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).
Just a reminder: many of the small images are linked to larger ones. Click on them to bring up the full size images.
Had a long talk the other day with Jim from Oklahoma, possibly the world's greatest fan of Michael Parks and information resource of his career. We talked for over 3 and a half hours, and could have gone on longer!
Here are some of the highlights from the conversation:
1.) The film (mentioned in a previous newsletter), A Time For Killing, was aired on the Bob Hope Chrysler Theater tv show (NBC), on April 30, 1965. George C. Scott also starred. Parks's character was a submarine commander.
2.) Parks would have gotten the title role in the tv series, Mike Hammer (which went to Stacy Keach), but he had a project (film?) in South Africa. He had finished the work and was back in the U.S., but was called back to Africa, and his work ethic compelled him to decline the Hammer role and go back to finish the project.
3.) Parks was on one of those "Bicentennial Minutes" on tv back in 1976. Jim caught just the last bit of it.
4.) Michael Parks was on a postage stamp! It was from a foreign country, and pictured him as Adam, in the movie The Bible (1966).
5.) After the Time magazine review of the movie, Bus Riley's Back In Town, in the April __, 1965 issue, Parks wrote a letter to the magazine, and it was printed in the May __ issue.
First column of article
second column of article, missing the photo - no doubt the work of some rabid Parks fan
and Parks's letter
6.) Parks appeared on various talk shows in the early 70s.
7.) Parks was working on a film in Austin, Texas, in 1999, called "Texas Wake".
8.) Around 1976-77, Parks had finished a record album (never released), called "My Horse Came Back". He mentioned it in an interview in the L.A. Times Calendar section at about the same time, and said he was very pleased with how the recordings sounded.
9.) When TCB was on being aired, Jim wrote to MGM praising the show with such intensity that they invited him to come out to the studios in California. While there, he watched the editors splicing the film into future episodes. Jim said that apparently the location camera men would let the film roll even after the director's call to "cut". He watched those segments of film and unused "takes" end up on the cutting room floor. (Maybe some far-sighted MGM employee and TCB fan gathered these up and took them home, where someday they will surface. Then again, they probably got swept up and tossed.)
I'll let you all know if I find out anything more about the above items.
Jim also mentioned two items worth checking out. There is a book, published in 1997, called Pilgrimage On A Steel Ride, by Gary Paulsen. It is partly a life history, and partly a record of his motorcycle trip from New Mexico to Alaska. I really enjoyed it (got it from the local library), and would recommend it (with some reservation for those who are squeamish or faint of heart - the author has had some gritty experiences in his life). I was amazed at how easily the book reads. I haven't found one like it in years. I limited myself to two or three chapters a night, to make it last longer. And I'll probably read it again before I take it back to the library. Click here for a scan of the book cover: steelride.jpg.
Jim also recommended the true-story film, The Straight Story, by David Lynch (Twin Peaks). It is about a man who, too poor to travel any other way, rides his lawn mower to see his sick brother, who lives out of state. It may sound kind of a wacky movie premise when you first hear it, but the real story is the Bronson-like encounters with people along the way. I think it is presently in art theaters, but may be in video stores soon. (I haven't seen the movie yet.)
I've decided to let go of some of my TCB/MP material, and will post what's up for "bid". I'm going to be moving the site to www.thencamebronson.com in the very near future (possibly by February), and it will cost more to have the actual site name hosted. Check the intro page of the site for a link to the items, which will include photos, 8-track tapes, TCB novels and who knows what else.
If you bypassed the intro page on your way into the site, here's a link to it:
Dear TCB fans,
I don't ask a lot of you, but please take a little time now to send another round of emails to the folks at TNT, TBS and Columbia House. This April will be Michael Parks's 60th birthday, and maybe TNT can be persuaded to celebrate it by running the movie and maybe some episodes. Several years ago, after they stopped regularly airing TCB, they aired the episode, "The Runner", to honor Jack Klugman's birthday. Don't forget to mention Parks's upcoming birthday in your emails.
Here are the links for contacting them:
There was a Michael Parks 45 rpm single that I only recently found out about (and it is wrongly listed in a Goldmine record catalog), taken from the Verve album, LOST AND FOUND. Gary, a VERY generous TCB fan, donated his copy to me for the TCB collection. Here are scans of the A and B side labels:
I compared the songs to the album cuts and found some discrepancies. The single release of "Turn Around Little Mama," which is shorter in length (3:35) than the album release (4:45), is missing the last verse. But it is the same recording, not a different "take".
