the fields in red are required - name, zipcode and email address - and I only entered my name and email address and put a space in the zipcode box, and still got an automated reply, so it works).
As for MY OLD MOTORCYCLE FIASCO (in the last newsletter):
I'm sure you're curious what the customizations were on it...
The front wheel and tire was from a 6 c.f. wheelbarrow, the rear tire from a Subaru, the muffler from a Ford Econoline van (up country, they only buy FORD trucks, and always vote Republican), the custom gas tank was an aftermarket item from Tru-Value, the drag-style handlebar was a double-threaded pipe from something in the barn; the headlight and seat were removed (for speed - comfort and safety be damned!); engine displacement (not including rust) was 248cc (measurement method: filling with hard cider - us, not the engine).
Here's close-up photo of it, minus rider and other accessories...
Everyone needs a winter project (at least if you live where you can't cycle easily). Here's mine: Sportster restoration
CLICK ON THE THUMBNAILS BELOW FOR THE FULL PICTURE!
Here's something from Mark, one of the biggest fans of TCB, and very generous friend to this web site:
And another item from Mark (B&W, from a photocopy), a publicity photo from the pilot movie:
Here's a nice TCB jpeg from Bruce Graham (he also sent in the "cigarette break" photo (in the last newsletter) and several others - many, many thanks!). This is a publicity still from the pilot movie, the scene just after Temple Brooks has run Bronson off the road:
Here's a photo from a cycle mag:
Remember the wedding chapel in the episode called "Lucky Day", filmed in Reno? Here is a copy of the hefty check from MGM for the use of their property:
Here's a photo of Michael Parks (looks almost like a yearbook photo, except too casual). It comes from one of the movie star mags of the time:
Four images from a teen magazine of the time:
Three photos from a tv/screen magazine of the time:
(Anonymous, unless requested otherwise. I put these on because so many people asked me to make a fan web page so they could tell their "Bronson" stories. Also, some emails are in other sections of this newsletter, where appropriate.)
Saw you mentioned my letter I wrote to you about the car museum in Hollywood
that once had one of Bronson's bikes. Thinking back 10+ years, I remember it
being down the street from the Graumans Chinese theater just north or up the
street from it.
The museum housed many famous cars from TV shows and movies: the Batmobile was there, the Monkees' car and a lot of Ed Roth stuff, but the most memorable for me was seeing one of the Bronson Bike! It was parked behind a theater rope. I waited till no one was looking and reached out and turned the throttle - my life was complete.
Jon, Thanks for the great website. I have been a TCB fan since the first
TV movie aired back in '69. I taped most of the episodes off TNT, but
there were a few they didn't play. I E-Mailed TNT and requested that
they put TCB back on, but they said they won't do it. Please put me on
your TCB mailing list, so I can keep updated, in case TNT changes their
Hang in there
Jon, Great website. I thought I was the only Michael Parks and TCB fan left, until I found your website.
Nice job on the Bronson site. That show got to me too...
I think my favorite episode (as I remember, it's been awhile) was the
one where they painted the barn...Bronson had the three "basic red"
sides...TCB overall seemed to be a blend of weekly parables, a
philosophy of life and the process of determining what "freedom" really
is. Nothing remotely like it before or since...
Had my first bike at age 11. I'm now 41. I haven't had a bike for a
couple of years, but I am thinking of getting a small Sporty to putt
Hang in there
[An email all the way from Japan:]
I'm a Japanese girl who's been in love with Jim Bronson ever since. I
even took a motorcycle permit. :-) Would like to hear and share the
memories. Thanks, and hang in there.
I can't believe I found "Then Came Bronson" on the internet! I was just three when it was on, but I remember it well. He was my hero! I had his
picture taped to my light switch. I have wanted to write him a letter since I was a child. Do you know where I could write to him? I would just like to tell him what a hero he was to me.
[I'll try to get an address for him or his agent, but I know he does read this site's newsletter fan mail from time to time. - jonpf]
I can't believe I have found a TCB website. I was and am a huge fan.