On a sidelight, the song, partly written by Parks, seems to be a comment on the film industry and his own attempts to do quality work. The verse that the single version ends on, ends with the lines:
"Looking for dignity in film land [is]
like looking in a drugstore for a sage.
As for my future in this business,
it's as sure as the next line on this page."
Rather prophetic, eh! He was gone from Hollywood productions for 3 or 4 years.
The other song on the 45, "I Was Born In Kentucky," is listed as having the same time (3:45) as that of the album version, but I timed it at 3:33, and realized that it is missing the piano & bass intro that the album version has. However, it is the same recording, not a different "take."
Anonymous, unless requested otherwise. Also, some emails are in other sections of this newsletter, where appropriate. This email is from the month of December.
4 more excellent color photos from TCB, compliments of Bruce G., who never ceases to amaze me with his collection!
Of the last photo, he writes:
Check out the bike in the background. Is it what I think it is?
Sure enough, that looks like another TCB bike in the background, possibly the CZ stunt bike used in place of the Sportster in the rougher hillclimb shots in this scene. It's a bit hard to tell whether it is the CZ or a Sportster (there were 3 "Bronson" Sportsters used in the pilot movie). It also shows up in the movie, in the background of the hillclimb shots of Bronson sitting on the Sportster and getting ready for the first run up the hill.
Thanks again, Bruce! You really help make this newsletter worth writing (and reading)!
What a pleasure to see your wonderful page. I stumbled across it the other day. I was beginning to think I was the only person in the world who was still a TCB fan. I was 18 years old and living in the bay area in 1969 when it was being filmed. The movie and show had a huge impact on my life, that continues to this day. I remember vividly riding the Big Sur coast on my motorcycle "pretending" to be Bronson.
One bit of trivia that you might not know, (but I doubt it) is that the TV show TCB was and still is the only TV show in history that only had one
(1) charactor that returned for each episode. Every other episode had a completely different group of actors. It is has also been said that the show was not so much about Bronson himself, but rather the people and places he met and went to in his journeys. It was as if he was a blank canvas that a new story was painted on each week. However I was and still am still drawn to the wanderlust and free spirit that "is" Bronson.
I would love to hear back from you and any other TCB fans.
Steven M. Cart
I was riding my bike today (OK, it's a Honda Shadow) and started thinking of
Then Came Bronson. It occurred to me that this would be a great new series
once again. Then I came to the realization that without Parks, it just
wouldn't be any good.
So I came home and decided to try a search on Then Came Bronson. I was
surprised to find only one good link - yours.
As I told you, I picked up a new Sportster
October 1st, and have yet to put 1000 miles on it. I picked it up in San
Francisco at the Harley shop and did my best to ride it out of town the route
that is shown in the Bronson pilot movie. I think I only missed it by one
major street, coming out on the Great Highway just one or two blocks down
from where he came out to swing down the coast. My wife took photos of the
trip from a car as we were going out past what I am sure is where Bronson is
seen riding on the beach, with all the seagulls taking flight. I would send
these photos, but I have no idea where the freakin' camera is, with the film inside.
Hope all is well!! I know its the holiday season and
you're probably busy. Just wanted to say Hello.
Just picked up a 2000 Road King (Red of course!!) Getting too old for the Sportster scene!!. Well I figure you are busy, so
I'll close here. Hope you can complete the December column soon, the
winter stinks but the reading of your column keeps the fires going!
"Hang in there."
Have you thought about a TCB convention that includes motorcyclists? A
"non-denominational" (i.e., not favoring a particular brand) event for
all those who were M. Parks fans? Maybe right here on the "Big T" (Big Thompson River) in Colorado...with
music, etc.--the whole nine yards! There's "..plenty of room", as the
Love your web site! I work in an OR [hospital operating room] and we had a patient whose name was Jim
Bronson, the name Michael Parks came to me. Nice to confirm it. Also, could
you tell me who composed the theme music and if Bonnie Bedelia played a love
[George Duning composed the instrumental theme. James Hendricks composed the song Long Lonesome Highway, and several other songs used in the episodes. Doubt if Bonnie was with Parks, as he was recently married. - jonpf]
Just thought I would finally get in touch with you. Just finished
reading the December newsletter. I found your site a couple of weeks ago,
it's really a lot of fun to visit. I was thirteen when Parks was "going
down that long lonesome highway" but my enthusiasm for the show really
sparked about 1976 when I stumbled onto his LLH album, thinking, oh yeah, I remember that. I still have it and know all the songs by heart, having
sung them over and over again as I have rolled down the highway on my
R80RT or my Goldwing.
Just acquired the album "Closing The Gap."
Meanwhile, keep up the good work and add me to your email list, and "Hang in
Also I might be interested in riding out west this summer for a
little get together with all the other fans.
For all of us fans on the East Coast, is there anything or any
way to get something going at "Americade" in Lake George, NY? I wonder
if a bunch of fans got together and put a booth or something up???
Every June there is a huge rally (one of the biggest on the East
Coast) in Lake George NY. If you go into search and put in "Americade"
it should pop up. All the manufacturers and after market people are
there! I believe its June 5-10 2000. Check it out. I was there in
92,93,96 and 98 its a blast!!!! Ill try to send you the site if I can
get the hang of this computer thing........
Talk to you later,
"Hang in there"
I can't believe I located a web page for "Then Came Bronson"! I thought
it was a long shot finding anything when I did a search for the show.
This is great!
"Then Came Bronson" is a show my dad worked on. He was the 2nd assistant
director on the show, if I remember correctly. I was seven when my dad
worked on the show. I do remember him being GONE alot that year. My mom,
siblings and I met up with once or twice on location (Arizona I think).
It's terrible finding your web page so late this evening, I can't call
my dad up to tell him about it until tomorrow. He's long since retired
from show business now, but I know "Then Came Bronson" holds alot of fond memories in his heart. He's going to be very excited to check out
your web page. Throughout the years, I remember dad telling different
stories of things that happened while working on the show.
My dad was and still is a camera nut. He's got alot of photos from the
show he shot. Great candid shots of Michael, the guest stars & the crew.
I'm sure after he see's your page, he'd be happy to share them with you
for your newsletter, if your interested. I'm going to see him next week
for Christmas, so I'll be sure to pull the photo album out from the show
and check it out again.
Keep up the good work. It's great to see people still have fond memories
of the show, even after thirty years.
[From our fellow TCB fan in northern Italy:]
Oh yea ,
sometimes it happens to take your bike not to arrive somewhere but just to
Sometimes it happens to switch on the engine in your garage just to be sure
your neighbours know you are leaving.
Sometimes it happens to get to a village that is not so nice as you like, but, due to the fact you rode there, you may think you are the only one
to know it.
Sometimes it happens you are not the only one to think so.
Sometimes it happens you would have words trying to explain what you feel
to ones that got there with you.
Sometimes it happens there is no need to do that.
Sometimes it happens that friend following you seems more friend, seems
Sometimes it happens he helps you not to think about your brother
irremediably far away from you.
Sometimes it happens you write to a bunch of people you just partially
know: people who ride a bike like yours or people who rode a bike like
yours or people who'll never ride a bike like yours.
Sometimes it happens it's Christmas so you are sending your wishes to ones
that already traveled with you and to some of those never did.
Season's greetings from me.
Thanks for putting together a great site. As a child, I enjoyed TCB very
much. How can I view an episode? Is it possible to purchase/rent a
videotape? I have been trying to view an episode for 20 years.
..just screwin' around on the internet, putting in anything that came to mind
and for some unknown reason I entered "Then Came Bronson," a show I watched
when I was 8 years old, and BANG...a web site. Who woulda thunk?
Thanks for the memories.
Chase in Phx.
Just a quick Hello and Happy New Year !!! Hope the New
Year brings all of us much health, happiness and prosperity. Looking
foward to a new year of TCB and the making of many new friends. Maybe
this will be the year that the show is back on TV and a TCB convention
can be put together.
See the above comments in "From My Desk..." for a few film/tv-ography items.
A great tv show that never was! (If it did make it to the line-up, I never heard about it.) This comes from the January 1971 issue of "Inside TV" magazine. If anyone knows anything more about this, let me know.
Here is a lobby card from the movie, The Idol, starring Michael Parks.
Hallmark has come out with what I think is a really classy Harley calendar, with nice landscape backgrounds and late afternoon lighting adding to the images. I found it at a local CVS drugstore that has Hallmark greeting cards. One image is a view of the 12 motorcycles, the other a view of what a particular month looks like.
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):