The show debuted when I was twelve and in the 7th grade. Every Thursday
morning my friends and I got to school early so we could discuss the
episode from the night before. The summer before the show debuted, my
brother bought a 1965 Electra Glide, and a guy my age moved in next door
whose older brother had a BSA 650 with a Bates solo saddle stored in the
garage until he came back from the Army. These events coupled with the
debut of TCB altered my life forever. I have a few episodes on Video and
would like to get the complete set.
If there is a 30 year reunion count me in, email me with updates, and
keep me informed.
Inidentally, this may be a little known fact, but when I was stationed
in Italy in 1992-1995 I used a small satellite antenna for TV. One of
the English language channels was called TNT and I assume was the Euro
version of our TNT. Anyway, one night the movie was "Then Came Bronson" I had to watch it of course. I couldn't record it because of the different signals of Euro tv. The standards are somewhat more relaxed
there and the scene in which Bonnie Bedelia is running along the beach
and going into the ocean in the wedding dress, there is a short scene in
which she is topless. I know I saw this and was wondering if there was
any way to confirm this?
Thanks for putting TCB on the web.
[Yes, there is a different version of the movie, with the topless scene. This was confirmed by an exec who was there at the time the scene was filmed. - jonpf]
As for the intersection [in the "Well, hang in there." scene]... it's definitely not the
Clipper/Market intersection from the opening... from the number of lanes
(three each way), and the way it stretches off flat into the distance
(looking west in this case), and the fact that it's divided, with
streetlights down the center divide, and seeing that one-block rise
coming to the intersection, and the marked left-turn lane the Camaro's
crossing, I'm pretty certain it's Lombard and Van Ness, looking west
down Lombard (the famed crooked part being up and over Russian Hill
behind the camera, where Bronson seems to be heading here).
Besides, that station wagon is turning left from the center lane, which
you can't do on most SF streets. On Lombard, you have to. And the
whiteness of the buildings in the background is a Marina District
Have no idea where this shot is in the movie... these are major
arterials in SF, part of Highway 101 coming off the Golden Gate Bridge -
east on Lombard, Bronson's direction in the shot, then left - south -
onto and down Van Ness until you resume the freeway, in freeway-hating
SF of those days.
From the light and shadows, I would say it's a late-morning shot, and
probably a month or two either side of winter solstice. Wonder what the
pilot shooting schedule was...
Anyway, there's today's SF geography report.
[The pilot was filmed in October-November 1968, according to Denne Petitclerc, TCB's creator. That fits in with the above observation on the "light and shadows" in the scene. - jonpf]
[More from Phil:]
I could *swear* the opening shot was at Market and Clipper, as I
remembered it... I used to live near there, so it stuck with me. In the
pilot, however, I see that it's the Lombard/Van Ness intersection where
the exchange takes place... except for that Seaside gas station sign, as
there is no gas station at that intersection, never has been. Hmmm... I
wonder if the openings for the regular show are at the originally-thought intersection after all.
And I never realized or remembered that Bronson's jumper friend was the
one and only Martin Sheen. Must've been his dry spell, to take the minor
and, uh, short-lived role.
I also note, as I couldn't back then, having not seen those films yet,
that there are definite nods to "It Happened One Night" (the "hungry"
scene after the brickyard), and "African Queen" ("Mr. Ornutt, come in
out of the rain"), that one almost shot for shot.
It's an eternally popular rebel-boy-meets-girl-on-the-road storyline,
mit variations. Probably ensured the pilot sale to unimaginative network
execs, before the real angst set in.
Have you sent emails to TNT and Columbia House (from my site)? If we can get TNT to show it again, we can all see it again. And if we can get somebody like Columbia House to sell it on video, they might get better copies of it (from master tapes, and no commercials)! Anyway, if you haven't already sent emails to TNT and Columbia House, here are their addresses (for most browsers, just click on them):